Class Profile

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Meet our class profile

The audience

Thanks to its various locations and curriculum, the IE-SMU MBA attracts a wide variety of professionals globally who are keen on pursuing a world-class MBA from their home countries with the branding of both European and Asian Business Schools.


What they're saying about the IE-SMU MBA

Vidyarth Eluppai Srivatsan

Position: Senior Product Owner
Tremor Video Pte Ltd (NYSE: TRMR)
Country: India

As my company is looking to grow in the APAC region with recent acquisitions, I felt this was the right moment for me to prepare and ride the wave. I felt an MBA at this juncture can help me complement my diverse experience & push me further in my career.

I have a constraint in that my main focus is my current role in my company – we had just launched a new & a crucial product for the company. Consequently I was looking for a way in which I can work while I study. I explored a few part time programmes and then came across this innovative blended program from IE & SMU. The flexibility that such a program affords coupled with the global reputations of SMU & IE business school especially in online MBAs. In addition the combination of the east and the west in the programme prepares me the best considering I have spent time in the US and Asia as part of my career. And the icing on the cake was that my wife had gone through the programme the last year and she had enjoyed it!

It has been a busy but fun ride. I have learnt several things that I didn’t know much about before from double entry accounting & decoding broken economies to communicating around crisis scenarios & improving operations. The professors are really world class and are very adept to help us learn a lot using the blended structure. More importantly, I learn every day from my colleagues – a serial entrepreneur from Colombia, smart Oil & gas execs preparing for the future, an Apple employee and more. It is a competitive and yet symbiotic class. Learning through the online campus is very fun and enriching and in this digital age it is all the more intuitive.

This programme probably demands your commitment and energy more than even full time MBAs. You will need flexibility at work & support from home & family to maximize your learning. The challenge that this programme provides is immense, but is also quite rewarding and one that you will cherish the rest of your life!

Samantha Pereira

Project Officer
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Country: Australia

Five years after graduating with my Bachelor degrees and accruing work experience, I started thinking, with more clarity and insight, about my potential career path. I decided I was ready to go back to university and further my education with the aim of achieving a leadership position in the future.

1. My research led me to find that this particular program offered a unique international flavor through combining not only European and Asian institutions but also the global perspectives of its students.
2. It can be accomplished in one year while working full-time.

Demanding but rewarding. To date it has been my most challenging undertaking. However, it has also been life changing. I have reaped benefits in all aspects of my life, especially through strengthening my vision for my career.

1. Be prepared for a full-time commitment.
2. Look forward to sharing and applying your professional experience.

Olalekan Aliu

HR Account Manager
Royal Dutch Shell
Country: Nigeria

My job requires me to provide advice and support to senior business leaders who make decisions of significant impact to our local operation in Qatar and our Group results. After 10 years of growing and developing within my own (HR) function, I was at a point where I needed a broader perspective, comparable to theirs, to effectively support business leaders through the broad range of issues they face day-to-day beyond just people. The MBA was an excellent way of gaining such a perspective. It hasn’t disappointed.

The original attraction was to IE given the quality of its blended MBA program and the growing reputation of IE Business school in Nigeria. The additional Asian perspective which SMU offered was also an important draw given the growing importance of Asia in the world. Overall, the quality of the program and the support of the IE-SMU program staff through the application process were the key reasons I settled on this IE-SMU program.

It has been excellent overall. There have been times I wondered why I am inflicting such terror on myself when the pressure of work, life and academic work conspire to stress me out immensely. Mostly though, I have just been learning loads on the program and finding that I am achieving precisely what I set out to achieve with this program. The quality of the cohort and professors is top-notch as can be expected of a top-rated program and you certainly get value for money and time! So it has been a great experience.

Get the support of your family before you begin; let your friends know to not expect much of a social life for the duration of the program; cancel your Netflix subscription and get ready for the ride of your life! When you start the program, be sure to find the right balance between learning and doing well -this can be tricky given the drive to do well on the program and the very strong quality of the cohort. Overall, just have fun, build relationships and always focus on gaining things that would matter 10 years after the program.

Fauziah Tranchand

Country Manager
Swire Oilfield Services Malaysia Limited
Country: Singapore

After achieving a management position, I realized that the language and codes used between top management executives in my company were often confusing to me. Same goes with the upper management from other companies I deal with. Moreover, if I want to be in a top position one day, I have to prepare myself for that position. And as a leader, I get somewhat concerned when I see how the young managers deal with problems, handle adverse situations, and mitigate issues. I have become wary of the quality of future leaders in the society. They need to be cultured, polished and make sure they will achieve remarkable successes. A leader needs to be equipped with the tools not only to lead others, but for himself/herself as well. For all these reasons, I found that an MBA would be appropriate for me.

The most important criteria to delve into when choosing any educational outfit are Reputation, Quality of course & delivery, Cost, Fit and Goals. IE-SMU is a collaboration of two most prestigious business schools in the world where Asian and European perspectives to business matters can blend nicely. Most of all, the schools give their attention to every student and provide ample assistance. The cost is competitive when comparing to other business schools of the same standings. The MBA program schedule fits very well with my work and regular business travels, and the fast-paced program schedule is what I am looking for in order to prepare myself for the ever challenging market out there. Ultimately my goals are in line with the course syllabus offered.

It is all about preparing myself to be a top professional, building and unleashing my capabilities to succeed in anything I do. Within the fast-paced environment of my professional and personal lives, the challenge is not in the course, the individual work and the team work alone, it is in time management as well. The course provides many top class real-life case studies which are relevant to develop my experience, working in teams of diverse individuals and instil the MBA learning into the cases assigned. It is not only about me doing the program, but it is also about how I contribute as a team member, and equally as important, how I enjoy the program with some humour and fun moments with the team throughout the course. I can see the difference between many of my team-mates from the start of the course and today: I see thriving business professionals at the end of the program.

I am a career-mum with 2 very young children, and my business travels cover 50% of my time every month! So I am not going to sugar-coat the reality. It is indeed tough. But the program has shaped me in many different positive aspects. I have learnt to be a lot more efficient and focused, meet the challenges, and turn them into valuable opportunities. When I look back at the milestones, from a secretary in a construction company many years ago, to a country manager in an oil and gas service provider today, and tomorrow. Sky’s the limit! So to all prospective students out there: if you always envision your goals, and give everything to achieve them, you have high needs for achievement and know that you have untapped potentials, do not hesitate to enroll! IE-SMU MBA is a program that establishes priorities for its students, provides guidance and cares that you do well so that you can achieve a fruitful MBA journey!

Allan Ko

Head of Human Resources Service Delivery, Asia Pacific
Johnson & Johnson
Country: Philippines

Ever since my early university days, I have always wanted to take a master’s program, but demands from my career had restricted me from pursuing one full-time. While working for Procter & Gamble and IBM, I had been exposed to excellent opportunities in fields beyond my undergraduate degree in Computer Science: I’ve held roles in HR, Finance, and Operations, before growing to take on senior leadership positions in general management. At that point in my career, I thought I could further hone my business acumen by stretching skill sets and broadening perspectives beyond my sphere of comfort, and thus the idea of finally pushing through with an MBA came to mind.

I wanted to have it all — to continue to build a dynamic and rewarding career now at Johnson & Johnson, the world’s #1 diversified healthcare company, while also getting an MBA from a top-tier business school. Upon considering multiple alternatives, even to the point of passing admission in other equally-prestigious institutions, I decided to go with IE-SMU because of the program itself. It brings together the global reputation and blended learning expertise of IE Business School with the future-oriented, modern Asian outlook of Singapore Management University. The design of the program allows flexibility for online study, while not losing touch with the needed academic rigor and pragmatic applications to make the courses truly enriching and worthwhile.

I’ve had a great experience with the IE-SMU MBA, as it closely resembles how modern businesses operate today: virtually, globally, and cross-functionally. Being assigned in project teams across a diverse set of cultures and base locations is something I am very much used to in a work environment, so it’s high time this gets applied in the academic context. And IE-SMU does this really well, offering a suite of online tools and program interventions (peer assessments, roster rotations, regular group check-ins with the program director) in order to maximize teamwork and collaboration. I want to specifically call out and credit our excellent professors who were able to truly motivate me to do my best. I can wholeheartedly say that the learning and inspiration I got from them are well worth the whole program’s cost!

Remember: “if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” Take the IE-SMU MBA if you are looking for a program to stretch, challenge, and inspire you to do more and be more; all while not quitting your day job. Expect to work hard individually and with your project teams, and know how to manage your time efficiently so you are able to balance all your priorities and commitments — which at times may seem to all be simultaneously demanding your full attention. In the end, you will be amazed at how much more you are able to fit in to 24 hours than you ever thought possible, while you find lasting fulfillment in your own personal and professional growth.

Alvin Tham

Assistant Director, Marketing and Corporate Communications
Football Association of Singapore
Country: Singapore

It has been a personal goal to complete an MBA at some point in my life and I had wanted to garner enough professional experience before taking the programme. This turned out to be a perfect time for me to pursue an MBA as I am also looking to enhance my business and management knowledge and skill sets.

I was looking for two things in my search for a suitable MBA programme. Firstly, I was looking for a programme offered by top business schools as these are proven programmes that produced top professionals. Secondly, I was looking at a programme that can offer me practical knowledge that can be translated to the work place. Having looked through the various programmes available in Singapore, the IE-SMU MBA programme fulfils both criteria that I was looking for. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.

The programme is very intensive, but I won’t have it any other way as this was exactly what I was looking for – being in an intensive learning environment with classmates who are experienced professionals from various industries in different parts of the world. I am learning as much from my classmates as I am from the curriculum!

Prospective students who are looking to enhance not just their knowledge in business, finance and management but also their soft skills and skill sets such as critical thinking as well as learning from a diverse group of experienced professionals from all over the world, should enroll in the IE-SMU MBA programme. They must be willing to commit time and effort in completing the programme as there will be sacrifices made during the course, but the experience, network of friends and the knowledge gained will be well worth it.

Khine Tharaphe Din

People Operations Manager
Proximity Designs
Country: Myanmar

Today’s economy is changing so fast and to be ahead of the change is to learn and practice how to adapt to the changes. I believe an MBA can give me the right knowledge and skills needed just for that.

I have always wanted to do an MBA since I graduated from SMU in 2011. But I couldn’t give up my job for another full-time course. When I heard the IE-SMU’s blended MBA program allows me to pursue an MBA while I keep doing what I love to do, I knew this was what I have been looking for and I knew I had to go for it.

The best part for me so far is the diversity my classmates have brought to the class. The discussions are so enriching and I get to learn how a very simple subject is viewed very uniquely in different industries and that\’s what has struck me the most. 

I’m going to be honest with you- this isn’t an easy program. Be prepared to work on countless number of team projects, to sacrifice a little bit of your rest time after you come back from work, and to do a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. But at the end of the day, you will get to see how strong your network has expanded, how you have changed as a professional in terms of both soft and hard skills, and how satisfying it feels when you realize you are now well prepared and have the confidence to even start a small business on your own. It will be a thrilling and rewarding journey. You are going to love it!

Alyssa Perkins Schelbert

Investor Relations Coordinator
American Capital
Country: USA

I started a venture 4 years ago, and currently its’ growth and profit has been stable. Although it provides me with strong management views and operation skills from a start-up perspective, I realized I lacked knowledge from a corporate perspective. Moreover, managing a local company enabled me to learn things from a local perspective, unfortunately with minimal global/ regional/ international exposure. An MBA would help me to bridge those gaps and offer me the opportunity to understand global best practices and international business mind-sets.

You cannot go wrong with combination of both the East and West. IE is one of the best business schools’ in Europe and the world, while SMU is one of the best business schools’ in Asia. Combining European business concepts with an Asian perspective proves to be one of the most “crucial recipe” in securing businesses nowadays. Moreover, the programme is flexible as it adopts a blended learning methodology comprising face-to-face sessions and online periods. As I still maintain my full-time job whilst in the IE-SMU MBA, I am able to apply what I learn right away into my work.

A great programme, world-class professors, outstanding colleagues, beautiful city, insightful materials, intellectual discussions, ample business opportunities, solid networking – what else do you need?

Be authentic and bring with you the passion and skills you have and combine it with new skills and perspectives from top-notch business practitioners and academics. It will definitely shape you to become the true leader in today’s dynamic and modern business environment.

Gregoire Droz

Portfolio Manager
Credit Suisse Asset Management
Country: Switzerland

In a highly competitive world, young and motivated people must have the right skill set in order to pursue their objectives. An MBA is the most complete and recognized way to acquire the necessary knowledge.

The IE-SMU MBA program is the best combination from 2 of the best education institutions in the world. With this program, you can leverage on the legacy of a top European Business School and on a rising Management University in Asia. This MBA is a bridge between cultures. Wherever you want to go in the world, from Asia to North-America, from Europe to South-America, this MBA will open any door.

My experience can easily be summarized in the following few 4 words: “Highly Challenging, Highly Rewarding”.

Go for it! It will be hard, it will be challenging, but it will be highly rewarding and definitely change your life to the best that it can be!

Aarthi Sridharan

Senior Engineer
Global Foundries
Country: India

From a young age, I have always been a pragmatic dreamer and I dream of running my own start-up one day.I had reached a stage in my career where I was looking to jump to the next level and arm myself with relevant knowledge and skills to take on and manage an entrepreneurial role.

In this era, leaving a well paying job and studying full time for a couple of years is a luxury that didn’t make a whole lot of economic sense, at least for me. So while struggling to find the ideal university, I stumbled on the world number #1 in blended MBAs – IE , with a highly reputed blended programme in conjunction with one of the more pragmatic & modern Asian universities – SMU. Not only did this suit me but it also followed the blended model of teaching. It was vital for me to learn how to collaborate with international peers across different time zones and this course promised to show me the way and provide me with the tools to be successful in such an environment. With all these, it is really a no-brainer why I chose to join IE-SMU MBA programme.

The IE-SMU MBA experience has simply been amazing. How often can one have scenarios where you get to work with a Psychology major from Philippines, an entrepreneur from Indonesia, a project manager from Japan, a Swiss Banker & collaborate with some of the top lecturers from both the West and East and solve interesting problems? Even better when you get life long friends from such an international & diverse background. Yes I had this opportunity and I count myself lucky to be a part of it. For someone who was unaware of the ABCs of online collaboration, now tools like Adobe Connect are a breeze and I practically use that to meet my peers and clients online. Learning to work well with such a time zone separated group is one of the practical challenges of this century and something that this course has subtly.

If you are thinking blended/online or part time programs will be easy or very relaxing, this is NOT the program for you. This program will demand a lot from you, more than even full time programs will – a lot of hard work, a lot of late night work and a lot of work-life-studies balancing. Equally well, the program will be rewarding enough to help by being a great springboard for your career. Do an MBA because of your passion and when you do that, working 5 hours on a project for MBA after “office work” wont be stressful. Bottom-line, if you need a quick & broad introduction to the world of business with a bit more focus on Asia from top notch business schools, without quitting your current job and at the same time get an amazing network of people across the world, join the IE-SMU MBA!