Achievement doesn’t come easy
by Elya Tleuzhanova
I am glad I had persevered with my MBA qualification because it helped me a lot in gaining confidence I needed to start my own business. Having this qualification equipped me with the necessary knowledge to start my own business. It gave me tools and framework, allowed me to see business from different perspectives and clearly drove entrepreneurial side of me.
If I could go back in time, I would probably apply for MBA earlier and complete it within 2.5 years that I originally planed to do.
I wouldn’t have imagined how hard, challenging and fun at the same time the MBA course would be. Only after completing it and looking back now, I am missing it so much. It totally over exceeded my expectations and I am happy for this accomplishment.
Choosing a qualification
I have chosen MBA because I wanted to get broad view of every aspect of business instead of specializing in one particular area. I chose MBA particularly because I could apply this qualification and what I learned in my own business.
My biggest consideration was whether I am able to cope with it as I didn’t have a Bachelor degree prior to the MBA, as other students do.
In terms of choosing the provider, I have visited couple of local universities and colleges and was not impressed with the quality and professionalism for their MBA degree. Strathclyde on the other hand, was proving to be the best choice at that time due to their long presence in Malaysia, highly qualified and experienced teachers from Scotland who flew down to KL for all important modules and it is one of the few schools in the world who has achieve triple accreditation AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS.
There are a lot of institutions in Kuala Lumpur whose MBA course would be much easier, less challenging and even some do not require individual Thesis work, one can simply do a project work and obtain a qualification. I have chosen Strathclyde, as it is one of the few institutions with high standards and getting MBA from this institution would mean that you have put a lot of efforts into it.
Starting the course
I started considering MBA after 10 years of work experience. It was right time then as I was exposed to different industries, businesses and even worked in different continents of the world.
This has been advantageous to see different perspectives in each subject I covered in my MBA. Getting myself back to study mode was easier than I thought it would be. As a person who enjoys challenges I took it as a challenge and persevered all the way to prove myself that I can do.
Mode of study
I chose to study MBA part time instead of full time. While on my MBA, I came across an opportunity to start my current business and went on with it.
I have chosen to study part time, as I wanted to apply what I learn in the actual business instead of doing full theory course. Its like when you go for cooking class would you rather do hands on class or just learn the theory and go back home to try it. I am sure one will choose hands on, experiential course where you have opportunity of doing what you are learning.
As many would know, MBA covers almost all aspects of business. However, in my opinion MBA is valuable not only for the theoretical knowledge which one can obtain without doing a degree but its valuable for the team work, for bringing together students of different fields of work and letting them work out their way, its about learning to work with people of different background towards a common goal.
The best bits – The best part of my MBA were my classmates. I loved the teamwork and group exercises, the soft skills that I have acquired through this MBA are coming to an agreement with people of diverse views.
It was challenging but was most memorable now as we look back. The long hours of discussions, sometimes group meeting would drag until 2-3am in the morning, and next day all of us going to work.
At times we had disagreements within the small groups, which we needed to solve before we could complete the assignments. However, now after completion, we are all friends, as we had overcome a challenge together and it made as stronger than we used to be. We meet once in a while and go out together and update each other on our life after MBA.
My work – I work for my own company Eurasia Trading. As the name suggests, the company imports goods from Eurasia region into Malaysia. Our key products are Georgian wines and Russian sturgeon caviar. However in the nearest future we will be expanding and adding other famous wines to the list. My role is the planning and execution of the company’s strategy.
Looking ahead/Life after the course – Looking ahead, my goal is to bring this company to self-sustainable mode and achieve at least 1 million MYR revenue a year, expand into other south east Asian countries with the current product portfolio.
While on my MBA I actually started 2 businesses, first one failed right away. After less than a year I started my current business (wine import). Then, right after I completed all exams and assignments and before starting my thesis work I got pregnant. While pregnant I pushed myself really hard to complete my thesis, as it was the first year of running this business a lot of things was happening and I needed to learn about the business, to learn about wine market, how things work in Malaysia and adjust my business model to it.
So I couldn’t proceed with thesis and asked for 1-year extension. The extension was granted and when my boy was 6 months old I started back my thesis work. Again, right after the maternity and getting back to business whereby I need to focus on driving sales and have no time to focus on writing my dissertation. I had to produce 200-300 words every day to keep myself moving to the end goal. Every day I wrote just enough to consider the small goal is done.
I thought I would never complete this work on my own. It was really hard and I was on the verge of giving up. Thank God I didn’t give up despite all the challenges. Now looking back, it was the best thing that happened to me that year. Achievement doesn’t come easy but when you finally do it, there are no words to express the happiness. I hope this story will inspire readers and people who are considering their postgraduate studies.
Name: Elya Tleuzhanova
Qualifications: MBA, University of Strathclyde, 2017
Job title: Director
Employer: Eurasia Trading Sdn Bhd
Location: Kuala Lumpur
Has been with this company for: 3 years