My name is Jennifer Jansen van Rensburg, I attended a Global MBA in Design, Fashion and Luxury Goods and I like to consider myself a global citizen – living in other countries and experiencing local cultures is a great privilege.
BBS and Bologna have being an important chapter in my life: I decided to pursue my MBA first and foremost because I had noticed a lack of female leadership at top management level. One of the ways to address this is to have more women attending Business Schools and to feed into industry. So, I decided to follow my passion and admiration craftsmanship and Luxury Goods felt like a natural fit. I also knew I wanted to learn from the best, which for me meant a French or Italian school. After reading the impressive BBS Faculty of teachers from leading brands with amazing industry experience, I was sure this would be the right school for me. And so it was!
For prospective students reading this, I am certain it may sound a little cliché but my year in Bologna, the year of studying at BBS and the people I met there has really changed my life and who I am as a person today. I will forever remember my time there with great happiness and pride. For this reason, it is difficult to pinpoint just one experience as a main highlight; for me it was really more about discovering what I am capable of and being encouraged to push my limits. You will probably never be as mentally engaged within such an intense period as you will during your MBA. It is demanding, challenging, and deeply rewarding at the same time.
Since leaving BBS, I have moved to Dubai where I work for Bvlgari Middle East & Africa on the Marketing Team – currently as Trade Marketing Manager for the region. Of course, living in Italy (the birth country of Bvlgari) and having studied luxury goods set me on a good course for my current role. However, I would have to say that it is really more the soft skills I was able to develop or work on during the MBA that have been the most useful. Problem solving, working with others, and even learning how to manage disagreements are all vital to enjoying a long career in business.
And so what advice could I share with the next generation of BBS MBA students? To be honest, I will recycle some wise words from my own mentor who was (and still is) fundamental in my professional growth, which is “Be persistent and be patient”. Seems contradictory but really it’s not! Always be true to yourself, you alone have to be the champion for your goals so don’t give up. However, a career is a marathon not a sprint. Set goals but manage expectations.
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