"Studying the International MBA was one of the best gifts I have ever given to myself in regard to experience, people and learning."
Aida Rizvo, Bosnia / Germany
Founder, CEO and Board Advisor
Can you describe your experience in the International MBA using one word? How has your time at IE Business School helped you professionally and personally?
It’s impossible to describe my experience in just one word, but two things that help describe it are hard work and diversity.
I always say to my friends, “You guys bought your first flats, and I invested in an International MBA. And I would do it again if given the choice.” Studying the International MBA was one of the best gifts I have ever given to myself when it comes to experience, people and learning.
When I began my studies at IE Business School, I already had quite a few years of work experience behind me; however, I was playing around with the idea of starting my own business and thought I was lacking some key skills to do so. IE Business School taught me hard skills that I have never been in touch with before—ones that I would have previously considered to be outside my comfort zone like the financial assessment of a company or supply chain specialities. I also learned a lot from my international peers. The intercultural environment served as a fun learning experience to meet international colleagues and professors alike.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
Starting your own business requires an idea you believe in, courage, tenacity and a lot of hard work. Achieving a work-life balance is not an easy feat—I must admit, I wasn’t the best at it. I had friends help open my eyes to how much I was working and they helped me push the pause button.
After I pushed pause, I needed to learn how to let go. Your business becomes your baby, so you enter with high expectations for yourself. But, with time, I learned that not everything has to be perfect and it’s fine not to control things too much—with this mindset, I was able to create a work-life balance. This was a long process and it definitely didn’t happen overnight.
What challenges have you experienced as a woman in business throughout your career?
Within my own business, I have never felt that I was treated differently because I am a woman. Upon returning to Europe two years ago, I was struck by the fact that being a working female can be an issue here.
I am a member of a female network here in Germany, and when my friends and colleagues talked about the “glass ceiling” I couldn’t really follow. I never had that experience in Asia. I wholeheartedly believe that Asia is, in this respect, significantly ahead of Europe. It’s not uncommon to see a female CEO in Asia, especially because I think that Asia is more willing to accept women in a leading position because it is incredibly dynamic and fast developing.
Europe is steadily progressing and IE Business School certainly is contributing—by simply living diversity and uniting everyone in the IE Business School family.
Do you have any advice on how to break the “glass ceiling?”
- Don’t be afraid of failure—every mistake is a big opportunity to learn.
- Ask for help.
- Network, not only with other women, but anywhere and everywhere.
- Never wait for the right moment—there is no right moment.
- Follow your dreams and things will happen. If you work hard enough, they will come to fruition.
- Forgot conventional thinking and expectations. What is right, is right for you as an individual. What’s right is what makes you happy. If you are happy, success will come.