1. What motivated you to take a course abroad? How did you learn about IBS Americas?
My motivation came from my desire to work at more multicultural, diverse and global organizations. This desire emerged more strongly in 2019, when I, after having been working in the Brazilian market for many years, felt this need to “win the world”, in the sense of knowing markets and companies operating in other countries.
From there, I started thinking about strategies that could help me get closer and closer to this goal of designing a more global career. Participating in an international executive program, particularly in the United States because it was an opportunity to practice my English and because it was a country I had not yet visited, was one of the strategies I listed. I started looking for institutions that could support me to fulfill this desire to study in the United States, taking into account factors such as reference in the market, student testimony and cost-benefit ratio. That’s how I chose IBS Americas.
2. How did you choose the course and the university? What factors contributed to your decision?
The theme of the course itself was the main point in my decision to choose CSUN, and this factor was even more decisive when, in my research, I saw that CSUN was a university that stood out in the country on the Technology and Business fronts. And I wanted an immersion at a university, in an executive program, that would allow me to see exactly that: the disruption of technology in business and the human fact in that context. That’s why I chose the Leadership in an Age of Disruption course.
3. What were the main challenges you faced being in another country, with another language and colleagues of different nationalities?
I would not say that I faced challenges, in the sense of dealing with situations so unfamiliar as to be laborious or difficult, but, in fact, cultural diversity is an aspect that is very noticeable from the first moment you arrive in another country and start a course with colleagues who speak another language and who come from different parts of the world.
And it was extremely enriching to study with professionals from countries such as Indonesia, the Czech Republic, and Mexico, for example. I felt that the cultural differences and the professional baggage of each one transformed us into a group even more committed to our education during the course, even more cohesive, because the exchanges were very rich. I am sure that everyone who participated in my class would be unanimous in agreeing with this impression of mine. We learned a lot together.
4. What about the routine, how did you organize studying and enjoying your free time? What did you do during those times?
Currently, I work at a 100% remote company and I was able to negotiate with the company a part-time workday while I was away, taking the course. That way, I’d take classes in the morning and work in the afternoon. During the week, in the evening, I devoted myself to studies and preparation for classes the next day. I reserved my free time for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, which was when I would take advantage of the opportunity to visit various tourist attractions, and I always went on these trips with my classmates! Together, we went to several sights in Los Angeles (Venice, Santa Barbara Pier, Hollywood Sign, Universal and Warner parks and studios) and also in neighboring states. One weekend, for example, we went to Las Vegas to celebrate my birthday!
5. How were the experiences of lectures and/or visits to companies?
The lectures were very enriching too and even more interesting was that these experiences explored aspects that we students were seeing in the courses. Considering these experiences, I really enjoyed Kimberly Hicks’ lecture, which took us behind the scenes of the work of launching a new Disney channel (from the problem situation, market and consumer profile analysis, to leadership, team engagement and design thinking strategies for building solutions), and Kaori Yamada, SVP, Financial Education Strategy, at US Bank. Kaori’s professional trajectory made me reflect on how often we give up applying for certain positions in the market because we think we are not prepared when, in fact, we should be pursuing our dreams, because, sometimes, what the people behind the vacancies are hoping to find are courageous professionals, with high capacity to adapt and transform realities.
6. Were you able to network during the course? Could you share some interesting experiences?
I think networking was the most interesting part of the course. During classes, I was able to relate to very qualified professionals in Brazil and other countries, such as consultants, entrepreneurs, and professionals who work in strategic positions in large companies in the market. These people made very significant contributions during classes, in moments of discussion. I also learned a lot from colleagues who were completing or had just completed undergraduate courses. It was very valuable to see how they can oxygenate a discussion, with new points of view.
And the most impressive thing for me was to be in front of such experienced professors in the market. Professor Tom White, who made my jaw drop when he told me that he participated in the project to create the first Self-Service equipment in the banking system; Professor Brian Frankel, a real businessman, with a persuasion skill that was able to take me out of my comfort zone, and Professor Smita, who also left me jaw-dropped when he told me that he participated in the project to create the first personal email boxes. It was one surprise after another!
7. What were the key skills you developed during the course?
Confidence and positioning. For me, these were the main skills I worked on in this experience, starting with Professor Tom White’s class. In just three days, this professor managed to turn our class from water to wine: from professionals who were not yet clear about what they wanted, to leaders with a trained pitch and sure of our ability to transform!
8. How do you think this international experience will contribute to your career?
It is without a shadow of a doubt an experience that opens the eyes and provokes anyone to leave the comfort zone. More recent reports on the profile of today’s and tomorrow’s professionals from companies such as Deloitte and Gallup, for example, make it clear that one of the main skills of this new era is the ability to adapt, and international experiences contribute greatly to the formation of this skill. I had to organize a lot to live this experience, and it was very worth it.
9. What message would you leave for other students and professionals who wish to take a course abroad with IBS Americas?
Make your investment in your training worthwhile, taking all the benefit you can by living an opportunity like this, and share what you have learned in order to make this knowledge multiply. I enjoyed every moment: the university, the professors, the classes, the networking, the tours, and sharing what I learned. You will come back energized, with your head bubbling with ideas and with a very great desire to be an agent of change!