Moving to a new country can come with its challenges.
And those challenges can multiply when you don’t have an established professional opportunity waiting for you on arrival. So says Ksenia Oreshkova. And she should know. Today Ksenia is Marketing Manager with Belgian 3-D printing and software solutions multinational, Materialise. But her professional journey since leaving her native Russia hasn’t been without its hurdles.
“Arriving in Belgium I connected with headhunters and applied for a significant number of roles, but I persistently failed to make it to interview. There comes a time that with the best will in the world, and with experience and qualifications to match, you keep hitting a closed door.”
Ksenia and her husband, Sergey, came to Belgium in 2014. Sergey had been offered a great new role at his company’s headquarters in Leuven. For the family, the opportunity was too good to turn down. But for Ksenia, personally, it meant making an important sacrifice.
“Moving itself was straightforward. My husband had an exciting new position and our child settled into the new environment quickly. But I’d had to leave my dream job back in Moscow at one of the world’s top creative agencies – a job I had literally dreamt of since my university days. So for me it was tough.”
And things only got tougher, at first.
Having enjoyed a challenging and fulfilling career in Russia, Ksenia wasn’t willing to compromise on the kinds of professional opportunities available to her in Belgium. But a fruitless six-month search for the right role left her feeling invisible.
“It was a painful process for me. I’d gone from being at the top of my game to feeling like I simply didn’t exist. After six months, I realised that something had to change.”
A passionate learner, Ksenia decided it was time to head back to school and upgrade her knowledge and her professional skills if she was going to make her mark in her family’s new home country.
And this was the decision that led her to the Vlerick Executive MBA.
“I considered short courses, focused on marketing, but I quickly realised that an MBA afforded me the chance to broaden my skills set and open myself up to all kinds of different possibilities. With Vlerick there was an immediate connection. There was a personal touch. From the very first contact through to completing the MBA, I felt welcomed, valued and understood.”
The Executive MBA experience gave Ksenia a rounder, more comprehensive understanding of business, joining the dots between different concepts, areas and roles and exposing her to the principles of general management and leadership. It also gave her a renewed sense of personal confidence and a compass for her professional choices and trajectory.
“I came out of Vlerick with my self-esteem entirely rebuilt. Part of the EMBA experience is discovering that you too are someone that other people can learn from, and that you have a great deal to offer both personally and professionally. You emerge with a strong sense of the possibilities open to you in different domains. And a much clearer sense not only of where you want to go, but how to get there.”
This confidence, together with the Vlerick seal on her CV, quickly translated into a flurry of professional activity – interest from recruiters, headhunters and leading employers. A scenario very different from her early days looking for job opportunities in 2014.
“I found myself going from one interview to another. It couldn’t have been more different from my experience before the MBA. For the first time, I felt able to choose the kinds of company I wanted to work for. Materialise happened to be the perfect fit.”
The Vlerick Executive MBA was a critical stepping stone to launching a career in Belgium that promises to be just as rewarding and exciting as the career Ksenia had to leave behind when she came to Belgium. She sees it is a perfect solution for people who, like her, find themselves in a new situation and need to update their skills and knowledge to explore new options.
“The MBA is transformative. It’s an ideal experience for people who need to find themselves, or who need to expand their horizons. For me as an ex-pat and a woman following her husband’s career, it was the perfect opportunity to upgrade my skills and recharge my self-confidence. It delivers on every level – the curriculum, the leadership development, the exposure to new domains and that all-important network,” she says.
“Thanks to Vlerick, the future is looking very bright.”