“A naturally enthusiastic person with a passion for perfection and quality in everything I do.
Hometown: Tbilisi, Georgia
Fun fact about yourself: When I was 18, I lived for several months in Atlanta, USA, for my undergraduate studies (as part of a one-semester exchange program at my university). To earn money in addition to my scholarship, I decided to babysit. My first and the latest day of this job was with a family with three children, where I had to babysit overnight while the parents were partying.
Undergraduate School and Diploma: Bachelor of Caucasus University, Caucasus School of Business
Where are you currently working? TBC Bank Group PLC, responsible for financial planning and analysis
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I had been an auditor at PwC for only two years when a senior executive asked me to take on one of the firm’s first year audit clients. Formally, I had not yet reached a position high enough within the firm to be entrusted with the management of an entire project! I was excited and scared at the same time. As always, the deadlines were tight and it was an opportunity for me to prove that I really was the “star performer” that some in the company called me.
At this point, I have combined a few key skill sets. I used my technical expertise to thoroughly plan the project, identify key risks and design responses, and clearly communicate goals with my team.
After many sleepless and no less fun nights, we were able to complete the project on time and with minimal project manager involvement – all with extremely positive feedback from the client.
My team and I received praise from the firm partner for our hard work and for going above and beyond what was initially assigned. It was great to have exceeded the expectations of this top executive and the experience set me on the path to success within the firm.
Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? There are several reasons why I chose the IE Global Online MBA program:
- International rankings still high
- Its unique approach to the online program – a mix of online and face-to-face experiences
- Teaching methodology based on real-world industry-based case studies
- Teaching format of live online video conferencing on weekends and asynchronous online discussion forums on weekdays
- Diversity of faculty and student base
- Extremely positive feedback from alumni I know personally
Most importantly, after attending several alumni briefings and conferences, I had a feeling about EI that I hadn’t felt with any other school.
What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? If I had to focus on just one … I would say it was about connecting and building lasting relationships with an amazing cohort of students from around the world with diverse professional and personal backgrounds, and sharing their valuable experiences. and points of view. The topics and discussions deepened each other’s individual experiences and it helped me better understand the specifics of various industries and topics beyond my specialty in finance.
The flexibility of the predominantly online format was super comfortable – and a must considering the need to balance my studies with a demanding full-time job and mothering a naughty 3-year-old. However, it was the face-to-face weeks, which are an integral part of the program (and which, despite the pandemic, were made possible thanks to the school’s tremendous efforts), that turned out to be one of the best things that m never happened. Being able to meet all of these people in person only helps foster relationships between students and adds tremendously to the overall MBA experience.
What was most surprising about an online learning environment? Before I started the program, despite all the positive feedback I had garnered from former students of the program, I still had a mental picture of a classroom of students all staring into their laptops. In reality, there are a lot of human interactions that take place in a virtual classroom. We regularly partnered with each other to complete projects and bonded instantly. Some of my classmates are now my very close friends. It is quite possible to create lasting business relationships and friendships through online courses.
How does your online experience compare to your classroom experience as an undergraduate student? The main difference for me is that this time I had a lot more on my plate: I had to balance my online MBA with full-time work, motherhood and social life. The classroom experience as an undergrad was totally different in that my life basically revolved around just being a student and socializing with classmates.
Another huge difference for me was also the teaching format and the high level of collaboration between students and teachers related to learning the subjects. Online discussion forums and recorded video conferences made it easy for me to follow the discussions and come back to any point whenever needed.
Most importantly, online learning coupled with my full-time job allowed me to immediately apply what I was learning and “test” it in real time. This was facilitated by the teaching methodology based on real cases. It was different from my undergraduate studies when teaching mostly revolved around theoretical concepts without much reference to the real world of business.
What is your best advice to a candidate for success in an online MBA program?
1) Prepare for the challenge! The online MBA, to the extent that it offers much-needed flexibility, is an equally difficult course. The support of your family and friends is essential on this trip. Believe me, it is totally worth it!
2) Plan your study time wisely by finding what works best for you.
3) Don’t be too shy to ask your classmates for help – the online MBA is a tough business and requires a large investment of time. There will be times when you feel stuck between conflicting responsibilities, whether personal or professional. Be prepared to ask or offer your support to others. You are all in the same boat.
4) Take advantage of the diversity of your cohort and of your teachers, as well as the large network of alumni of your school. Socialize and don’t skip face-to-face opportunities.
5) Challenge ideas and learnings discussed in class online by immediately applying them to your current work routine. Learning by doing is the best way to internalize this learning.
6) Be active by participating in various job fairs and career planning events organized by the school. There will be a lot of such events throughout your MBA journey and this is a great opportunity to get in direct contact with recruiters and find the job you want.
What would you change in an online MBA program? As I mentioned above, what I take away the most from an MBA for me are the precious connections I have made and the longtime friends I have made. I’m pretty sure that for other students, too, one of the most important aspects of coming to business school was expanding my professional and personal networks. So, I would recommend that schools further improve these opportunities by organizing more social events where people from different sections get to know each other better.
For example, there were 55 students in our class, and we were divided into two sections. As well as meeting students from another section during the face-to-face weeks, I would have liked more opportunities to meet them and socialize and I would also have appreciated more social events online to allow people from different sections to meet and network.
How has your online training helped you in your current job? As I mentioned above, one of the biggest benefits of online learning for me has been the ability to immediately apply and “test” what we learn in real life. For example, in my current position, I oversee the valuation of our subsidiaries. Practical examples and real-life insights provided by Advanced Corporate Finance Professor Francisco Luis Quintero Berganza helped me make an immediate positive impact on my business.
Another great benefit of learning, while continuing to work, was that I was able to significantly improve my time management skills. This was noticed and greatly appreciated by my employer.
Number of hours per week devoted to the online MBA: 18-22 hours
What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My long term goal is to become a full financial leader in the banking industry and work for a large international bank. This leads me to gain in-depth industry experience over the next two years in my current role in the finance function of the bank I work for, and I think this is the perfect place to be successful.
I believe that my specific work experience in finance in various industries and my recent online international MBA exposure provided me with a solid foundation as a senior executive.
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