“Professionally, the IE-SMU MBA helped to grow my career. New job opportunities emerged that weren’t there before, allowing me to explore something different.”
Preetika Gupta, India
Manager, Sports & Business Partnerships
- Program studied
Define your experience during the IE-SMU MBA using one word.
In what ways do you think the IE-SMU MBA has changed your life, professionally and personally?
Professionally, the IE-SMU MBA helped to grow my career. New job opportunities emerged that weren’t there before, allowing me to explore something different. At a more granular level, the format of the IE-SMU MBA itself (both online and periodic face-to-face sessions) also emulated the realities of today’s professional world. This provided me with more confidence in leading business discussions effectively and efficiently, while working with individuals around the world.
On a personal front, it was immensely satisfying to get back into the academic realm and work closely with diverse individuals. But working and studying simultaneously while maintaining personal well-being was a challenge. Thankfully, the MBA taught me valuable lessons in prioritizing effectively.
What advice would you give to students who are about to begin the program?
Make the most of it—the people, the business cases, the network, the learning environment and the memories can’t be replicated anywhere else. They will stay with you for the rest of your life and you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to meet incredible people!
What has been your favorite memory of the IE-SMU MBA?
The whole journey has been rewarding, but if I were to nail it down to one memory, the first day of the MBA was what struck me the most. On your first day, you meet the rest of your class for the first time, you get a grip on what the next 13 months will look like, you’re nervous, you’re anxious and it’s in that moment you realize that this journey will be life changing in more ways than you can imagine.
What is networking like during the IE-SMU MBA?
Networking at IE-SMU MBA closely resembles real life—where you’re periodically meeting individuals (such as in the face-to-face or residential sessions) but at the same time you’re also connected to them via online forums, discussion groups, Saturday classes, study groups and so on.
IE Business School and SMU also collectively set up sessions with professors, faculty advisors, alumni and corporates, which provided a good platform to engage with people outside the class and benefit from their enriching experiences.
Why did you choose to study the IE-SMU MBA?
The IE-SMU MBA provided a good mix of online and face-to-face periods over the 13 months. Personally, it also gave me the flexibility to plan my routine and schedule while working full-time.
What are the residential weeks like? What are the online periods like?
The whole journey is a high-speed train, but the residential periods are particularly intense. You have a lot going on during those sessions and you want to make the most of it. Having said that, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Having the whole class together for the residential periods helps with building a connection with them.
During the online periods, you’re more focused on timeliness and ensuring you can match schedules with the rest of your team. Everybody heads back to their day-to-day lives and finding time for project and class work can be a challenge, which then helps you to prioritize in order to stay synchronized with the team.
What was the Corporate Consulting Project like?
Tough but rewarding. We started with an almost blank piece of paper but by the end of the 9 or 10 months, it was good to see that we had not only managed to help the client with a viable and practical solution, but we had also successfully applied what we learned from our key courses, such as project management, marketing, competitive strategy, and so on.
There were two things that really struck me during the Corporate Consulting Project. First, there was a steep learning curve. Without having much background or knowledge of the client, you need to figure out their pain points and challenges as soon as possible.
The second thing was the sheer immensity of it. I felt like I was essentially working two jobs and studying at the same time. The key aspect of client relationship and stakeholder management was very important and thankfully, our client empathized with our workload and was appreciative of our efforts.
How did you manage your time between work, the program and your personal life?
Honestly, I’m still not very sure: I have to thank my husband for being super supportive throughout the program. I also think it was such a great learning experience, which helped me gain perspective on how to really make the best of what we have on hand.
If I were to summarize how I managed my time, I would put it down to the following:
- Prioritizing my workload
- Taking care of my own well-being, through sports, movies and friends
- Lots of coffee
- My supportive family
- My awesome team mates
- Taking short breaks whenever possible