What’s in a name? Research shows that people named Dennis or Denise tend to become dentists at a higher rate than others. Does your name really determine aspects of your life?
When you write an email to Presiyana Karatoyanova, her name auto-corrects to President so she gets a lot of messages every week that begins “Dear President”. Does a career in politics beckon?
Presiyana has relied on education rather than the dictionary to determine her fate. While still in high school in Bulgaria she secured a scholarship to study in the UK and after completing her Economics degree she joined Nomura as an investment banking analyst. After 18 months she was ready for a new challenge and headed to Imperial College Business School to pursue an MSc in Finance. She was offered the Women in Finance Scholarship, and describes her journey at one of Europe’s top business schools that has now led to a position at McKinsey.
“Imperial gave me an immense pool of opportunities to develop strong leadership skills (I was the VP of the Finance Club), to build strong connections with others (as a Student Ambassador), and expand my professional network. A highlight was our trip to Dubai.”
Her advice is to show up and say yes to things. “I always tried to get involved with as many things as possible – and some days you might not feel like it – but still go. You never know when a great idea, a new connection, or the perfect opportunity might come to you – usually hits you when you least expect it.”
MEET SPECIALIZED MASTERS ALUMNI WHO ARE CREATING THEIR DESTINY
Presiyana will be joining Poets & Quants on March 9 & 10 at the CentreCourt Specialized Masters Festival. Along with graduates from LBS, INSEAD, ESMT, Vlerick,
Georgetown, UCLA, and other top business schools will share their MiM, MFin, and MBiz Analytics experiences to inform and inspire the next generation of Masters applicants.
The decision to chart your own course in life and invest in a Specialized Master’s business degree was also on the mind of Anoop Mettu, who had studied Engineering at a prestigious IIT in Kanpur. He was working for a nonprofit, focused on educating kids in India. Through his time at the organization, he realized the importance of effective management, market-need, and supportive leadership. It fueled his desire to get into business and he initially considered an MBA. But after thorough research, he concluded specialized master’s programs were a better fit for me.
THE VALUE PROPOSITION OF A MASTERS DEGREE
So how did Anoop decide if a Masters was worth the investment? “This was a question I asked myself before embarking on the journey to a new country, investing significant time and money into the idea. While one could get the knowledge from books or videos, for me the value proposition was a bit more than that.”
The design of the master’s program was key. “Georgetown’s MIM is designed to simulate a real-world work environment. Most, if not all, courses were done in groups including assignments and projects. Second, a Masters in the United States would give me an opportunity to experience the biggest economy in the world, firsthand, from D.C. no less. These two factors led me to say yes to a master’s degree.”
THE LIMITLESS POWER OF DIVERSITY
Shruti Vasudev wanted to make the switch from an engineering or technical career to a management one sooner rather than later, and a Masters in Management at leading German business school ESMT Berlin looked like the best way to gain those learnings and skills first hand. “Due to my academic achievements in my bachelor’s degree I was awarded a sizeable merit-based scholarship that made the masters even more worth the investment.”
Shruti loved the flexibility and resilience of her ESMT classmates. “We were a bunch of unique individuals from very diverse backgrounds and walks of life that came together to learn, develop and impact and we were able to get along with each other so well, in all kinds of team constructs, overcome all kinds of situations and challenges together and are now all on really great trajectories.”
She has put her MiM to good use, rapidly rising up the ranks at Merck Healthcare to her role as Chief of Staff for Global Business Development. “Be open to opportunities that do not necessarily fit your pre-defined five-year plan”, she urges, “and seize them as soon as they show up to challenge yourself and learn from something unexpected and new. Linear career trajectories are a thing of the past!”
STANDING OUT IN THE JOB MARKET
But what if the job market is very weak? That was the case for Cameron Mennis when he came was a senior in college and he knew he needed a way to compete for better jobs. “Doing a Masters was a childhood goal, and at the time a Masters in Finance was rare. I knew I wanted to be more focused than a general MBA.”
The MFin at the University of San Diego was a great way to stand out from the crowd and helped secure a position at tech giant, Qualcomm. “This is a great way to differentiate yourself and acquire a deeper level of understanding. The more knowledge you gather, the more novel your insights will be.“
A business school’s employment statistics are a key part of choosing your target schools, and the London Business School has a great story to share. The school’s prime position in London and proximity to recruiters was a key factor for Clémentine Bouju, who wanted to make sure to maximize her chances of getting into a top investment bank by pursuing this Masters. Now an analyst at J.P. Morgan, she recognizes LBS played a big part to open the door.
A NETWORK OF CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AND SUPPORT
The Masters in Financial Analysis also provides a valuable network for the next steps of her career. “Having so many friends in the same industry (thanks to the Masters) has proven to be very helpful in terms of helping me make career decisions. The advice we share between us is invaluable.”
For John Allie, the ability to help others achieve their dreams is one of his biggest accomplishments. Since completing a Masters in Human Resource Management at Purdue University he has worked with Rolls-Royce and Texas Instruments in strategic HR roles and is now a senior HR Business Partner at Tesla.
“Letting things go is the #1 skill that I have developed in my professional career. You can’t sweat the small stuff, or you’ll miss out on all the big stuff.” As a manager of a large team supporting a manufacturing environment, there is some spillage. John says that leading is not about knowing everything, it’s about knowing enough and having those around you that know more. “Keep your people motivated, let them be themselves, set the target, and provide support. In my role, I also live by one, incredibly important rule. “We can’t read thoughts; we can only read action.”
Want to learn more about MiM, MFin, and MBiz Analytics graduates like Presiyana, Anoop, Shruti, Cameron, John, and Clémentine before you meet them at CentreCourt? Hoping to get some insights on the best classes, favorite moments, and biggest surprises at business school? Click on their alumni profiles below.