What I did after completing the Distance Learning MBA
24 August 2021
Hear from Distance Learning MBA alumna, Susanne Svensdotter about what she did after completing her MBA at Warwick Business School.
When I started my MBA studies, I did not have a clear idea of what I wanted to do after graduation. I did want a career change, and I planned to use my studies to discover which subjects would interest me. I come from a hard core technical background with a PhD and 25 years of experience in Mechanical Engineering, however, I felt that I needed to learn about the world outside of technology. It turned out that I liked a lot of the modules and I found it impossible to pick out a favourite. I am a natural Jack-of-all-trades, interested in a vast number of topics, so during my studies I made the decision to at least narrow down my industrial sectors of interest.
I graduated in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and my sector of preference was hit very hard. I have therefore not yet done my career change and I am pursuing two main short-term ideas for future positions and one long-term. Short-term, one possibility is to stay in my current organisation, in a role connected to the subject of my dissertation as this was very well received within my company. The second short-term career idea is to move to an organisation in my sector of preference, emphasising my expertise in Process Excellence and R&D. My long-term career plan is to create a portfolio career, supporting start-ups as a board member. I am a great fan of life-long learning and I have recently joined the organisation Women On Boards to learn how to be an effective board member.
I am extensively networking, both within my organisation and outside of it. For example, I am in contact with a couple of recruiters, and I have done several interviews with organisations of interest. I am carefully studying every organisation that I have spoken to because I want to make sure that I agree with the company culture. I prefer to take my time for this, and I have not hesitated to say no to an organisation that I felt was not right for me.
In parallel, I do a lot of voluntary work. I am active in the WBS Social Learning Platform, where I have participated in a panel discussion on Diversity and Inclusion, moderated another panel discussion on the role of Sales during the pandemic, and I am currently preparing a presentation on Lean Six Sigma and related techniques. I find it great to keep in contact with fellow WBS students and alumni. My WBS contacts have for example given me the opportunity to give a seminar about Cultural Diversity and Inclusion to the Xavier Institute of Management, India, which I found very enriching.
The themes for my other voluntary work are linked to my interests and ideas for future careers.
- I am involved in a French organisation (EllesBougent) aiming to encourage young girls to choose STEM as a career. For this organisation, I give speeches to schools, and I mentor girls at innovation events. In the same field, I have given an interview to the organisation Ignited Thinkers, discussing why I enjoy STEM and what advice I could give students of today.
- I am a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society and serve as the Diversity representative for the Paris Branch. As such, I am organising events promoting inspiring ladies within the Aviation and Aerospace sectors.
- For the Women In Aerospace – Europe organisation, I have participated in writing a White paper on the skills gap in Aerospace and I am active in our virtual networking events.
- I am interested in supporting education and I will be shortly joining the board of a charity supporting education in Kenya.
- I have found (to my great surprise) that there are many young students and graduates who are interested in hearing about my career experiences, and I have done several one-to-one meetups to talk about my career.
The pandemic has opened new possibilities for distance working and distance connecting, which I am planning to use to my advantage. I am enlarging my geographical area of interest for both job searches and voluntary work. I think that in a very unusual time, such as we are experiencing now, it is important to keep up your motivation and good spirits while still accepting that things might be moving a bit slower than during “normal” times.