With a directorship at a mining and metals company in Santiago, Chile, Ramiro Blanch doesn’t have a bad CV. But like many middle managers, he felt stuck in his career; stagnant. That spurred him to pursue an MBA at Maastricht School of Management (MSM), a highly-ranked business school in the Netherlands.
One reason for choosing MSM over other top schools in Europe was that the MBA program can be completed in 12 months, meaning he will pay less in tuition and forgo fewer earnings studying full-time. It was also easy to secure a study visa, which will enable him to work in the Netherlands for up to a year after he graduates in 2018.
He enrolled in the MBA in October 2017. For Ramiro, a Latin American, diversity has been the highlight. Students on the MSM MBA typically come from 20 different countries and many professional backgrounds, though the program is taught in English. That diversity will be beneficial for Ramiro in his career, he believes, as the ability to work with people from different cultures is an essential trait of an effective executive.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
I needed change, something different, and sometimes studying is a good option to figure out what you want to do next. And when you already have several years of work experience, the best degree program to study is an MBA, especially if you want to work in business. Also, I came to realize that networking is a must to keep growing as a professional, and an MBA is surely the best alternative to working to increase the size of your network.
I wanted to study abroad, in a program in which I could speak English. But I also wanted to study in Europe, so my options were the UK and some other countries where their inhabitants spoke English. I chose the Netherlands because I knew that almost 90% of the population spoke English. And MSM because it has a high proportion of international students — usually the MBA class is composed of 20 different nationalities. This is one of the best aspects of the program.
How have you profited from your MBA experience so far?
Sometimes, you think you know everything. But coming into the MBA program, I was wrong. So far, I’ve been taught so much about new subjects, which I did not expect.
Being part of such a diverse cohort has also opened my eyes in many ways. The world is more globalized than ever before, so nurturing interpersonal relationships with people from different backgrounds is increasingly becoming important. It is enriching to not only learn new subjects and managerial skills, but also to develop and thrive in a multicultural environment.
What should applicants think about when deciding to do an MBA?
When you make the decision of studying for an MBA, you must take into account the many costs involved. Without scholarships, an MBA degree will be expensive. And most people chose the full-time version, so you will need to resign from your current job and forgo a salary. Most importantly, you will be out of your comfort zone, and will need to adapt quickly.
Because of the high cost involved in getting an MBA, it is extremely important for candidates to know why they want the degree: what are your motivations? What do you want to achieve? If you cannot answer these questions clearly, you will likely not benefit from the MBA as much as you otherwise would.
What has been the most enjoyable part of the Maastricht MBA program?
The fact that I have kept growing. When I was working, I felt I was stuck. With the MBA, I am learning new things again; knowledge and people skills. Other things that I have enjoyed on the program are the great parties and people I have had the pleasure of knowing.
How easy, or difficult was it to secure a visa to study in the Netherlands?
In my case, it was easy. It took me only one trip to the Dutch embassy in my country, and that’s it.