2021 MBAs To Watch: Eszter Sztrányay, SDA Bocconi

Eszter Sztrányay

SDA Bocconi School of Management

‘I am a passionate Organization Development professional, devoted to people development,  firm-believer of life-long-learning.”

Hometown:  Budapest, Hungary

Fun fact about yourself: Singer is my second identity – if post-MBA life will not work out, I  am definitely applying to X-Factor (again!) with our band formed during the MBA.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Management and Leadership – MSc

Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

Specialisation: Human Resource Management & Organization Development

Business Administration and Management – BSc

Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

Specialisation: Business Communication

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Organization Development Consultant, Trainer – GROW Group, Budapest, Hungary

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020?  We have a 1-year program that started in October 2020. Internships will take place in summer and the internship campaign is still going on.

Where will you be working after graduation? As above: too early now to have finalized a permanent job.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

* President of the Ethica Student Club– Focused on environmental and social  sustainability related questions, business ethics, mental health and D&I – just to  name a few)

* Career Service Fellow – Functioning as class representative of career related  questions and communication channel between class and Career Service Team • Zero-Barriers Project – Member – D&I Initiative to increase and promote ethnical  and gender diversity within SDA Bocconi

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business  school?  It was the event, Alumna Journeys, where I organized an international panel-discussion together with four top-business schools’ clubs (LBS, HEC, ESADE and SDA Bocconi). It was a unique moment for  me. My aim was to promote the woman perspective and inspire students by sharing the stories of MBA Alumnas from all across the globe.

Afterwards, we received much positive feedback on how much the event touched the  hearts of students, how relatable the stories were and lifted pressure from their shoulders. It came just on time, in a difficult period. In addition, we managed to leverage zero-boundaries among business schools, thanks to the virtual connection, and created something meaningful together.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? When COVID hit Hungary, I put together a self-help booklet, called the “Replanner” with two of my consultant colleagues in just a week of time to support individuals coping with  the grief and, the changes the pandemic brought on us. The booklet was published by Forbes Hungary and was downloaded by more than 4,000 thousand readers. Furthermore, the webinar-series built on the booklet became a flagship product of my previous company during COVID times, generating new sales.

Why did you choose this business school?  SDA Bocconi is unique among Top MBAs for its small-cohort, in which true collaborative learning can happen and deep, strong relationships can born – the class size  provides more opportunities to interact and in itself is a gift of truly strong network.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Undoubtedly, it was Prof. Stefano Gatti. Through his incredibly engaging and interactive online classes could help me make friends with banks and capital markets. I never thought  that could never happen to me.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? SDA Bocconi’s Leadership Series were my favorite events. Meeting C-level business leaders and having an up-close and personal discussion with them truly reflects the schools aim to show role models to us and support our leadership-evolution, in addition to the coaching,  mentoring and soft skill development trainings.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and  why?  The MBA is such an intense and outside-of-comfort-zone experience by default. To be  able to deliver on time,  I would search for shortcuts and took on projects and tasks  that were within my comfort-zone. Looking back, leaving those tasks to others and challenging myself more often could have led to a steeper learning curve for both my  team-mates and myself.

What is the biggest myth about your school?  “Timing can never be bad for an Aperitivo.” Despite the struggles with COVID, this  statement turned out to be more of a truth than a myth. The time can never be wrong or too early to sit together with the MBA-mates and share stories, exchange opinions  accompanied by tasty drinks & food – even only online.

What surprised you the most about business school? SDA Bocconi is super-flexible, accessible and inclusive, and truly listens its MBAs. I never imagined such fast reactions and adaptation to our changing needs and request – professors and staff as well. They really want to give the best possible experience to us. I expected from a business school the be more of an “off-the-shelf” product, that customers  cannot shape.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the  school you chose? Before choosing SDA Bocconi, beyond doing my own research, I visited the school, attended  a lecture, and reached out to current students. Thanks to these experiences, I believe my answer to the question ‘Why Bocconi?’ was authentic and reflected my true interest and personal insights. Moreover, I articulated clearly my future goals and how SDA Bocconi is the right choice for me.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Marta Auxilia – Marta does an amazing job as Class Fellow in voicing our requests and representing our interests – and she does it with style. She is the living conscience of the class and is always open to feedback.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? I admire Bocconi for going the extra mile for keeping the MBA in-class, doing all the necessary precautionary measures, and offering a hybrid-mode to ensure flexibility. Those rare occasions when we switched to full-online lessons went smoothly, and the professors  did their best to keep the top-quality of classes.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My biggest inspiration was my coach. He understood that I was longing for a change and that I was dreaming about elevating my career. He gave me courage and challenged my  motivations,  which in the end enabled me to go for it and dare to do an MBA.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?  I want to show the business leaders of today that people development truly pays off. I believe that care and attention can be translated into better efficiency and results – even if expressing these returns in quantitative terms is tricky, I would like to take in this challenge  and obtain a role in a multinational business that gives me the chance to do so.

I would like to also lead digital-transformation projects and make sure that digitalization does not mean losing the human face of businesses.

What made Eszter such an invaluable  addition to the Class of 2021?

Eszter was one of the first students from her cohort I had the pleasure to meet.

We had a coffee in the School Cafeteria and she immediately impressed me with her elegant but assertive ways and by proposing innovating activities as potential president of  the Ethica Club. She managed to become president and from then on, she started planning events with the support of the whole club. Some of the events she describes in her nomination form, but I was particularly grateful for organizing a session on mental health  during COVID: it was an important opportunity for our students to meet and discuss with 3  therapist she managed to put together all the fears, frustrations and uncertainties COVID  has brought along.

Her support to her fellow students and her collaboration with the School do not end with the Club since she is also a class fellow constantly acting as a bridge between them.

Working with Eszter is always a pleasure: she can bring forward her ideas with assertiveness and grace and she makes them happen! Her presence is a positive influence and rarely have we seen such a human, but at the same time, “effective” person.

Simone Consonni
Student Relations Manager


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