“Thanks to the joint program, you will have access to the alumni and career services from two leading business schools, giving you countless opportunities to boost your career and expand your network through different programs, activities and initiatives.”

Akos, Hungary

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Akos Kanto

About me

Akos Kanto is a Finance Transformation Manager with a successful track record of delivering results in financial and logistics transformation projects. He is an expert in SAP FI and SAP CO modules, and has vast experience implementing complex financial flows and leading cross-functional teams. During his professional career, Akos has managed a stream for financial data consolidation (Oracle HFM) inside a global finance digitization program using S/4 HANA SAP technology, allowing for faster decision-making and improved management visibility for a Fortune 500 company. He has recently been working in a Big Four company, expanding his knowledge as a Finance Business Partner for Advisory and Consulting Services.
WHO

Akos Kanto, Hungary

POSITION

Finance Business Partner, Deloitte Luxembourg

Program studied

IE-SMU MBA

Define your experience in the IE-SMU MBA using one word.

Inspiring!

In what ways do you think the IE-SMU MBA has changed your life, professionally and personally?

Professionally, I feel more confident when handling complex situations with no immediate solution, which require me to use strategic thinking to find the best possible solution.

On a personal level, I feel that I’ve expanded my horizons. I had the chance to meet new people and engage in long, meaningful conversations with my brilliant and skilled peers, which motivated me to familiarize myself with a broader range of perspectives and to enhance my knowledge of areas not related to my field.

What advice would you give to students who are about to begin the program?

To prepare your body, mind and soul for this transformational journey, I would recommend creating your study plan to maximize your learning experience. Organize your personal agenda and switch to “MBA mode.” Eat healthy, take your vitamins and do some exercise. Most importantly, believe in yourself and be prepared to push your limits.

What has been your favorite memory of the IE-SMU MBA?

There were so many memorable moments for me throughout the program—from the late nights during the online period, to the rehearsal for the final client presentation. But the most cherished memory for me has to be the time I spent with my fellow classmates during the residential periods.

Singapore, besides its many other attractions, is well known for its exclusive sports clubs. Thanks to one of my classmates, we had the chance to visit one and relax there together. We visited the sports club several times during the intensive residential periods. After the final corporate consulting presentation, we went there to celebrate the end of our MBA journey.

What is networking like in the IE-SMU MBA?

During the program, there were various networking events—one in Segovia, where we could network with our peers and professors, and one in Singapore, where we had the chance to meet other SMU MBA students.

Thanks to the joint program, you will have access to the alumni and career services from two leading business schools, giving you countless opportunities to boost your career and expand your network through different programs, activities and initiatives.

Why did you choose to pursue the IE-SMU MBA?

Although I am strongly committed to continuous self-development in order to expand my financial and leadership skills, I didn’t want to give up a full-time job that I really enjoyed. I wanted to find a blended MBA program that would perfectly suit my needs, so I was thrilled when I found IE. Not soon after, I was admitted to IE’s Global Online MBA program and the IE-SMU MBA as well.

Beyond the fact that I consider myself as an open-minded person who loves traveling across Asia and meeting new people, a big part of my decision to enroll in the IE-SMU MBA blended program was the project-based learning methodology. I felt that this would allow me to challenge myself and enhance my business outlook through the transformational hands-on project at one of SMU’s partner companies. Also, SMU offers a vast array of professional networking opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region, and I knew that this would be fundamental to reaching the next stage of my career.

What are the residential weeks like? What are the online periods like?

During the first residential period in Madrid, we had the chance to meet with our fellow classmates and some of the professors in person. Right after the opening ceremony, we began our deep dive into the course material and started out with group activities. The other four residential periods were held at the SMU campus in Singapore, where we continued to have highly interactive and engaging courses and to work on our consulting project. Everyone wanted to maximize the learning experience during the face-to-face periods, so it was both very demanding and truly rewarding.

The online periods were composed of two parts—forum activities during the week, and virtual classes on the weekend. During the online forum weeks, the professors would post a number of engaging questions, asking students to respond with an answer that added value to the discussion, and encouraged further conversation. You can imagine how exciting it was to read the comments from classmates representing a huge range of professional backgrounds and experiences. The virtual classes were held on Saturday mornings, and professors would teach an online class and share different materials and resources. We were encouraged to share our thoughts and perspectives as well during these highly interactive sessions.

Before I started, I wasn’t convinced by the efficiency of the online periods. I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the intuitive online platform. Also, thanks to the various connectivity tools available, I was constantly connected with my teammates, no matter the time zone.

What was the Corporate Consulting Project like?

After the available consulting projects were announced, we got to pick our preference by applying with our CV. Once the program’s management team and the client agreed on the setup of the teams, we were ready to embark on our ten-month journey. During the project, we had the opportunity to apply our newly acquired knowledge to the principles of evidence-based management and to plan, implement and evaluate our roadmap.

We were also supported by a faculty advisor. His guidance and advice helped us successfully manage the project’s scope, as well as our deadline, allowing us to deliver a high-quality solution to our client.

This experience gave me more confidence to manage projects within my company, while also helping me develop my analytical, organizational and project management skills. I also got to work on improving my communication and negotiation skills.

How did you manage your time between work, the program and personal life?

I think this was the most challenging part of my IE-SMU MBA journey. Juggling work, the program and my personal life took a lot of energy out of me. Unfortunately, I don’t have any quick fixes or shortcuts that I can share. I think the key is in being dedicated and adaptable.

Changing “modes” really helped me stay balanced. Basically, I went into “MBA mode” at the very beginning of the program. This meant respecting my responsibilities at work, while rescheduling daily routines to create an agenda and a feasible study plan for me to stick to.

During the week, I woke up earlier, reduced the number and duration of my sporting activities, studied before and after work, and took advantage of my lunch breaks to do readings and follow up on the forum discussions. In the evenings, I worked on my forum comments or my team projects, and usually went to bed late.

Every Saturday was a hybrid day for me. In the morning, we had virtual classes with our professors, and I’d spend the afternoon following up with work-related activities to prepare for the coming week.

I dedicated Sundays to spending quality time with my family. We’d go out for a walk or a hike and spend time outdoors. This really helped me to reduce stress and enjoy time with my family.

I believe that if you truly want to maximize your learning experience, and if you can get out of your comfort zone, nothing is impossible. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”