A Homage to my Fellow (Female) EMBA Students

Blog August 2023
To all the women (and of course everyone) out there: Many more reasons to join the EMBA program at Rochester Bern. Or: A homage to my fellow female students

(Picture from left to right: Martine Jaquet, Zerrin Koca, Tamara Gyr-Brun, Stefanie Widmer and Mirjam Weber)

A big milestone of our EMBA has been reached: The first part with a focus on finance is done. After seven completed modules, several team and individual assignments, mid-term and final exams, we have all earned a few weeks of holiday before heading to Rochester at the end of August. Those who know my blog know how I felt at the beginning of my studies and how much I appreciate the many new contacts I have made. Today I would like to introduce four people from this class. The choice was not difficult for me – although every single fellow student could of course give interesting insights into their everyday working life, their motivation to complete this EMBA and their professional experiences, I would like to give this stage to the four women who are studying with me in the 29th EMBA class. You read correctly – there are five women in this class out of a total of 23 students – this  corresponds to the average proportion of women in recent years. It has never been higher. I don’t want to hypothesise why this is the case, and I don’t want to make flaming speeches about how more women should take this (honestly very intensive, very financially heavy, but also very great) EMBA. I simply want to dedicate this blog to you, dear Stefanie, Martine, Zerrin and Tamara! So, I interviewed all of them about their motivation and their highlights so far in the RoBe EMBA.

Different Personalities – Different Motives

All of them highlighted how great the class was and the high quality of speakers, from the guest lecturers to the professors. Stefanie Widmer, Head of Risk Governance & Reporting, CIO at UBS Switzerland AG liked the interesting case studies and that she got the possibility to discover new perspectives of how to look at specific topics. She chose this program to broaden her horizons and also because of the dual degree from both the United States and Switzerland. Martine Jaquet also works at UBS Switzerland AG. She’s the Director of Executives & Entrepreneurs. She really loves the quality of the content so far, especially highlighting that it is very reality oriented. Martine promised herself that she would continue her education when she finished her previous studies. This EMBA turned out to be the most logical choice. Indeed, it helps her to improve her qualities in terms of management but also to improve the quality of support that she can give her clients who are entrepreneurs. Zerrin Koca, our IT-Lady, is Lead Service Delivery Manager at Account Management of T-Systems. Her favourite modules so far are Valuation and Managerial Decision Analysis. When I asked her why she choose to do this EMBA, she said “I currently have a broad experience in IT and also lead IT organisations through transformation. The reason I choose this EMBA is to upskill in preparation for a new role in General Management.” Zerrin also chose this program because of its international focus and because the extensive learning content gives you the necessary tools in the right scope and depth in a remarkably short time. Last but not least there is Tamara Gyr-Brun. She works at Roche Diagnostics in the position of eSystems Business Manager. “Surprisingly, I found myself genuinely enjoying the deep dive into the financial world, and it is bittersweet to realize that this phase of my journey has come to an end already!” she told me. She is proud to have conquered the finance part of the MBA, which seemed quite intimidating to her at the beginning. The knowledge she gained has given her the confidence to navigate more complex financial decisions, whether it’s corporate financial planning, applying statistical methods for business forecasting, performing project and company valuations or simply managing personal investments. She chose the program to advance her career and to gain confidence in handling more complex financial topics.

I really enjoy studying with those four intelligent and experienced women. Each one of them adds a special colour to our class. Stefanie, who undoubtedly brings elegance to the group picture and can offer countless healthy snack variations from her Mary Poppins bag. Tamara, who is always friendly and attentive and gives the world her smile – whether early in the morning or after 8 hours of corporate financial policy. Martine, who rarely says anything in class, but when she does, it is 100% correct (she’s our secret super-brain) and is my chance to speak French again in addition to all the English. And finally Zerrin, without whom we would laugh much less and who contributes to the class climate with her helpful and caring manner and high party-potential.

Advice for Business-Women Leaders

What is your advice to all the business-women leaders out there? Was my last question to them and this is what they had to say;“Take on a challenge, trust your instincts and always believe in yourself” Stefanie resumed. Zerrins recommendation is that women should stand up for themselves and not waste energy trying to fit into a perceived mould. She shared the experience that as a woman in a male-dominated work environment, it can be challenging for some women to stand out. In the past, she has observed that some women try to bend themselves to get ahead in such an environment. “Be brave and have confidence in your abilities.” Is her encouragement to all the women out there. Tamara’s advice is, not to be afraid to delve into the world of finance, as it is not as complex as it may seem. “Understanding financial concepts can empower you with valuable knowledge that offers numerous benefits for both your professional and personal life.” The advice I personally loved came from Martine. It goes out to every individual out there: “Just have FUN ! If you have fun in what you do, you’ll never work a single day of your life!” This experience is 100% true for me personally. I look forward to going to work at the Swiss Cancer League every day – because besides finding a lot of meaningfulness, I am also lucky enough to work with passionate colleagues. And I look forward to every RoBe weekend – because in addition to a lot of work, we also experience a lot of FUN together. Thank you to all of you, ladies. I’m looking forward to our month in Rochester!