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From PhD To MBA | Landing My Dream Job At Philips

Engineering PhD Hortense Kirisli decided an MBA was the way to push her career as a software developer to the next level


Mon Apr 27 2020

An MBA can be a great way to boost your current career. 41% of MBA applicants plan to stay on their current career path, rising from 36% ten years ago. 

With a combination of brand-new knowledge, international experience, and the prestige of having such a coveted degree, doing an MBA can be a great way to boost your career.

Hortense Kirisli was already excelling in her career path of choice, with a PhD in medical informatics. But she was keen to enhance her career as a software developer at a French healthcare technology company.

An MBA made sense, but always seemed like too big a step.

“To me, an MBA was something huge—too complicated and expensive,” she admits. “You think there’s a lot of barriers, and it’s something you can’t get.”

But after speaking to old friends who had pursued the International MBA at emlyon business school, though, her view changed. 

“Looking at the course in detail, and being coached by people who had done it, I thought ‘why not?’”

“I know I wanted to go further in my career, but my current company was not willing to invest in training for myself—so I thought ‘I need to do something.’”

From technical career to MBA


Hortense started with a degree in electronic engineering, before pursuing a research PhD in medical informatics in the Netherlands. In 2013, she applied to a position at Philips, but was unsuccessful.

“I liked the work-life balance in Netherlands, and I wanted to stay,” Hortense reflects. “I tried to get a job at Philips but it just wasn’t possible at that time.” 

Instead, Hortense started her career in software development for a small-to-medium-sized enterprise (SME) in Lille, doing “research within the company, but also management of international people,” she explains.

“It gave me a nice overview of the different rules and positions within a company, which coming from research I didn’t know,” she adds. “But the CEO wanted me to take even more responsibility, and I felt that I was missing something.”

The international nature of the program really appealed to Hortense and emlyon business school prides itself on its international cohort. Despite having only 64 participants on the MBA last year, students hailed from over 30 different countries.“To me that was one of the big things on the program,” she asserts, “just the fact of being with all those international people—that was really nice.

“Early in the year, we got some classes on cultural differences and emotional intelligence, and that really helped to understand others,” Hortense adds.
During her program, Hortense also undertook a semester at MIP Politecnico di Milano, an experienced that allowed her to expand her knowledge in data analytics, and broaden her network.
The thing that stood out most for Hortense was the Entrepreneurial Leadership Project (ELP), a seven-month team project that allows students to work with businesses to solve real problems. Past companies have included business giants such as Airbus, Pepsico, and BNP Paribas.

Hortense’s project was at Neolys, a pharmaceuticals startup based in Lyon, aimed at making radiotherapy treatment more efficient. 

“It was nice as the case was really in my field,” Hortense explains. “It enlarged my experience, and I could do sales strategy and marketing.” 

Getting a job at Philips


Even after her rejection in 2013, there was really only one place Hortense had her sights on for a post-MBA job—Philips. 

“My goal was to go into healthcare, radiotherapy and oncology,” she explains. “That’s where I have my network and added values.

This time, Hortense was successful, securing a position as business development manager of oncology solutions at the healthcare giant. 

“I might have got the interview because I was recommended internally by a friend, but I got the position because of my profile,” Hortense clarifies. “For me, the MBA is what enabled me to differentiate from other candidates.” 

With her dream job in the bag, Hortense is focusing all her energy on performing to the best of her ability, something which her MBA is helping her with.

“Something that is valuable for me was the change management class that we got during the MBA,” Hortense explains, “and understanding the different tools you can use to make a change in an organisation.

“If I had to say what’s the added value of an MBA, I would simply say the MBA is the key on your resume that will make a difference.” 

READ MORE: Meet The MBA At The Forefront Of Driverless Cars Technology


Student Reviews

emlyon business school




On Campus

Intense courses, helpful professors

I am an international student in my 3rd year and I love going to this school and do not regret chosing it for my BBA. The classes are helpful, professors are always there to help as well and we have a very understanding administration.




On Campus

Leadership in an amazing city

I decided to do my exchange in Emlyon because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and I found a space with very capable People.. participatory, empathetic and full of leadership. I will never forget Lyon, apart from giving me an unforgettable experience, he gave me great friends




On Campus

A lot of opportunities professionally and socially. A unique program in France.

You can choose your courses and do your internship, exchange whenever you want. It's flexible and adapted to the needs of each student. A great program and a great city! Professionally, it opens a lot of doors for you to find internships or jobs in France or abroad thanks to the network and career events.




MSc in Digital Marketing

Combining both worlds into one, this course gave me all the on-demand technical skills in data science while maintaining a business-oriented approach. Thanks to the strong academic profile of this university I was able to secure an internship and full-time job at Amazon.




Top Business School fostering innovative entrepreneurs

EMLyon is one of the best business schools. The campuses, associations and courses offered provide the students with the best options to build the future they have chosen. The various opportunities to study and work abroad also offer a deeper understanding of the world, not only economy-wise but social, which helps the student become as well a better individual and not only a pre-formated business school student.




Emlyon campus in Paris

It has a great international community and you have access to many international tools, courses and professors. I had many networking events and workshops for students. Campus and some details of the program could have been improved or need to be bigger in order to have a better student life.




On Campus


Overall good content and good activities. Lack of administration but still ok. Good flexibility and liberty offered to the students. Finally, the amount of internship is also a good way to improve qualifications.




Good Reputation and International Business School

The course was not well adapted but it was up to the mark. The professors are very well experienced and their experience comes in handy while working on assignments. The facilities on the campus are top class. Truly professional. I really like spending time in the learning hub and using all the available resources. Lyon is an amazing city. You will never get bored.




On Campus

MSc International Hospitality Management

The best educational experience of my life so far! It’s been full of exposure and great connections. From Lyon to London, Paris, Los Angeles and Las Vegas! Truly an exceptional way to discover the world of hospitality.




On Campus

Real networking opportunities

- meeting new people, specially professionals during seminars or evening meeting at school. - going abroad to study luxury - being involved as an ambassador to promote the school and the program I was into (MSc LMM) - having such a great professional core




On Campus

white baccalaureate in the world of work

I really appreciated the MS SDAI as a whole. The teaching staff, the different subjects, the university exchange, TEM... I started my internship in a consulting firm having acquired a solid foundation. Downside for CentraleSupélec, which I found far too academic for a program such as this.