Why doing an EMBA is more important now than ever
In these unprecedented times, incoming Hult EMBA student, Efthymios Charisis believes we must really think outside of the box to come up with original solutions.
My plans vs. life’s plans
When I left my hometown in Greece at 18 to pursue my studies in the UK, I could not imagine the trajectory that my life would take: I had a plan of what I wanted to do and was determined to succeed in it. But no one knows what life will throw at them along the way that may impact their dreams and aspirations, for better or for worse.
Before completing my bachelors in civil engineering, I already knew that I wanted to further my knowledge and acquire new skills by doing a masters degree, but I was undecided on what subject I wanted to study. This dilemma came around the time of the Greek sovereign debt crisis in 2010, stemming, in part, from the global financial crisis two years earlier. The aftermath of this period for a young Greek who was fresh out of university was very challenging and pessimistic, both on a financial and career prospect level.
This was the first major period of adversity for me. For months I kept thinking, “what opportunities do I have amid all this uncertainty and volatility? How can I make the most of them?”.
No one knows what life will throw at them along the way that may impact their dreams and aspirations, for better or for worse.
Taking a new path
After several conversations with my family and university faculty, I decided to do a masters in railway systems engineering—a subject slightly off the beaten path and not the first choice among my peers. I had developed a strong interest and passion in the subject during my bachelors degree and, through my own research, came to realize there was a gap in the market for specialists in this field. I was delighted when I received a job offer to join Transport for London before I’d even completed my degree. I knew that my decision to study for a masters degree had paid off.
Is this it?
During the first six years of my career, I was privileged to be involved in, and lead on, a diverse project portfolio, alongside the management of operations within my organisation. I cultivated relationships, gained new skills, and enhanced the ones I already had. Things were going well, but not well enough. It started to dawn on me that there was more I wanted to professionally achieve, and for that, I had to make some changes.
EMBA—the next chapter?
Around this time, I began to think about doing an EMBA. I knew I wanted to steer my career towards a more strategic role, so I needed to gain a deeper understanding of business and finance principles to be able to apply these competently.
Over the last two years, I spent a lot of time attending university open days and virtual events and speaking to many EMBA graduates from different universities around the UK to prepare myself and select the course most suited to my goals. Despite all this research and interaction, for a while I was still not sure when the right moment would be to begin a journey like this. Until recently, that is.
I wanted to steer my career towards a more strategic role, so I needed to gain a deeper understanding of business and finance principles to be able to apply these competently.
Life strikes again
The second biggest period of adversity in my career, and most likely other peoples’ careers, has been unraveling over the past few months with the pandemic—an unprecedented time for our generation.
The tragic loss of lives around the world, as well as the projected economic aftermath of this crisis—assessed by many to be worse than the 2008 collapse—paints a very grim picture for the years to come and alters our perception of what “normality” will be in the future.
On a personal level, I consider myself lucky that my nearest and dearest remained safe and healthy during this time. Unfortunately, this was not the case from a work standpoint, as transport was one of the most heavily hit sectors.
Rebuilding my future, my way
While on furlough, the stress caused by the uncertainty led me to ask questions such as: what does the future hold? How and when will I get back to work? How big is the risk of losing my job after this, due to my company’s financial state?
I knew I had to remain mentally strong and not let these thoughts distract me from my objectives. It was then that I decided to finalize my EMBA application, which led to an offer from Hult to begin my studies this September at the London campus.
From my conversations with Hult alumni and faculty, it became apparent that some of the biggest takeaways from such a degree coincide with the tools needed for the current state of global affairs. The program is designed to help students discover and harness the creativity within them; become more resilient individuals, manage change better in their lives, and become aware of windows of opportunity and how to utilize them. If such traits and skills were valuable for a professional to attain before the pandemic, they are especially invaluable now and I’m looking forward to further developing and harnessing these come September.
The program is designed to help students discover and harness the creativity within them; become more resilient individuals, manage change better in their lives, and become aware of windows of opportunity and how to utilize them.
Now is the best time to go back to school and get ready for what is coming.
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