Maria Kcomt Nakazaki is from our Full-time MBA class of 2019. Before starting the MBA she worked as Retail Commercial Manager in Real Plaza in Peru, her role was to let commercial spaces to local and international retailers in the chain of malls. We caught up with Maria as the programme comes to an end, to find out what new skills and knowledge she has taken away from her experience.
After first coming to Manchester in August 2017 to start her MBA journey, the last piece of the puzzle has been completed with her IB project and now Maria says goodbye to the Full-time MBA. We asked Maria how it feels now that she has completed the programme. “It is difficult to describe, but I am really proud and happy that I have achieved this degree, during the programme I faced difficult challenges that stretched my mind and made me grow as a person and professional. I am so grateful for the teachings the MBA gave me and I am now feeling more prepared and empowered to face different business challenges. I am also a little bit nostalgic that something that has been such a big part of my life for the last 2 years has come to an end. You get to meet people from different backgrounds and cultures that you share so many amazing experiences with, you feel like you have built a new family with your cohort.”
The last three months of the programme is the International Business Project. Maria told us how these months are the most demanding. They bid for their project in December last year at a very tense day at the Hilton hotel in Manchester City Centre. “My team won a project focused on improving Public Transportation Systems in Monterrey, Mexico. From January to March we allocated 100% of our time to the project and we travelled to Monterrey for 2 weeks in February to understand the current situation and interview the different stakeholders of the initiative, which include government bodies and NGOs.” Maria who is originally from Peru was one of the two Spanish speakers on the team. She said that with not everyone speaking Spanish it was quite a challenge, but it also motivated the others to go on and learn basic Spanish to make the fieldwork a lot easier for everyone. “The final presentation of our findings and our proposed recommendations was at the end of March, followed by the submission of the final report. The International Business project is very complex and time consuming, but it is all worth it in the end when you have a happy client and the experience is amazing.”
To celebrate the end of the MBA programme the MBA student council from the class of 2020 traditionally organise a ball for the class of 2019. This year the ball was held at the Principal hotel, with a Venetian Masquerade theme. The ball includes dinner, awards and a celebration, it is a really joyous occasion where the two classes get together and party till midnight. Maria won the citizenship award at the ball, “The MBA Citizenship award is given by Alliance Manchester Business School to three members of the graduating class who have contributed and made a positive impact on the programme, and been good ambassadors when representing AMBS externally.” She continued, “At the beginning of the programme I decided I wanted to enhance the MBA experience beyond academics, so I ran for VP Social on the student council and I was lucky enough to win this role.” To have received the MBA Citizenship award is a great achievement and your hard work is also recognised by classmates, which is humbling. “Different candidates are nominated for the award and after shortlisting to five people, the final vote is given to the cohort. I won the silver prize and couldn’t be happier about it.”
When Maria reflects on her time on the programme, we asked her to think about what has resonated with her and what she has learnt. She said, “I learnt how to work with people from different professional backgrounds and in an environment where there is no boss to moderate any conflicts. I believe we all have developed strong soft skills that are needed in business nowadays. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do an exchange programme at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai from September to December. It was here that I learnt about business in China and how and why digital transformation is taking all the headlines in the different business initiatives.” Maria also talked about the different lectures and case competitions at AMBS, highlighting how the competitions taught her how to approach case studies and consulting projects within different sectors such as healthcare, public transport, not for profit, M&A, retail and technology.
Maria might have finished the MBA programme but she is still in Manchester working on a consulting project in business and commercial strategy for MAN Energy Solutions which is a German engineering company. Maria is located in their Manchester office and working across all regions from MEN and APAC, to the America’s and Europe. She said that the day she eventually leaves Manchester she will miss the big student community. She enjoyed walking along Oxford Road towards AMBS and being surrounded by students from all over the world from PhDs to Undergraduates, for Maria this was the magic of the city.