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On 23 January 2019, at the BSM – Pompeu Fabra University event for future MSc students, we had the pleasure of listening to Lisa Kofler, a former MSc in Management student who decided to share with us the main steps in her journey towards a successful career.
Lisa is currently a Business Development Manager for PTC, a global software and services company that helps other companies reinvent the way they design, manufacture, operate, and service things in and for a smart, connected world. Lisa’s mission is to grow PTC’s Cloud hosted and managed IoT (Internet of Things) and Augmented Reality business on a worldwide spectrum.
Lisa comes from a very small town in Austria, which she defines as very stereotypical, the classic picture of an Austrian village: lots of greenery, farms and friendly people. In order to pursue her university degree, she had to move to Vienna to study at one of the most prestigious economic and business schools in the country, where she successfully graduated with a Degree in Business Administration, specialising in Small Business Management, Entrepreneurship and Supply Chain Management.
At that stage in her life, she felt the need to broaden her horizons and join a graduate program abroad. She had two destinations in mind: England or Barcelona. One of the top choices in Barcelona was BSM. “Being accepted on the MSc program here was one of the best things that happened to me,” Lisa said.
When we asked her how the master’s program helped her achieve her career goals, she was very open and transparent about it because, besides stressing the key strengths of the MSc in Management, she also mentioned some very interesting aspects. In particular, Lisa said that she had the chance to improve and refine her analytical and technical skills, developing a structural approach to problem-solving that is very much in demand in today’s business world.
Furthermore, through courses such as Organisational Behaviour she learned how to see the bigger picture: the importance of culture within a company and how to deal effectively with personality and cultural differences to achieve a desired outcome. She had already learned how to do this first-hand when studying for the MSc in Management because she had to work extensively with people from different backgrounds with different customs and attitudes.
She was also very grateful to the efforts of the Careers Service because, through sessions such as the one focused on Personal Branding dedicated to improving your LinkedIn profile, she made herself more attractive and visible to the business environment. In fact, she got in touch with her current employee through LinkedIn and she realised that a career in innovation technology would be the next step to take.
Once she entered this new technological world, she realised how important her graduate journey at BSM was. Analytical skills form the basis of a technology-oriented business world. By analytical, she did not just mean learning the maths, but also being able to understand what is happening around you by looking at numbers, graphs and technical reports. This is key, especially when you are called on to make informed decisions at managerial level. Nowadays big data and data analysis are very common concepts and in the case of Lisa even her title refers to analytical skills. In order to grow the attachment rate in something, you need to know what a rate is, how it is computed, read graphs and charts showing how the rate is evolving over time and, most importantly, be able to summarize it and interpret it for managerial purposes.
Multiculturalism is at the heart of BSM as an institution. Barcelona is one of the most diverse and vibrant cities in Europe. News articles have even described the city as the Silicon Valley of Europe. Being able to engage, cooperate and even lead teams made up of different people with different behaviours and different backgrounds towards a common goal was something that Lisa managed to bring from the classroom directly to her workplace: “Understanding the different cultures and customs helped me as much as the analytical skills learned in classroom to grow professionally”.
Being curious is probably something that most people take for granted when entering a competitive master’s program. However, participating in all possible career events and sessions, engaging with faculties, revealing your career interests and being proactive in exploring the many advantages that living in a city like Barcelona can give you made all the difference in Lisa’s career. Being flexible and agile are skills very much valued in a dynamic business environment, and these skills can only be learned if you are curious about everything that there is around you.