MBA Stories part 20: Martina Petkova

Martina Petkova an MBA graduate from Bulgaria outlines some of the changes she has experienced in her career and lifestyle since completing her MBA studies

 The traditional view of an MBA degree guaranteeing senior positions and keys to the boardroom, has become irrelevant in today’s constantly changing world. The value of an MBA is becoming less about the degree itself than the actual skills and knowledge acquired during the programme.

A successful modern MBA graduate does not merely present his or her diploma and expect red-carpet treatment followed by a linear career path; rather, they identify and analyse patterns and have the flexibility to make strategic decisions, dictate and set trends, and take full control of the nature and direction of their own career.

An MBA is applicable to any sector, industry, organisation and even person. Regardless of your starting point, goals and aspirations, the MBA will inevitably equip you with specific skills and tools to move forward. In my view, an equally important benefit is the networking aspect, especially if the MBA programme facilitates and encourages team work. This forges strong working and personal relationships, which have great professional value due to the diversity of industries in a typical MBA cohort, but also tremendous personal value because of the strong team spirit that develops over time.

In my current organisation I have been promoted three times since I started my MBA, mainly because I felt more knowledgeable and sufficiently confident to take on decision-making responsibilities. The most significant way in which the MBA helped my career, however, was by forcing me to identify my own strengths and to evaluate them outside of the context of my organisation. As a result, I started actively setting the direction of my career and am currently taking steps to transition full-time into the non-profit sector, after becoming a member of the United Nations Association in Bulgaria a few months ago.

I regularly use specific tools and models, acquired during my MBA, to enable in-depth data analysis or to develop action plans. However, the main way in which I use the knowledge I’ve gained is through critical thinking – it has become second nature to assess a situation from a strategic standpoint and to connect the dots – even with limited information. This enhances my decision-making skills.

I thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to the many diverse aspects of the business world and learning how each of them works and relates to the others. It’s an eye-opening experience, and one that changes the way you engage with your professional life. I also loved meeting numerous bright, unique individuals from different countries and different industries, some of whom have become friends for life.

Martina completed her MBA at Henley Business School, UK.