“A naturally enthusiastic person with a passion for perfection and quality in everything I do.”

Age: 32

Hometown: Tbilisi, Georgia

Fun fact about you: When I was 18, I lived in Atlanta, USA for several months for my bachelor’s degree (as part of a one-semester exchange program at my university). To make money on top of my scholarship, I decided to babysit. My first and the latest The day of this job was with a family with three children where I had to babysit at night while the parents partied.

Basic studies and degree: Bachelor’s degree from Caucasus University, Caucasus School of Business

Where are you currently working? TBC Bank Group PLC, Head of Financial Planning & Analysis

What success in your professional career are you most proud of? I was only an auditor at PwC for two years when I was asked by a senior manager to take on a position of responsibility for an audit client in the firm’s first year. Formally, I had not yet reached a managerial position within the law firm enough to be entrusted with the management of an entire project! I was excited and scared at the same time. As always, the deadlines were tight and it was an opportunity for me to prove that I am indeed the “star performer” that some in the company called me.

In this phase I combined some key competencies. I used my technical know-how to thoroughly plan the project, identify key risks and develop responses, and clearly communicate goals with my team.

After many sleepless nights and no less fun, we were able to complete the project on time and with minimal commitment from the project manager – all with extremely positive feedback from the customer.

My team and I received praise from the firm’s partner for our hard work and for going beyond the original mandate. It felt great to have exceeded this senior executive’s expectations and the experience put me on my path to success at the firm.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? There are several reasons why I chose the IE Global Online MBA program:

  • Consistently high international rankings
  • His unique approach to the online program – a mix of online and face-to-face experiences
  • Teaching methodology based on real, industry-based case studies
  • Classroom format of online live video conferencing at the weekend and asynchronous online discussion forums during the week
  • Diversity of lecturers and students
  • Extremely positive feedback from alumni I know personally

Most importantly, after attending several information events and alumni interviews, I got a feel for IE that I haven’t had at any other school.

What was your favorite part about an online MBA program? If I had to focus on just one thing … I would say it was connecting and building lifelong relationships with an amazing cohort of students from all over the world with different professional and personal backgrounds and sharing their valuable experiences and viewpoints. The topics and discussions delved deep into the individual experiences of each individual and this helped me to better understand the specifics of different industries and topics beyond my specialty of finance.

The flexibility of the mostly online format was super convenient – and a must when balancing my studies with a demanding full-time job and motherhood of a 3-year-old naughty boy. However, it was the attendance weeks, which are an integral part of the program (and which, despite the pandemic, were made possible by the great commitment of the school) that turned out to be one of the best has happened to me. The opportunity to meet all of these people in person fosters student relationships and adds tremendously to the overall MBA experience.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? Prior to the start of the program, despite all the positive feedback I had received from the alumni of the program, I still had the idea of ​​a classroom with students all staring into their laptops. In reality, there is a lot of human interaction going on in a virtual classroom. We worked together regularly to complete projects and we connected immediately. Some of my classmates are now my very close friends. It is entirely possible to build lasting business relationships and friendships through online courses.

How did your online experience compare to your classroom experience as a student? The main difference for me is that I had a lot more on my plate this time around: I had to balance my online MBA with full-time job, motherhood and social life. The teaching experience as an undergraduate student was completely different in that my life was essentially about just being a student and hanging out with classmates.

Another big difference for me was the teaching format and the high level of cooperation between students and professors in relation to the subjects. Online discussion forums and recorded video conferencing made it easy for me to follow the discussions and come back to any point if necessary.

Above all, online learning combined with my full-time job enabled me to apply what I had learned immediately and to “test” it in real time. This was made easier by the teaching methodology based on real cases. Unlike in my bachelor’s degree, when the teaching mainly revolved around theoretical concepts, without much reference to the real world of business.

What is your best advice to an applicant for a successful online MBA program?

1) Get ready for the challenge! As much as it offers much-needed flexibility, the online MBA is an equally challenging journey. The support of your family and friends is essential during this trip. Believe me, it’s definitely worth it!

2) Plan your study time wisely by figuring out what works best for you.

3) Don’t be afraid to ask your classmates for help – the online MBA is a demanding undertaking and requires a significant investment of time. There will be times when you find yourself stuck between conflicting responsibilities, be it personal or professional. Be ready to seek or offer your assistance from others. They are all in the same boat.

4) Take advantage of the diversity of your cohort and professors as well as the broad alumni network of your school. Socialize and don’t miss the face-to-face opportunities.

5) Challenge the ideas and insights discussed in the online classroom by immediately applying them to your current day-to-day work. Learning by doing is the best way to internalize these insights.

6) Be active in attending various job fairs and career planning events organized by the school. There will be many such events during your MBA journey and it is a great opportunity to get in direct contact with recruiters and find your desired job.

What Would You Change About An Online MBA Program? As I mentioned above, for me the most valuable connections I have made and lifelong friends I have made. I’m pretty sure that one of the most important aspects of attending business school for other students was expanding my professional and personal network. So I would recommend that schools further improve these opportunities by holding more social events that allow people from different backgrounds to get to know each other better.

For example, there were 55 students in our reception and we were divided into two sections. Aside from meeting students from a different section during the attendance weeks, I would have liked more opportunities to meet and socialize with them, and I would have liked more online social events that would attract people from different backgrounds enable people to meet and network.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? As I mentioned above, one of the greatest advantages of online learning for me was the ability to apply what I learned right away and “test” it in real life. As part of my current job, for example, I monitor the valuation of our subsidiaries. Practical examples and insights from the practice of the advanced corporate finance professor Francisco Luis Quintero Berganza helped me to have an immediate positive impact on my company.

Another great benefit of in-service learning was that I was able to significantly improve my time management. This was actually noticed and greatly appreciated by my employer.

Number of hours per week for the online MBA: 18-22 hours

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My long-term goal is to become a full stack finance leader in the banking industry and to work for a major international bank. This includes gaining deep industry experience in my current role in the finance function of the bank I work for over the next few years, which I believe is the ideal place for my success.

I believe that my specific work experience in finance in various industries and my recent experience with an international online MBA have created a strong foundation for me as a senior leader.