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Gerard de Bourbon Ponce de Leon

"Peeling the banana from the other side". Gerard de Bourbon Ponce de Leon - MBA, Manager Global Accounts, Verizon Enterprise Solutions

Why did you decide to earn an MBA?
I have a degree in physics and mathematics, and a successful career in the finance and IT/telecom industries. Still, I believe you should revisit learning every five years or so throughout your life. You need to reopen your mind, which gets closed up as you get stuck in doing things in a certain way and addressing challenges in the same fashion as you have always done. We develop a certain format in how we process things and solve problems. An MBA at SSE opens up your mind.

That aside, what made you choose SSE for your MBA?
The fact that it is an international program and because I live in Sweden. I wanted to join a local program in order to really capture the value of networking and to benefit my current situation. Also, the interview process at SSE was extremely professional and made a good impression on me.

How did participating in the SSE MBA program change you professionally?
It enabled me to see things in a different perspective and challenged me to explore new ways of solving problems and meeting new challenges beyond the norm – to peel the banana from the other side, so to speak. The more you know, the more you realize how little you know.

I have also grasped the fact that I can learn from everyone and anyone. It has made me a better leader, thinker, coach, enabler and contributor to my teams. The program has, in fact, made me a more humble person.

What impressed you most about the SSE MBA program?
My class mates, the faculty, the program structure and the approach in general. I would actually have preferred even more class interaction, because that was when I learned the most – by working with my classmates and solving problems together, and listening to questions from others with different backgrounds and work experiences.

How did the SSE MBA differ from other studies, in your eyes?
The SSE MBA was very different from, for example, my studies at Harvard, which was very competitive and people only cared about themselves. The SSE MBA was an altogether different experience with a more collaborative group dynamic.

What would you say to someone considering an executive MBA?
Do it, prepare and be open-minded. Forget about what you have learned and what you know. Take it all in, form new opinions; see what others do not see. Ask questions, challenge theory, hypothesis and listen, truly listen, don't just hear.