Caroline Casanovas went on an international consultancy week to Iceland and explored entrepreneurship and innovation in Israel and Palestine during an intensive, one-year MBA program at London’s Cass Business School.
Before business school, Caroline worked as a fashion designer for Karl Lagerfeld and Tommy Hilfiger. She went on to work as a buyer for Manor, Switzerland’s largest department store chain.
Determined to move out of fashion and explore her career options, she chose the triple-accredited Cass MBA – ranked among the top 40 MBA programs in the world by the Financial Times.
In the latest Cass MBA class, 74 students represented 28 different nationalities. 36% of MBA students were women.
At Cass, students can tailor their MBA experience to match their career goals. On international elective modules, MBA students can choose to explore digital innovation in Silicon Valley, marketing in Las Vegas, brand building in the UAE, and emerging markets in China, South Africa, and Cuba.
To conclude the program, MBA students take on the Business Mastery Project, designing and managing their own consulting project to address a real-world business problem for a chosen company, industry or research area.
Caroline spent three months working with London-based online fashion marketplace Lyst. After graduation, she landed a job as a product manager for Swiss furniture company Vitra, switching industry and role.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
Before the MBA, I had grown from a creative role as a fashion designer into a business-driven role as a buyer for a department store chain. To develop myself further into a managerial role, but also out of pure interest in broadening my horizons, I decided to do an MBA.
I wanted to improve my business-related skills and knowledge. Moreover, I was aiming to re-direct my career away from the fashion business and was curious to learn more about new industries.
I chose Cass for two main reasons. Firstly, because it’s in London. It was important for me to do an MBA in a major capital, where I would meet people working in industries that are relevant to me. The pace of London in terms of innovation, in retail, for instance, is truly unique.
Secondly, because the Cass MBA is a dense one year program. At this point in my life, I believe that studying for one year was the right choice since it meant not being absent from work for too long and still getting all the latest knowledge.
What stands out from your MBA experience at Cass?
I truly enjoyed my final MBA project with Lyst since it enabled me to dive deep into a subject I was passionate about. Being able to solve a problem from scratch and offer strategic recommendations to a company was challenging and inspiring. The way Cass enables its students to design their final project independently is great because one can tailor it to their own career aspirations.
On a more personal level, I believe that at the end one always remembers the people and the experiences we have gone through together. Working closely with people from over 30 different nationalities was truly enriching. What stands out is the consultancy week in Iceland and the elective on innovation and entrepreneurship in Israel and Palestine.
How have you profited?
The MBA has given me the ‘big picture’ of business administration in general, in the sense that I now understand many business-related topics and can easily dive deep into something I am more interested in. It’s given me a sense of how everything comes together within, but also outside a company.
As to my career, I believe that it has enabled me to move away from the fashion industry into a new sector. In my current role, I make use of the fact that I have learned to quickly grasp a problem – even though the industry is new to me - and tackle it in a structured way.
What should applicants think about when deciding to do an MBA?
MBA applicants should think about their personal and professional goals and how to best reach them. MBA programs differ a lot and one should be clear about what they want to get out of it. In the end, it always depends on what each individual makes out of the experience. Your MBA is only as enriching as you make it.