Meet Indra Rudava, a native Latvian and ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA class of 2020 alumna, and a resilient, highly-determined B2B marketing specialist. After 7 years as a marketing director for Coventya Group, a privately held international company that develops, manufactures and distributes specialty chemicals for the surface finishing industry, Indra was promoted to Group Marketing Director, with a relocation to Germany. Rightfully so, Indra credits her hard work and persistence for the promotion, but also her participation in the ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA, which she considers a “tremendous learning experience” and a real professional boost.
She selected the program after careful consideration and we spoke with Indra to hear more in depth about her choice and her overall EMBA experience.
With 15 years of work experience, what motivated you to attend an EMBA program?
Indra: As a marketing specialist, I really wanted to gain good general knowledge in all fields of business administration. I recognized that an EMBA program was the best way forward. I aimed to understand finance and HR management, and acquire deep knowledge about strategy and leadership. Given my internationally-focused work, I wanted to increase my knowledge about the Asian business environment and enhance my intercultural communication skills.
Why did you choose the ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA program?
Indra: I thoroughly researched various programs and I got the sense that an EMBA would have a profound impact on my career and life. I opted for the ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA program after attending an alumni lunch and discussion at the ESSEC campus in La Défense, Paris. There and then I decided: This EMBA program was the way forward. I was impressed by the school’s values and teaching methodology, which seemed interactive and group-focused, as well as the program’s international focus, with diverse classes and international professors. I was impressed by the required residencies abroad and the modules shared between the French and German campuses.
What were some of your favorite moments in the EMBA program, whether in or out of the classroom?
Indra: How to choose? There were so many moments. But one of the best was the high-level leadership . The key takeaways from these three-days: We’re stronger in a team; responsibilities within a team must be clearly defined; team leaders need objectivity, perspective, and the full picture before making decisions. I also truly appreciated my finance teachers. I hate finance, but one of my professors in particular managed to trigger such a curiosity and understanding of the basics of finance…so I had the curiosity to dig deeper. And then of course, the residences abroad, which I did in Japan, Singapore and the US – they were eye-opening in terms of international communication and understanding geopolitical contexts
What is the biggest challenge you overcame through your time as a program participant?
Indra: I would say successfully navigating the study program, while simultaneously managing my international job, extensive business travel, and raising my 11-year-old son.
For you, what was the most valuable aspect of being an ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA program participant?
Indra: We learned to be very organized and well-structured. I value the insight that managing oneself is a prerequisite to managing others, or in other words, I recognize that crucial leadership skills start with improving the self. It’s very simple: A structured plan and effective execution are essential to successfully manage a job, studies, and private life. Discipline and prioritization are the core elements required for a successful completion of the 18-month program, as well as being able to focus on the task at hand and goal in mind, while appreciating the long-term rewards of the energy and innovation invested.
If you had to sum up your experience in as few words as possible, what would you say?
Indra: It was a life-changing, extremely enriching experience that allowed for tremendous personal growth!
What advice would you give to future applicants?
Indra: This EMBA program is clearly a tremendous learning experience, which will boost you professionally, broaden your mind, and open doors to an incredible network. However difficult it can appear at the beginning, remember that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. My main advice would be to carefully manage your resources and stay goal-focused: The reward will be significant and long-term! Never give up!
And to women applicants in particular?
Indra: If, like me, you work in a male-dominated industry, having this kind of degree can open doors and bring respect. People know that it’s difficult, and that it brings great knowledge. Do it, because it will pay off. It won’t automatically open doors, but it’s a trump card and can set you apart.
What specific recommendations do you have for managing resources and staying goal-focused, which you mentioned earlier?
Indra: As I mentioned, we learn self-management in the EMBA program when it comes to our private lives, our work lives, the program. We learn structure planning, perfection. It’s like a marathon, you can’t give up. You need to keep running. See the goal and work towards it. Plan for all the coursework, and don’t fall behind. Avoid burnout at all costs. Also, there’s an ethical commitment you make as a participant; 90% of the work is group work, so you must be committed to your group. It’s very unpleasant and unfair if some group members don’t do their share. We need to work together towards our common goal.
What or who has inspired you in your professional life?
Indra: I recommend Angela Duckworth’s Grit: Why passion and resilience are secrets of success. She clearly illustrates and explains the qualities that need to be harnessed to enjoy success.
For more information on the topic:
- Learn more about the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA program.
- Download the ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA Brochure
- Talk to an Executive MBA program advisor.