At IESE, we are committed to increasing the number of women leaders in the global business field. We have many Women in Leadership initiatives in our MBA program ranging from our student-led Women in Business Club to scholarships dedicated to outstanding female candidates. IESE is proud to be part of the Forté Foundation, a non-profit consortium of leading companies and top business schools dedicated to empowering future women leaders. In this post, we feature Emily Hinton, MBA Class of 2021 who is a recipient of our Forté Foundation Fellowship and will be joining BCG London as a consultant after graduation.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. What are your career aspirations and why did you decide to do an MBA?
I’m Emily, the only New Zealander in the IESE MBA Class of 2021 and very proud of it! My passion in life is environmental sustainability and this is driving my career path. I am a mechanical engineer and before coming to the MBA I was working at an engineering consultancy. There I designed air conditioning and heating systems for commercial buildings (thrilling stuff!). Early in my career I realized that I was more interested in the business side of my work so have continued to transition away from technical engineering. In 2018, I had the opportunity to move to Yangon, Myanmar to help my company grow their newly formed office in the country – this was the most challenging and exciting thing I have ever done and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. After this, I decided that an MBA would be the best way for me to fully transition away from engineering into business. My long-term career goal is to advise companies on how to embed environmental sustainability into their core business so that they can both help the planet and not adversely affect their bottom line. I am excited to see that my chosen career path is becoming more viable and I am very optimistic about the future and can’t wait to make a difference!
What made you choose IESE for your MBA?
There are two main factors of why I chose IESE. Firstly, and most importantly, for the people – the support and encouragement I received from the IESE admissions team and alumni was unparalleled before I even started the MBA. This has been reinforced over the last two years being surrounded with great classmates, professors and the wider IESE community. Secondly, my values align very closely with IESE. To me, the ‘fit’ of the business school was a priority. At IESE, they focus on ‘doing good’ not just ‘doing well’ and it is a very collaborative atmosphere. Lastly, there is the added bonus of living in Barcelona!
Did your MBA experience meet your expectations? How did the pandemic impact your experience?
It exceeded my expectations! I have had such an amazing two years in Barcelona. I expected to come here and learn about business and hoped to transition into consulting, but I have left here with lifelong friends and amazing experiences. I was surprised at how collaborative the energy is at IESE, although we are all ‘competing’ nothing ever felt competitive, from schoolwork to finding jobs – everyone was always willing to help. There was a lot of uncertainty when we went into lockdown about how our lives and school would look but IESE did an incredible job at getting the online classes up and running right away. I did struggle with the online classes but IESE also let us defer some online classes and I gladly took this opportunity which allowed me more time to concentrate on my remaining classes and focus on staying healthy and sane during lockdown.
What are some of the highlights of your time at IESE?
The first year of my MBA (pre-Covid) was full of highlights, from Multi-Culti to SKIESE, calçotadas to Winter Ball, practically every weekend was filled with activities. From the academic side, working with my team for projects and simulations was always a fun time and a bit of friendly competition.
Once we went into lockdown, I thought we would lose this atmosphere but (although it was very different) we still entertained ourselves with Zoom parties and online games nights. Even the professors went above and beyond to keep us engaged including hosting informal virtual drinks nights to talk about the economics of Covid-19. This year, thankfully classes have been in person again which has been amazing – I am definitely not taking in-person classes or lunches with friends on campus for granted anymore.
How has the IESE MBA helped you to achieve your goals?
Professionally, the IESE MBA has opened up a world of opportunities for me. If you had asked me ten years ago what I would be doing now, working at a top management consulting firm in London would not have even crossed my mind. This experience has given me goals that I did not even know were possible. Personally, having the chance to meet and work with my classmates from all over the world has given me new ways to think and a greater appreciation for different cultures.
In your opinion, how do you think your MBA can help you better navigate today’s business world especially in post-pandemic times?
The pandemic has highlighted the necessity of businesses to focus on more than just profits.
I strongly believe that the world of business is going to go through a step-change when navigating the post-pandemic world. This will mean focusing more on the true value of people and the planet which will naturally favour businesses and businesspeople with purpose and values, which is what IESE embodies. The MBA has taught me more than just the technical skills needed to succeed in the business world, but also how to act with integrity and how to frame problems holistically to see every angle.
How did the Forte Foundation Fellowship impact your life? How do you plan to “pay it forward”?
The scholarship gave me peace of mind about the financial aspect of the MBA which allowed me to focus more on my career search and academics. This financial freedom also gave me the opportunity me to prioritize the impact I could have in my future job over focusing on the salary. I am so thankful to IESE for this support.
I have been so appreciative of all the IESE alumni support such as talking to me and my classmates about their experience at different companies and even helping us with interview preparation and internship advice. I hope to be able give back in this way. Furthermore, I also hope to make IESE proud by doing good in the world through the promotion of sustainable business. Additionally, I want to be able to support more women getting into business and would love to mentor people looking for advice and support – something that I have been lucky to have in my life.
In your opinion, how can scholars help in bringing forward the mission of IESE?
It is up to us to make sure that we do IESE proud!
Receiving a scholarship from IESE is a privilege and it is up to us to use this to promote ethical business, inclusion in the business world and above all be good people.
I know that the business world will benefit from more women in the workplace. It is one of my objectives to foster and mentor perspective female candidates to ensure they feel supported and that they belong.
Congratulations Emily and the MBA Class of 2021 on your upcoming graduation, and we look forward to seeing you make your mark!
To find out more about how to support the IESE Scholarship program and our Annual Fund, you can go to https://giving.iese.edu/annualfund
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