Strategy & Leadership

"I learned how to face conflict"

September 29, 2015

In three years’ time MBA alumnus Jose Alberto Arias was promoted from pricing specialist to pricing manager, reporting to the global office of Nike. He says the TIAS MBA really helped him to develop the soft skills and the theoretical knowledge to achieve this.

Working for a bigger company and in another industry. Two objectives Jose Alberto Arias had when he chose an MBA. “For several years I was working in Finance. I started in Investment Banking after finishing my engineering degree. With a broad understanding of the business and knowledge about strategy, marketing and economics, I thought it would be easier to make the switch”, says the MBA alumnus. After Jose finished the MBA in 2012, he started working at Nike. In three years he had three different roles. In his last position he is responsible for the pricing strategy in Central and Eastern Europe and reports to the Global Office. “Nike is a great company to work for. It allows you to move frequently if you’re doing a good job.”

Jose did his management project at Nike. “I used the alumni network of TIAS to find a project. One of the TIAS alumni, working at Nike, posted the project on the website, I applied and did my management project there. I advise MBA students to search for a project at a company they want to work for. There is a good chance that you can start working at the company after finishing the project.” The management project of Jose received several awards within Nike.

Well-balanced program

Jose looked at several MBA programs before choosing the MBA at TIAS. “I already had a college degree of a university in Mexico. The program at TIAS takes one year, all US-based MBA’s take two years. Besides the program of TIAS was well-balanced in theory and practice. You learn also the soft-skills like presentation skills or organizational behavior.”

Especially the multicultural environment was a selling point for the MBA alumnus. “The more diverse the class, the more you can learn. My colleague participants came from all over the globe. That was an amazing experience.” The lessons Jose learned during the MBA about working with different cultures, he now can use in his work at Nike. “Not only during the lessons, but with most of my teammates I was living in the same building. I learned how to face conflict. Not in a bad way, but in a way you need it to make good decisions. For example, I learned that the Asian culture tries to avoid conflicts. I now know how to deal with this situation and still make progress in the decision process.”

For Jose the MBA was a starting point to become a business leader. “I have three important priorities to be successful. I always make sure I achieve all the business goals, I focus on tailoring my communication to different audiences, and finally I ensure I work as a team in every project I have.  The TIAS MBA program really gave the bases for all those priorities. The MBA gave the theory to help me solve business problems and develop the soft skills to work as a team and to be influential.”

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