How the ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA Program Shaped One Engineer’s Business Perspectives


Q&A with Lenny Christina from the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA (EMBA) Class of 2022 shares how after almost two decades in the engineering field, an EMBA program has broadened her perspectives and redirected her career trajectory.

Since graduating from ​​Institut Teknologi Bandung in Indonesia in 2000, Lenny Christina embarked on a journey to hone her chops in the semiconductor industry, gradually rising from an engineer to taking on managerial positions—most recently becoming project manager handling backend development at Infineon Technologies.

She gives us the low-down as to why, with over two decades of experience under her belt, she chose to enroll in an EMBA program and how the decision has impacted her career.

What about the ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA program appealed to you?

I liked that the program ran for one week each month over the course of 15 months, as I felt it would have good continuity and be easy to juggle with my work.

It also helped that the EMBA at ESSEC Asia-Pacific is a global program with customized courses focusing on the Asian business perspective. With increasing globalization, I thought having an international perspective would be useful. That said, Asia is also growing in economic power, and business is done differently in different parts of the region, so I thought it would be good to have a deeper understanding of that.

Finally, I chose ESSEC because of its connections with Mannheim University—I felt it would be an advantage since I am working in a German company that is based in Asia. 

How has the global program with an Asian focus benefited you?

As a project manager, I have to deal with team members from different countries like Germany, Austria, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, the UK, the US, and more. Also, most of our suppliers and subcontractors are Asian companies. The EMBA program has enhanced my perspective to flexibly work with my multicultural team and negotiate with Asia-based suppliers or subcontractors.

We hear a lot about diversity and sustainability these days. Have you experienced any of this at ESSEC?

Yes. Being able to meet people from different industries has broadened my network, and hearing about my cohort's experiences has influenced how I look at different situations. Overall, I’d say that as someone from a technical field, exposing myself to business and marketing topics has made me a more well-rounded professional.

Also, ESSEC places a lot of emphasis on the 3Ps of profit, people, and planet. In my field as a project manager, we learn about the “magic triangle” of scope, time, and cost—if there is a change to any one factor, the other two will be affected. It is similar to the 3Ps. ESSEC emphasizes how profit, people, and planet are connected and influence each other. This has helped me become a more responsible leader, so when I need to make a decision, I don’t think about just “one side of the triangle.”

How have these experiences impacted your career?

This year, I made an important career change, moving from a people management path to project management.

This decision was made after a thorough self-reflection based on the results of an EMBA career coaching session. Although some people doubted this decision—as from an Asian perspective, normally people would say that career prospects are better in a people management role—I made the change with confidence, knowing that I have the right qualities for a project manager.

I credit this to what I learned in the EMBA program, which helped me connect the dots between the technical and business sides. So far, I have received a lot of positive feedback from my professional network!

Any parting words for future ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA participants? 

The ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA program at ESSEC Asia-Pacific is great for self-improvement. You’ll be able to see changes in yourself—in terms of confidence in decision-making and flexibility to deal with people—changes in your career and also in your role as a citizen of planet earth.

Looking back, I’ve been part of a great cohort, met nice professors, and found a helpful program manager. It’s not always about what you study but the people you meet who help you make the most of the program. 

Interested in the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA Asia-Pacific program? 

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