Charlotte’ story: from Lawyer to Managing director

03 June 2022

Charlotte Röber initially trained to be a lawyer. But rather than go into practice, she decided to take a different path – and started working at construction trade association, the EPPA. After five years, she was offered the role of MD. And this led her to Vlerick and the Online MBA.

“My legal background was useful,” Charlotte says. “But as MD, I needed to know how businesses operate and understand a company’s motivations. I needed the whole picture.

“I knew an MBA was the right next step – and it had to be online. I had just taken on my full-time role and had two children, so being away on weekends wasn’t an option. I needed a programme I could do outside of office hours and from home.”

After a lot of research, Charlotte decided Vlerick was the right fit for her.

She says: “It was important for me to study in English, the programme had to be affordable and it had to rank highly. The content of the Vlerick programme appealed as it was the complete business overview I wanted – everything was relevant. In the end I had two programmes to choose between – Vlerick’s was more modern and digitised so I decided to go for it.”


Leaping into a new way of learning

Charlotte started her MBA in September 2019 – and right from the beginning, she was impressed with the Vlerick approach.

“At first I was worried about how I would adapt to distance learning,” she says. “But the onboarding process was great – I was surprised by how detailed it was. I filled out a profile and made a video introducing myself, then watched the videos my peers made. It’s a great way to get to know people.

“We started with the leadership course which was highly interactive – I felt like I got straight into the process and way of working immediately.”

Growing her network, virtually

Working with peers has been a highlight for Charlotte. She says: “The course group is very diverse – there are people from different countries and a wide range of industries and roles. It’s a great learning opportunity too. You can learn so much from your peers – they are in a similar position to you, so if they share an experience and how they overcame a challenge, you realise you can do it too.

“And Vlerick makes a real effort to connect people through events, webinars and quizzes. You get to know your peers outside the virtual classroom.

“The fact that you’re all in different time zones doesn’t matter – it’s about mindset. People are motivated – we all have the same 24 hours but for everyone the MBA is a priority. Managing expectations is something that happens early on. You need to plan and be clear about your limits and find common times that work for everyone. It’s about getting the balance right.”

Another element Charlotte has enjoyed has been the hands-on projects. “One that stands out for me was the entrepreneurship course – you come together as a team to create a business idea and develop a business plan,” she says. “It was the most intense eight weeks, but you really do produce something real and concrete at the end. It was a whole new experience for me – before Vlerick, I wouldn’t have even known where to start with creating a business, but now I know how to go about it.”

Opening doors to new possibilities

Charlotte started the MBA to get the skills she needed to thrive in her current role – but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t given her food for thought for the future. She says: “I didn’t do this to change career – but the MBA has widened my horizons. For example, learning about entrepreneurship has been inspiring. There are lots of opportunities out there. I now think I would like to work in a corporation in the future, so I can see some of the management frameworks and structures we’ve studied in action. I never would have considered that kind of role before the MBA.”

Charlotte is hoping to graduate next summer – and is looking forward to the rest of the programme. She says: “I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I was surprised at the effort the Vlerick team puts into making it such an enjoyable journey. In particular Susanne de Laat, the programme manager. She is a constant presence from the first day to the last, and is the personification of Vlerick for everyone on the OMBA. You can always turn to her for support.

“I feel like the programme has challenged me more than I thought it would – but I enjoy the challenge. I know the MBA won’t just be another line on my CV. By the end I really will have learned a lot.”