Moving to Australia, Remco found whilst he had a wealth of experience, he needed formal qualifications to future-proof his career.

  • Location: New South Wales
  • Industry: Finance, Banking & Accounting
  • Job Function: Research & Development
  • Programme: MBA
  • Motivation: Relevant education for Australia
  • Challenges: Studying in another language
  • Year of Graduation: 2022

Remco, a Netherlands native, started his career in hospitality but moved to banking in search of a steady reliable lifestyle. Working for over 10 years at Dutch bank Rabobank in several different roles, his career as taken to him to his most recent role as the Loyalty Product Manager at Mastercard.

As the story of many ex-pats who find themselves in Australia goes, he moved for love. Meeting his wife in his home country, they tried to make the Netherlands their home, but found for his Australian wife, the language barrier made it difficult to find work.

Deciding to make the move to Australia, Remco started an internship at Rabobank in Sydney. On completion, he found that whilst he had solid experience under his belt, he was missing the formal education that was required for a lot of roles in Australia and it was holding him back. This is when he decided to lower the bar a bit to get his foot in the door and started applying for customer service roles at financial institutions. Shortly after, he landed an analyst role within the contact centre of Mastercard and has now been with the company for over 6 years and has moved up the ranks to his current position as Loyalty Product Manager.

We spoke with Remco, to find out his motivations behind studying and how it’s played a part in his life since completing early this year.

What was your motivation to study an MBA?

I have never been a great student growing up. I often started degrees but then dropped out because I lost interest after a while. And for a long time when working for Rabobank making steady progress, I just didn’t feel the need to start studying again.

However, that all changed once I made the move to Australia and found out the hard way that often companies not only look at relevant experience, they also look at the level of education. Furthermore, the last few years prior to embarking on the MBA journey, I felt like I had a lot of good business ideas in my head around all sorts of things, from leadership to strategy and beyond, but I found it difficult to structure my thought processes. I knew had to get help with that, and the fact that I felt the need to get a formal degree made me decide to explore my options. I found that an MBA would give me the tools required for me to progress in my career and help me think in a way that made more sense from a strategy/business point of view.

What fears did you have and what would you say to anyone that may be feeling the same now?

Before starting my MBA studies my biggest fear was the language and in particular to write assessments that are up to standard from an academic point of view. As it turned out, my English was pretty good to start with, and I was probably doubting myself a little bit too much.

In terms of the assessments, I was so pleased with the way the AIB provided me with support and guidance. From the introduction module, all the way through to the final project, AIB really has helped me improve my writing skills.

The other fear I had was around how I was going to manage my studies from a time perspective. How was I going to balance study, work and a family life? Especially as we now have two small children. This last fear turned out the biggest challenge, but I managed to make it work. Mainly throughout the immense support from my wife, family and my manager and colleagues at work.

Did you have any successes you attribute to your MBA studies?

Having the MBA qualification will give me a better chance when I apply for new roles moving forward. More importantly, I have been able to use a lot of lessons learned from my MBA studies in my day-to-day work.

Looking back at my initial goals, I can definitely say that my thinking process has changed for the better, I think more strategically and am able to understand business decisions from our senior executives better.

Mastercard supported your study, can you tell us a bit more about how this worked?

Yes, Mastercard has a suite of benefits they offer to all employees. A tuition assistance program is one of them (if you meet all criteria), so they have funded my entire MBA study and hence why I am thankful to Mastercard.

They let me choose the university myself, which of course had to be approved by Mastercard. I choose AIB because studying online suited me best and AIB is known to be one of the better online universities in Australia.

At AIB, we provide many support services, from dedicated support teams to academic writing and referencing resources. So, if you meet the language eligibility requirements, but are still concerned that studying in another language could be a challenge, the AIB team will be there every step of the way. And much like Remco, you are much more capable than you think!