Current MBA student, Viktoria Elizabeth reflects on how the program is helping her adapt to shifts in her career and personal development.
In a disruptive economy, there’s no doubt that careers are continuously evolving. Having a dynamic skill set has never been more important. We sat down with Viktoria Elizabeth to discuss her evolving career and the MBA program.
What did you do before coming to Autralia?
I was born in Hungary and my family immigrated to Luxembourg when I was a child. It wasn’t a given for me to go to university, let alone university abroad. I planned on becoming an interpreter at the UN or the EU institutions. I completed my undergraduate degree in Paris and did an exchange year at the University of Queensland.
Out of curiosity, I wanted to explore a completely different industry before settling in my planned profession. I did an internship in retail banking at ING Luxembourg and ended up staying for seven years. I worked in several different areas, such as account management, business development, credit risk management and product development. This was an incredibly valuable experience and made me realise that what I really wanted to do was to develop products that address the unfulfilled needs of society. That’s why I quit my job and enrolled in the MBA program.
What have been some of the challenges or lessons you’ve learnt from studying internationally, in Paris and now Sydney?
It can be quite daunting to start all over again, to build a new social circle and a professional network. At the same time, these experiences immensely helped my personal development. They made me more resilient, self-aware and a better communicator. Ultimately, they were crucial in enabling me to succeed in my career.
How has speaking five languages helped you to get to where you are today?
Working in Luxembourg is unique because it has three official languages, and a population comprising of 50 percent foreign nationals. I used all of my languages to communicate with clients, who appreciated being able to use their mother tongue, especially when it concerned financial matters.
Additionally, having an international experience and understanding of cultural differences has been helpful when establishing trust and building relationships.
What has been your most memorable experience of the MBA so far?
The experience as a whole has been extraordinary. The program has given me new perspectives and challenged my way of thinking. I am becoming a more integrated decision-maker and creative problem-solver.
The cohort has also played an essential part in making the MBA such an enriching experience. My fellow class members are all very accomplished. I have learned a lot from being able to collaborate with people from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. I feel lucky to have made friends for life.
How do you define success?
Success for me is combining personal and professional fulfilment. The expression ‘work to live, not live to work’ implies having to make a choice between commitment to work or life. I am striving to integrate both and believe that they reinforce each other, leading to more successful outcomes on both ends.
Opportunities don’t happen, you have to create them. For me, this meant leaving my comfort zone – personally, professionally and financially. It involved a lot of soul-searching. I quit my job, arranged the financing and left behind a comfortable life to attempt a fresh start with an uncertain outcome.
What is next for you?
I would like to contribute to creating a sustainable future from the human, environmental and business perspective by developing strategies that build on innovative products and processes.
One industry that is particularly close to my heart is food production. This industry is being disrupted on a major scale due to climate change, depleting natural resources and changing ethical and health requirements from consumers. My vision is to leverage these challenges as an opportunity for businesses to redefine their value proposition that is aligned with environmental and human interests.