My name is Tamuna Magularia, and I am the head of Financial Planning & Analysis at TBC Bank Group, a London Stock Exchange listed company with core banking activities in Georgia. The group operates the largest bank in Georgia with a consistent track record of growth and profitability.
I would describe myself as a naturally enthusiastic person who strives for perfection and quality in everything I do.
My career started as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers Georgia, and since then I have spent the last ten years working in finance functions across different industries, mainly in my home country.
As I have progressed into areas of greater responsibility, it became apparent to me that as much as finance is an essential component of every business, it’s not everything. To be a holistic business professional, you need to have strategic acumen and the ability to think big. Indeed, the most important thing that the MBA taught me is to think strategically and to be a visionary.
I would focus on three things:
Get ready for the challenge! The Online MBA, as much as it offers much-needed flexibility, is an equally challenging journey. Support from your family and friends is essential during this journey. Believe me, it’s definitely worth it!
Plan your study time wisely by finding what works best for you.
Don’t be too shy to reach out to your classmates for help. The Online MBA is a challenging endeavor and it requires a substantial investment of time. There will be times when you feel stuck between conflicting responsibilities, whether personal or work-related. Be ready to ask for help or to offer your support to others. You are all in the same boat.
Take advantage of the diversity of your cohort and professors, as well as the wide alumni network of your school. Socialize and don’t skip the face-to-face opportunities.
Challenge the ideas and learnings discussed in the online classroom by immediately applying them to your current job. Learning by doing is the best way to internalize those learnings.
Be active in terms of attending various jobs fairs and career-planning events organized by the school. There will be plenty of such events throughout your MBA journey, and it’s a great opportunity to get in touch directly with recruiters and find your desired job.
In terms of my favorite part, if I have to focus on just one… I can honestly say that it was meeting and building lifelong relationships with the amazing people in our intake—students from all over the world with diverse professional and personal backgrounds. I loved how much we relied on each other’s strengths and experiences, sharing diverse points of view. It’s been a great opportunity to meet, engage with, and learn from a wider network of people.
As for what I would change, as I said above, for me, the biggest takeaway from this MBA is the valuable connections I have built and the lifelong friends I’ve made. Thus, I would recommend that the school further enhance networking opportunities by holding more social events enabling people from different sectors to get to know each other more. Considering the mostly online format, such activities are even more important.
This MBA was a transformational experience for me. Given my background in business and finance, it was less about learning technical skills, but more about learning how to think big and how to be a visionary. I’ve gained a broader understanding of businesses, discovering how different people from different countries and with diverse backgrounds think and work.
It also significantly improved my confidence and communication skills. Having been systematically exposed to presenting to a group of impressive peers has served me well, empowering me to engage in strategy-related discussions at management and executive levels in my current role. This will expedite my professional development and serve as a strong foundation for me as a future leader.
Finally, I believe that I have also grown as a person. I have learned to be more empathetic and courageous. No matter how exhausted or pressured I feeI, I know I can always get up and fall forward.
Superb! I actually never imagined this would’ve been possible in an online format, but in reality, I’ve experienced a great deal of human interaction with these amazing people in our intake. Of course, face-to-face weeks significantly contributed to bonding with each other and I was pleasantly surprised when these interactions continued in our virtual classroom.
Regular group work in rotating teams throughout the online periods helped solidify those connections as bonds of trust. We communicate on WhatsApp every day and some of my classmates are now my very close friends. So, it is absolutely possible to create long-lasting business relationships and friendships through online classes.
For me, the residential weeks were most important in terms of building my network and appreciating the diversity of people. Despite packed daily schedules at school and work to do after classes, we wouldn’t miss a single day to go out in the evenings and have fun together. Those weeks provided a strong foundation for our collaboration during online periods and beyond.
Online periods are the predominant part of the program, providing much-needed flexibility. This helped me balance my studies with a full-time job and raising a naughty three-year-old boy. The online discussion forums and pre-recorded video conferences make it easy to follow the lessons and return to them at any point.
There are practically no free weekends and your evenings consist of forum chats and group discussions for project work, leaving minimal time for family life. However, it was definitely worth it and I have never regretted a single thing about the MBA.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt