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Amazon, Microsoft & McKinsey: How The Lisbon MBA’s Industry Links Helped Me Make A Career Switch

Sofia Mexia wanted to move back to Portugal and up in her career; The Lisbon MBA was how she chose to do it


Tue Oct 16 2018

Levelling up in your career is no mean feat—especially when you want to change country, too.

Sofia Mexia was working as a full-time associate at a dental surgery in the UK when she started looking to advance in her career and move back to her native Portugal.

She loved the responsibility of her role in dentistry and getting a taste of managing the dental team and the surgery. However, her management style was all intuition—she needed more focused skills if she was going to find a management role back home.

Sofia chose The Lisbon MBA—the joint venture of the Nova School of Business and Economics and Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, in collaboration with MIT Sloan—to get the skills she needed to grow.

She knew that The Lisbon MBA placed exposure to its corporate connections at the forefront of the degree, and was hoping that the opportunity to learn from and network with companies of all sizes would give her the edge she needed to make the transition.

Now, Sofia works in business development at multinational retailer Sonae MC. BusinessBecause caught up with her to find out more.

What stands out about The Lisbon MBA’s close links to industry?

The Lisbon MBA has several opportunities for corporate exposure—from the visits you do to companies at the term over at MIT, to the events for candidates to get to know national and international companies and startups, their work, and potential opportunities for future employment.

In my program, we had the chance to meet with companies such as Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal, Microsoft, [and more]. Consulting companies such as McKinsey, PwC, EY, and Deloitte also came on campus for events.

Another key moment for corporate exposure is the two-month internship that takes place halfway through the program. Several internships are arranged via the The Lisbon MBA’s connections and network, but candidates can always pursue internships in other organisations rather than the proposed ones.

This internship is a key moment within the program, because it allows you to have exposure to corporate environments at the same time as [giving you] the chance to apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired and developed during the first half of the program.

How did you profit from them?

The career management center of The Lisbon MBA is quite good at ensuring that candidates’ interests are matched when it comes to their events and companies’ visits. For example, I attended [events related to] telecommunications, energy, and life sciences.

At each of these events, besides a short presentation of the company, of its context, and potentially even its strategy for upcoming years, there would always be time for a Q&A and a cocktail afterwards. Thus, the opportunities to get to know the companies were there—candidates only had to make the best of it.

The fact that it was ensured that we were exposed to a multitude of different fields and areas, [meant that] it was an opportunity to get to know more of the different potential professional pathways I could take.

In the end, it helped me confirm that whichever professional pathway I would choose, it would have to be related to healthcare as it was (and is) a passion of mine and where I could best put to use my previous professional experience.

How did The Lisbon MBA help you land your new job?

The Lisbon MBA made it possible for me to make a career shift into a management role, which would have been virtually impossible to do without an MBA.

The MBA helped with my career shift with its corporate connections and its support in making candidates known to companies—from the CV book they send out every year to contacts made by the career management center.

It was through these contacts that an opportunity emerged for me to be able to get a management position in a healthcare-related setting.

Who would you recommend The Lisbon MBA to and why?

I would recommend The Lisbon MBA to candidates that are looking for an MBA that has a complete and diverse curriculum lasting one year.

For those looking for a more personal and supported experience, The Lisbon MBA is a good pick since classes are smaller than typical intakes, with more one-on-one time and support. If someone is looking for an MBA with exposure to different industries and areas, The Lisbon MBA with its career and corporate events will guarantee this to you. You just need to make the best out of it!

Specifically, for those wishing to come back to Portugal and do a career shift, The Lisbon MBA provides you with the knowledge and skills to do so. But more importantly, it helps you navigate this shift in a seamless way—from its support sessions to using their contacts to open some doors for you.