MBA success stories: Sarah Shakour, Emlyon Business School

Sarah Shakour is a 2018 graduate of the International MBA at EMLYON Business School and works in Digital Media and Communications at the World Economic Forum

Explain your current role.

I currently manage digital media and communications for the Foundations community (Global Shapers and Young Global Leaders) at the World Economic Forum. Our community combined has more than 15,000 members and alum representing young leaders changing the world. They are heads of states, business leaders, medical workers at the frontline of Covid-19, leaders in civil society, and more. I have the honour of telling their stories.

Where and when did you achieve your MBA?

I did my MBA at Emlyon Business School in Lyon France, completing my studies in 2018.

Why did you want to study for an MBA in the first instance? And why did you choose to do an MBA at this particular School?

I knew I wanted to remain in marketing and communications, but I really wanted to change industries. I felt like an MBA would help update my skills and allow me to broaden my knowledge in other areas to help pursue my goal of working at an NGO or international organisation. Emlyon stood out to me because I really wanted to study in France, but I also didn’t want to live in a big city. Lyon was a hybrid and a great balance for my studies and to try extracurricular activities in the city.

What is the most interesting thing you learnt from your MBA?

I’ve worked in many multi-national organisations with team members all over the world, so I thought I knew how to work with other cultures. What challenged me the most was working with the different cultures from my MBA class on group projects. We all came with different backgrounds, experiences, and knowledge, and it was very difficult – yet very enriching – sometimes to reach an agreement and to learn from eachother and compromise on our decision making.

What were some of the challenges you faced when studying for an MBA?

I think for me the biggest challenge was adapting from a seasoned employee to a student. The work, hours and pressure were much different, and I really had to become agile very quickly if I wanted to stay on top of my assignments.

How has the MBA made a difference to your career path and leadership journey?

It completely changed my career path and who I am as a person. The MBA allowed me to get into my dream industry while also learning to lead with empathy and agility. None of this would have been possible with my cohort, wonderful professors, and the administration team at Emlyon.

In what interesting ways have you taken what you have learnt in your MBA into the organisation for which you work?

I work in a very international setting, and I must remember, like I did with my classmates, that my colleagues come with a plethora of different experiences and knowledge. I don’t always have to have the final word or say, rather just listen to others and be collaborative team member. 

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about studying for an MBA?

I didn’t think too hard, make a pro/cons list, check my finances, etc – I just applied, and once that was over, I started working on everything else and it all came into place. If you feel like you’re in a rut or want to change the navigation of your career trajectory, then just apply. An MBA programme abroad will give you so much more than just what’s in the classroom and you’ll be so grateful you took the leap.

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