Linda Ferstl is kick-starting her career with an Executive MBA at ESADE Business School in Spain.
Linda is senior export area manager at the Festina Group, a luxury giant at the forefront of the watchmaking sector. There, she manages relationships with distributors in Eastern and Central Europe, Scandinavia and Russia. In charge of the key accounts of major duty free and inflight clients, she’s increased sales by an impressive 30% over the past three years.
She has vast international experience working in Asia, Europe and the US. But even so, the ESADE EMBA has opened up her horizons. During her studies, she’s travelled to Brazil, India, and undertaken an entrepreneurship and innovation program in Boston, USA.
Plus, her class is truly international, comprised of leading executives from over 19 different countries.
Previously a global brand manager for Esprit Watches in Hong Kong, Linda relocated to Barcelona and took up a role at Festina. Now, with an EMBA at ESADE, she wants to strengthen her knowledge of global strategic management and take her career to the next level
Why did you decide to pursue an EMBA at ESADE?
I have always planned to go back to university, waiting for the right time and city to combine work and studies. Having more than 11 years global working experience, the International Executive MBA was the most relevant to my level of experience and my career goals.
Besides location and reputation of the university the most important factors for me were how international the course is and how the schedule is compatible with my work. On top of this, I was looking for a mix of theory, case studies and practical application, as opposed to purely focusing on case studies.
ESADE was the school that best met my criteria. The monthly format gives me the necessary availability for my job and the entrepreneurial focus of the university was also attractive to me.
What should EMBA applicants consider when deciding on a program?
The main criteria I would recommend are the language of the program, schedule, financial investment, teaching method, and specializations of different programs, and of course rankings are also important.
After that, the choices become more the matter of personal preferences, such as choosing between online, in-person, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly MBA, EMBA, GMBA programs. Once shortlisted, visit the top universities of your choice, participate in welcome days and sit in the lectures to experience first-hand the atmosphere. Talk to other students, alumni and get as much personal feedback as possible.
What have you gained from your EMBA experience so far?
I have gained a tremendous knowledge upgrade and I have received insights into different business areas and functions. We have learned new business strategy and leadership methods all of which I can apply directly in my daily work.
I also served as a class delegate for two consecutive terms, which allowed me to engage actively with the university and improve diplomacy, negotiation and social skills. The MBA has provided a safe haven to take on different roles and responsibilities, get feedback, and step out of my comfort zone.
I have learned a lot about myself–about my strengths and weaknesses, about how my actions impact others–all of this forms a stronger, more conscious and empathic me. I can see my growth with every month into the program, both personally and professionally.
What international experiences are on offer?
I have been in one week in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Mumbai /Hyderabad (India) and did a three-day elective seminar in Corporate Entrepreneurship at SDA Bocconi.
During the summer break, I participated in a two-week Entrepreneurship and Innovation study tour to Boston where we visited incubators and accelerators like Mass Challenge and Venture Café, MIT MediaLab, Harvard Innovation Lab and other members of the Boston community. Getting such first-hand insight into an incredible eco-system for innovation and entrepreneurship was mind blowing.
Next, I will do another elective in Digital Marketing at Rotterdam School of Management and will close the program with a week in Georgetown, USA.
What are your plans for the future?
I seek to gain more international experience – change gives me drive and opens new perspectives. I am targeting a position where I can lead a team and work cross-functional. I seek to be involved in the creation of new business divisions, organizational units or finding new business opportunities. I want to see the impact of my work, build and guide teams.
One option is to pursue my career in the luxury, fashion sector. Besides that, the EMBA at ESADE has also broadened my vision to see outside of my current role and sector. The corporate sustainability lecture in the MBA was very engaging and made me curious about exploring potential opportunities in this increasingly important business field.