A background in digital business
I grew up in Indonesia and ran a business that made and sold sustainable footwear both at home and to neighbouring countries. This involved developing my own digital skills – through books at first! – and learning how to build a successful business online. It stood me in good stead, and I was eventually able to sell the business and move to Denmark for a position with Trustpilot, which was a digital startup back then. There, I looked at online ranking and reviews and managing digital products, and this gave me the skills to progress to a job with VELUX.
I started out as digital analyst, before becoming a digital business manager, and later a pricing consultant working on online trade terms and conditions. These roles led me to my current job as a consultant to the CEO, which gives me a broader understanding of the business. It was a good move for me, and it was one that was brought about by my MBA courses; they enriched my knowledge as I moved from technical to strategic roles. For me, the digital side of things and ‘e-business’ is just business and it was important to me to extend what I had learnt already into other departments (and vice versa). Technical skill can have a big influence on commercial objectives and this will be increasingly relevant in years to come.
It was tough juggling my day job with my studies, but I had to prioritise the MBA above pretty much everything else in my life. It was a trade-off that I was prepared to make, and I made sure that everyone in my social and family groups were aware of what was happening. I couldn’t do it without them, and I needed their support and understanding while I was working hard on the course.
I enjoyed coming onto campus and talking with my classmates and sharing experiences with them. They challenged me in so many areas of business and forced me to reconsider what we were doing and why. I was the youngest in my class and the learning curve was very steep for me, but it was a positive dynamic and everyone had their chance to shine. The older students would tend to have more to say about subjects such as financial strategy, while the younger ones would be more vocal about marketing or digital. I learned so much.
Through my MBA, I realise that I learned more about my company and myself in the past two years than in previous five years with the company. It’s delivered a much better outcome for both me and VELUX and I have a deep understanding of the different areas of the business, how they all fit together and the challenges they face.
The course forced me to compile functional case studies and to reach out to various departments – from production to finance – for data and information that could support my work and studies. In fact, in my final thesis I wrote about offsite manufacturing. I presented it to the management group and it has had an influence on the way we consider opportunities for the coming decade.
A brighter future
That’s just one example of the difference the MBA has made on my day-to-day job and the influence it’s had on my career with VELUX. I’m looking forward to what happens next.