The Value of an Executive MBA Found at the Heart of Invaluable Connections


Equipped with two decades of experience in the healthcare sector, Aileen Dualan, class of 2020, leveraged on the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA (EMBA) to connect and collaborate with other sectors.

It is easy to preach about the importance of digitalization — as the Asia-Pacific Regional Lead of Medical Affairs at pharmaceutical company MSD Pharma, Aileen Dualan has seen firsthand how technology has crept in to fill the gaps in healthcare.

Yet, it was only while traveling through the rice fields of rural Myanmar that the message really hit home. She had been surprised to find solar panels built to allow farmers to keep their smartphones charged so that they could stay connected while at work.

What this demonstrated was that “digitalization can be found everywhere,” she observes. “ We have to prepare for a future where digital is the standard.”

This perspective only made the Asia-Pacific track of the ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA — with its focus on digitalization — all the more valuable to her.


Having spent her entire working life in healthcare, Aileen initially embarked on an EMBA with hopes of expanding her worldview.

She was pleased to find that beyond learning about financial jargon and the latest buzzwords, the EMBA also placed significant focus on future trends to help her capitalize on future business opportunities.

Digitalization is just one of the examples of trends they focused on. Her trip to Myanmar, which aimed to develop a plan to modernize rice farming, was also one of many instances of the hands-on learning afforded to the participants.

More importantly, the Asia-Pacific track of the ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA has equipped her with the network she needs for the future. Being amongst classmates hailed from different industries also broadened her perspectives and shaped connections with potential collaborators.

This cross-industry collaboration, she adds, is something that the healthcare sector has increasingly come to value over the years.

Referring to the COVID-19 pandemic as an example, she says: “The problem is primarily in healthcare, but various sectors are affected, and a multi-industry approach is needed to address it.”

Having graduated mid-pandemic, she is grateful for how her new network has helped her negotiate through the challenges of the last year.


These examples are why Aileen is a firm believer that the EMBA’s value comes far beyond picking up business skills.

Although there is room to acquire knowledge and develop skill sets, the most meaningful value came from the people she met in the program.

“You meet other leaders who are seeking to enrich themselves. You meet professors who are experts in their fields. You expand your network and learn leadership behaviors from others,” she says, adding that the amalgamation of these perspectives can inspire, motivate, and teach.

Ultimately, she continues to learn that career success requires more than a singular set of skills. It requires the right network, the right mentors, and the right collaborators. Of course, the right attitude to harness the opportunities that arise.

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

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