Angie Durkee is a customer success manager at Calm, a leading mental wellness brand which produces an app for sleep, meditation and relaxation. Angie has previously worked in global settings and describes herself as a “performance-driven and versatile bilingual professional.” Outside of work, she loves volunteering and has volunteered as a coach and running buddy with the charity Girls on the Run International since 2014.
I was first drawn by the program’s international network of working professionals and instructors, especially as I was seeking a more global understanding of business perspectives and practices. Also, it was a hybrid program, which gave me the flexibility to study alongside my job in a virtual format, with the added bonus of meeting my colleagues in Madrid during the program. This meant I could get an MBA without having to sacrifice my full-time job, and could directly apply the skills I learned in real time.
I must be honest, at first I struggled. But with some additional discipline, the incorporation of relaxation techniques through the Calm app (where I now work) and by setting personal boundaries, I was able to better manage the increased workload. I also met with a time management coach, Elizabeth Saunders, who helped me put together a schedule that worked well for me.
The program started with a face-to-face session in Madrid, which was incredibly rewarding because IE Business School planned activities for all 55 of us to do together. This meant that we were able to get to know each other on a more personal level before the program’s kickoff, allowing us to put a face to the name while participating in the virtual classes.
I’m so thankful to be working for Calm now, especially because it’s a tool that helped improve the quality of my life during the Global Online MBA and beyond. I came across the app by chance during the program, and found it decreased my stress and anxiety levels, as well as helping me get a better night’s rest. In addition, I was more able to manage my everyday commitments.
I highly recommend Calm to anyone who is struggling with stress or wants to learn more about building self-awareness. I love starting my day with guided meditation, or by doing a gratitude check-in exercise. Then I break up my day with more meditation exercises, stretching or listening to music, and finish with a sleep story or sleep music remix. Our company also has a guided daily meditation practice to encourage wellness in the workplace, which has helped me with forming a self-care routine while at work.
I love volunteering, giving back to the community and sharing my knowledge with others. I think it’s important to engage in philanthropic activities, because we as humans have a great gift and ability to contribute to the growth of others and ourselves. Volunteering is humbling and helps you see the world through a different lens. Not only are you strengthening your local community, but volunteering can teach you valuable life lessons and skills: you can make a positive difference in the world, and it can bring so much joy into your life.
Whether it’s having conversations with global partners or global coworkers, the lessons I learned from the program have made the world of difference. I’m now more aware of different perspectives, more open-minded about feedback, and able to think a few steps ahead of what our global customers might be anticipating. I’m grateful to the Global Online MBA for the thoughtful conversations I had with colleagues from all over the world, and the professors who challenged me to think in different ways about approaching global business situations.
My biggest challenge was remembering to dedicate time to myself. I found myself working long hours online and not prioritizing myself enough. During the program, I got two puppies—Mochi and Yogi—which ended up serving as emotional support animals in their own way. They encouraged me to get fresh air, not take life so seriously, and literally stop to smell the flowers.
I would let your loved ones know ahead of time that you are going to be participating in an educational program which is very time-consuming, and ask them to be patient as you adapt to the changes. Encourage people to check in on you from time to time and lift you up.
Invest in your time management skills. Set your weekly routines ahead of time, participate in time-blocking and Pomodoro techniques, and find days and times that work best for you to work. Use a physical or digital planner to stay organized. Remember to carve out time to do some of the things you love most. Incorporate self-care into your routine and practice gratitude.
Don’t overthink it—just go for it and apply. It will help you grow and benefit you in the long run. Life is short, so relax a bit and enjoy the journey!