''There are 18 nationalities in our MBA cohort and this provides an environment of constant enrichment.''

Business Analyst Daniela Morales tells us about her experience of leaving her home country of Colombia to pursue her dreams and study full-time at Essex for an MBA.

What motivated you to do an MBA?

Before starting my MBA, I had been working for six years in one of the top financial institutions in Latin America. This experience gave me the opportunity to work with different organisations and cultures across Colombia, Panama, Guatemala and El Salvador, leading and participating in corporate projects. Working alongside senior management, I learnt how to understand different market dynamics and develop client value propositions. 

It was my exposure to decision makers at a senior management level that inspired me to take the next step in my career. Studying for an MBA would allow me to gain first-hand knowledge of world leading business practices, be exposed to constant cross-cultural interaction, and ultimately gain key skills to strengthen my role as a leader in future positions.

For me, an MBA is a journey of self-discovery and development that will allow me to rebrand myself and explore different experiences and sectors that I have not been exposed to before. I liked that the programme offers you the choice of writing a business plan, participating in a consulting project or writing a dissertation as part of the MBA project, giving you the option to tailor your choice depending on your planned career path.

My family and colleagues have been more than supportive in my decision. They knew that this was one of my dreams - it is rewarding to tell people that anything is possible when you work hard for it.

Why did you choose Essex? 

There are three main reasons why I chose Essex.  Firstly, the programme at Essex was a lot more progressive than the alternatives that I evaluated. Secondly, the fact that at this campus I would encounter a very large international community also caught my attention, and finally, there was also a special connection that I felt throughout my admission process, where I was always supported by Professor Nicolas Forsans.

Tell us more about your MBA experience

So far, Leading with Impact, Sustainable Operations and Business Planning have been my top three modules.  They have had a big impact on my understanding of key issues in today’s business world, which is more challenging than ever. 

One of the more interesting aspects of my experience has been the cultural exchange. There are 18 nationalities in our MBA cohort and this provides an environment of constant enrichment, allowing me to develop my global mind-set and learn more about different cultures and perspectives. In every module we have to work in different teams, the experiences are so diverse that there is always something new to learn from it. 

I have taken advantage of some of the extracurricular activities offered by the University such as the iTeams programme provided by Essex Startups. It’s a ten-week programme where you work in a cross-functional team and solve a real-world business challenge.  I have also attended workshops and talks offered by the Careers Services Team. There are also lots of opportunities to practise sports or other hobbies.

This year has been quite challenging. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the University has had to switch from physical teaching to a virtual learning platform part way through the year.  Whilst these are challenging times, one of the more positive outcomes has been that it has given me the opportunity to put into practice the new mind-set I have developed, to respond to these challenges in a positive way and refocus on how I want to contribute to building a better world. 

I am enjoying life as a full-time student. It is a great opportunity to undertake this professional, but also personal journey, to discover what I want to do next.

Do you have an idea of what you would like to do afterwards?  

The great thing about an MBA is that it can open doors to any industry, giving you lots of career paths to explore. I want to gain more international experience and pursue a career in Product Management either in the banking industry or another sector. In the future, I want to hold positions that challenge me, that allow me to contribute, grow, and work alongside great leaders.

Would you recommend The Essex MBA?

Absolutely! So far it has been a really good decision. I would highlight the cultural diversity, innovative modules and experienced lecturers, but also the great support given by the University to develop my skills from various perspectives. At Essex, I feel part of a great academic community, where people are always open to help you advance in your career.

The Essex MBA has been awarded accreditation by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) – what does this mean to you?

This was great news! It speaks very well about what Essex Business School is doing. It is satisfying to know that the University meets such high international quality standards. It also provides credibility - that the University is developing top talent for today’s highly competitive work environment.