An Inside Look into IE Business School - Elisa Bellagamba
Elisa Bellagamba is a Strategic Product Manager at Ericsson (Silicon Valley) and a 2013 graduate of the IE Business School Global MBA program.
With a background in engineering and an MSc in Computer Science Engineering from Pisa University, Elisa tells SearchMBA.com about her start in her current product strategy role, her decision to take up an MBA in order to develop her business skills and where that MBA has brought her today.
December 2014’s IE Business School Woman of the Month, Elisa has translated the knowledge, skills and experiences built during her MBA into her role as Strategic Product Manager and says she gain lifelong friends and invaluable connections from the program.
Why did you chose to do an MBA?
I had just landed a job in product strategy and soon after starting, I realized that my technical skills as an engineer were not enough to excel in a product strategy role. I could create the most advanced technical architecture, but could only use my common sense to provide a business case. I had the feeling that I was missing something and that reading business articles or learning on the job from more business-oriented colleagues wasn't enough to get me what I was looking for.
What made the IE Global MBA stand out in your selection process?
When researching MBA programs, my first requirements were to find a program that was globally recognized and from a highly ranked business school, considering I was about to spend significant money and time on it. I wanted a program that was well known, up to date, and had high-quality content, faculty and networking opportunities.
My secondary requirement was that I didn't want to take a leave from my new job. Instead, I wanted to study while I worked and apply what I was learning in real time. Given my frequent business trips, I also needed something flexible - a program that would work no matter where in the world I was that week, and without the need to interrupt or miss out on lessons. I chose the IE Business School Global MBA. The program is very highly ranked in the most prestigious business journals and offers an online program that is consistently ranked as the #1 in the world.
One aspect I didn't consider before starting the program is that of interaction with my classmates and teachers. Compared to other face-to-face part-time programs, the class interaction is much more intense with the IE Global MBA because the online platform forces us to discuss and work on the projects everyday, while the professor monitors and helps us. For this reason, I would consider the IE Global MBA as a full-time program and not a part-time one - it's a full-time MBA with the benefits of a part time program, like the ability to keep one’s current job. How is it possible to fit all of that together? The keyword is: work, work, work! This is the only way to really make a jump in competence - nothing comes for free!
What have you gotten out your MBA experience?
Doing an MBA widened my perspective much more than I expected. I was right in my feelings that I needed to do something more than just read a few business articles to get where I wanted to be.
Professionally speaking, I got a Strategic Product Manager role upon graduation, where I am now responsible the profit and losses of a specific product. My role includes managing everything from technical specifications and business case to pricing, marketing, customer engagement. It's a very complete and exciting role and thanks to the experiences I got during my MBA, I am able to truly enjoy every aspect of it.
Personally speaking, I made lifelong friends and invaluable connections. It's amazing on how tight you become with your MBA classmates. As a team, we would always work to expose each other to new opportunities and were supportive of each other's successes.