Beyond jobs: The true power of an MBA

Kateryna Nadtochiy

My name is Kateryna Nadtochiy, and I come from Ukraine.  A year ago, I started my Global Online MBA journey. As I approach my final studying module and prepare for the final project, I want to reflect on the impact that my education at ESMT Berlin has had on me.  

I always aspired to pursue a pre-MBA, primarily for career advancement and to satisfy a personal desire for the validation and prestige that comes with it. In pursuit of this goal, I completed a pre-MBA program in Kyiv and earned a certificate for it.  

In the years leading up to the war, I reached a plateau and felt like I was stuck, limited by a ceiling. At the time, I thought that I was limited by the company, my position, and my profession. However, I realized I was mistaken. It wasn’t my job that held me back; it was my mindset.   

The war has significantly disrupted my life. Like a drifting piece of wood, I was swept away from my homeland to a distant shore. This situation of ambiguity surprisingly and unexpectedly opened a wide range of new doors. One of which was the doors to the ESMT Berlin campus.  

Throughout each of the program modules, I have cried, laughed, and most importantly, transformed my thinking. Undoubtedly, within those countless hours of study, I gained a knowledge of frameworks, formulas, and approaches. While this knowledge remains a valuable outcome, it is not quite as significant as the most important change I experienced.  

I embarked on a journey of profound transformation, both spiritually and intellectually. Unexpectedly, all the elements of my being merged into one cohesive and adaptable essence –     a clear and firm understanding of how to approach management, business, and most importantly life itself. Understanding that it is impossible to know everything and to excel in every aspect of business, I learned the importance of holistic development. Becoming a well-rounded and mature manager is key to navigating through the complexities of the world like a seasoned captain. 

An MBA is not just about a career trajectory, it is so much more than that.  It is about being able to see the bigger picture and assume a meta-position across diverse subjects. It’s about gaining the insight to see beyond the metaphorical ceiling that creates a sense of being “stuck”. 

My personal takeaways 

Embrace simplicity 

I removed the fuss from my working life. The principle of “less is more” is one of the principles taught in the agile course which emphasizes that diving deeper leads to more sustainable change compared to getting caught up in meeting deadlines and expectations.  

Be more concise and precise 

There is no need for long texts and presentations – it is more effective to get straight to the point. 

Embrace strategy and delegation 

When managing a team, it is more worthwhile to invest your time in strategy and vision than in tactics. On top of that, crowdsourcing ideas are precious – listening to others is more important than talking to yourself. 

Use an ethical lens  

I filter all my decisions through an ethical lens, considering the depth of my empathy. I firmly believe that a good leader or manager must understand how to effectively engage with people. This approach is a fundamental lesson I have learned at ESMT. 

Don’t be angry with “political games” – learn to play! 

I have started employing ethics and empathy as tools to strengthen my understanding of the importance of learning the existing rules and the potential of changing them. And all of this is pursued with a commitment to integrity. 

How do I foresee the impact of this mindset transformation on my life and future career? I don’t have a simple or overly optimistic answer. When confronted with ambiguity and uncertainty, we as humans seek stability while remaining adaptable. I believe these insights will help me to become a more skilled team leader, strategic manager, and resilient professional, who is capable of navigating a world full of unexpected challenges.