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ISEG MBA Alumni Interview, with Joana Ponte

 

Joana Ponte is a Digital Marketing Consultant & Teacher & Trainer and alumna of the ISEG MBA's 30th edition. In an interview to our blog, she explained what were her motivations for participating in a programme like the ISEG MBA, what impact this programme had on her professional career, and what is the importance of a programme like this for the leaders of the future.

 

At what point in your career did you decide to apply for ISEG MBA? What were your main motivations?

I was nominated Marketing Director at CTT Expresso, a Portuguese company dedicated to fast and trackable deliveries from the CTT Group, and where I had been developing my career in the Marketing team, starting as Customer Marketing Manager and moving to Marketing Manager over the previous 7, 8 years.

My last academic training had taken place in 2001, when I post-graduated in e-business, at ISEG, yet I felt eager to learn more.

I looked then at the various available options, and finally decided to apply to the ISEG MBA in 2013. I believed it would help me to consolidate my practical professional knowledge, giving me more foundations in management, finances, leadership, and strategy. It seemed a perfect match to upgrade my training.

I wanted to expand my horizons regarding my professional career while being prepared for any challenges to come.

I thought the ISEG MBA offered a very balanced knowledge approach and the trip to San Francisco was very appealing.

 

An MBA is a long and challenging programme. How was your journey in the ISEG MBA? What do you highlight the most in this journey?

I had the luck to be a part of an amazing group, the 30th Edition. We felt special, and teachers told us that we were. Therefore, our motto was the best Edition ever: the 30th!

The 18 months programme was like riding a roller-coaster. I felt stressed, and tired, happy, and learning, full of mixed feelings. The programme is quite intense, it requires time and work, not only in attendance. The working groups, and the exams also need attention. Some topics are well advanced, yet we organized studying in groups, at the ISEG library, or at some safe place, where students who were more confident in a subject would help the others who were less so.

For me, it was a big conquer to study and graduate from this programme. 

I was globally transformed, as a person, it provided me different visions of the world.

I highlight the immersive weekends we spent with the Portuguese Air Force and the Portuguese Navy and also the trip to San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

We were able to have classes at the University of San Francisco, which felt disrupting comparing to our known methods. We visited businesses, NGO´s, and attended a real “shark tank” pitch, with real investors. I remember thinking, these pitchers have ideas to sell, but we were the ones that had learned and practiced tools to pitch them, in a more effective way. 

I stress that from all I have mentioned above, the more important are the persons I met along the way, my classmates. The ISEG MBA was where our friendship began, and I feel grateful for having them as being a part of my life, since then.

 

What was the ISEG MBA’s impact on your career? And in your life?

The ISEG MBA gave me a boost of entrepreneurship and the energy to believe that it was possible to conquer new things. 

I started working with some classmates on their projects and added also more business-driving skills to my portfolio by studying Digital Marketing for Executives and Soft Skills and Personal Marketing, again at ISEG.

As time went by, I found myself collaborating with some projects and working under the umbrella of Consultant and Professional Trainer.

I was challenged to joining Sandoz, by one of my buddies of ISEG MBA, to design and implement a Customer Experience project, in which I am still involved until nowadays.

Along the way, many other projects have given me further confidence as a professional and opportunities to learn across sectors and markets, B2B and B2C – a mix I find as challenging as rewarding.

I have been working mainly on Digital Transformation projects and Digital Marketing training, helping professionals to achieve their goals by tailoring their digital professional and business profiles.

Another rewarding experience was the invite from the Portuguese Tourism, through the Hospitality and Management school in Estoril (EHTEl), to provide training in the Upgrade Digital Programme, focused on helping unemployed professionals, to find new digital skills and reinvent their brands, and brainstorming strategies adjusted to the pandemic times that we are living. 

I contribute with a course exploring Digital Marketing Best Practices and Digital Marketing Advanced – Ecommerce, Advertising, and Remarketing. My trainees attend digitally, based across our beautiful country, and some even across borders, in countries such as Belgium, England, and Cape Verde. 

 

The world in general, and the business world in particular, are contexts increasingly turbulent and uncertain. In your opinion, what is the importance of an MBA for leaders?

I think the ISEG MBA is especially important to leaders. It develops the main hard skills; at the time I was able to do many math problems by heart. It also develops soft skills, which are so important these days, I loved the theatre class!

The innovation and entrepreneurship views I contacted during the programme assured my own abilities to implement innovative ideas, but also how to answer to issues that require deep transformations, as we are learning from this recent pandemic.

I have been coming back to the ISEG MBA, now on a role - as I have been invited to give a Personal Brand and Social Networks class to later editions. As a former student, I empathize immediately with the newer students, and kept feeling connected with the programme, besides my strong links to my 30th edition class.

To conclude, for leaders it is crucial to keep building and nurturing a solid network, including classmates, professors, and business guests, relationships which often can result in friendship, and in valuable partnerships in the business sector.

 

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