Roberto Tijerina (Mexico) – Rotterdam School of Management

From initial doubts about his suitability for the program to graduating in the midst of a global pandemic, Roberto Tijerina’s RSM MBA experience was like no other. He told MBAGRADSCHOOLS about what sets the program apart, how much he grew as a person during the MBA, and how the school gave him vital support when he needed it most.

Why an MBA in the Netherlands?

When I started looking at the program in the Netherlands, everything seemed easier. It seemed like the migration processes in the Netherlands were pretty easy, the people here are quite open to immigrants, so their culture is quite open to having people from different backgrounds. In the end there were just a lot of things started piecing together and I thought it was going to offer a really good experience. Here in the Netherlands you see a lot of people from all around the world, and it’s quite interesting to see how all of these cultures exist together in one small country.

What was your biggest learning moment during the MBA?

At the beginning [of the program] I was very nervous because I was coming to a class where the average age is 31 and the average work experience is between six and seven years – I had three to four years and I was 26 when I first started the program. So I was kind of coming up with this mentality of: ‘I don’t know if I’m good enough.’ So at the beginning I was laying back a little bit and trying to see what the scenario was like.

But then I realized no; even though they have some things to add of value to the class, I also had my things to add. Slowly but surely I started participating a little bit more. I think for me it was about losing this fear of not being good enough and also losing the fear of being wrong. The years of age and the years of experience don’t actually make a difference; it’s [about] the way you think and all of your background.

What should people know about the RSM MBA?

Rotterdam School of Management  is like a small family, and there were several situations where we got to meet people from other MBAs. You started noticing that we were actually given the space and time to meet each other and not only work in class. We’re not only working on cases, we’re not only doing our assignments, we’re actually getting to know each other on a personal level. This is something that for me was the best thing about RSM, which now that I’ve talked with people who did other MBA programs, they didn’t have this experience as strong as I did.

Is the RSM MBA worth the investment?

Well first of all I did a financial analysis to make sure it will be worth it! The first thing I would recommend is to think about this as a mid to long-term investment. But I do think, looking at my friends from my class and also my situation, that the MBA gives you an extra jump. This jump will also give you a ladder salary jump to eventually pay back the program [costs].

The salary that I’m having right now actually gives me a good space and a good scenario to pay back my loans and also enjoy my life. My quality of life has increased for sure.

How did COVID-19 affect your MBA?

Luckily the pandemic didn’t affect my experience. The only thing it affected was that our graduation was cancelled. What it did affect was my job search. I was applying to a few jobs and I had several processes going on. When the pandemic started all of these processes were cancelled, which freaked me out for a little bit! Luckily the school has a career center that helps you understand what’s going on, so I got a lot of support from them and that helped me to continue applying for jobs. That allowed me to eventually get a job along with a few of my classmates.