A Look Into BSL Student Employability from MBA Student Sezen Abtihodzheva

Sustainable Business MBA

Students attending BSL have the important opportunity to become more employable as they complete their studies and gain a number of professional experiences along the way. Our Careers Office is dedicated to making sure that their employability journey progresses parallel to their academic journey. 

From customized career mentoring sessions related to self-branding and networking skills to connecting students to opportunities in Switzerland and worldwide, our Careers Office and BSL Career Center are a pillar of support for students in every BSL program. Continue reading to hear directly from an MBA student, Sezen Abtihodzheva, about the opportunities she pursued through BSL.

How a BSL MBA Degree Helps Students Grow Professionally

Sezen chose to attend BSL after completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Geographical Information Systems at the University of Toronto. “I worked in the startup space after graduating from U of T. I helped run the startup initiatives for Wave in Toronto, which was then acquired by H&R Block. This created a turning point in my life, as I had to decide what next steps I should take,” she told us. “I decided to invest in my MBA because I thought that I was quite young in the roles that I had filled already in finance, and I felt that I lacked the necessary leadership skills. I have always been overly analytical with an analyst mindset and thought it was blocking my growth in the workplace,” she continued.

With so many options on the horizon for Sezen at this point in her life, we asked her why she chose BSL for her MBA degree. “I chose BSL because it’s one of the only schools that offers a sustainable business MBA. I applied and got a scholarship, which helped me start the program. I also knew that BSL was located in such a fun city, which is what really pulled me here. It’s very international and there are lots of students in general,” she told us. 

Sezen gave us some insight as to what services at BSL helped her forge her path toward her new career while she simultaneously advanced her academics in the MBA program. “Dani at BSL Career Services was thorough with the amount of support he provided. He was a great person to guide me in figuring everything out on my own, while still having some professional guidance. He wasn’t the typical career services person that just helped me fix up my resume. He really helped me identify and tackle my values and my skills. He helped me find more confidence in myself, because a lot of these skills I had, but I didn’t realize I had them at the time. He taught me how to sell myself in a way that helped me talk about my strengths so that I could grow professionally,” Sezen said.

The Career Services team and instructors at BSL are constantly inviting guest speakers to classes and events on campus that help students connect with industry experts. This, in turn, also helps their professional development as they gain perspective from experienced leaders. Additionally, students are able to explore ideas for where they see themselves in the future and what roles they would like to pursue.

Students Have Room for Creativity in Regards to Career Pursuits

Sezen has recently accepted a position at FAIRTIQ, a company that she is able to work with using her new skills from her Sustainable Business MBA. “I work with the Sales and Business Development team to improve efficiency, effectiveness and profitability,” she told us.

Another aspect of the MBA program that helped Sezen excel was the opportunity to get creative with academic and professional endeavors. “The strategy courses were really fascinating, and the scenario planning and sustainability courses were really helpful to give me a guide on how to approach a business problem. And then I was able to get creative at solving that problem.”

MBA in Sustainable Business
Students earning an MBA degree at BSL can benefit from courses that foster collaboration, creativity, and an entrepreneurial mindset

Sezen went on to give a great example of how students were able to flex this creativity through real-world problem solving. “For example, if we needed to rethink the business model, we would go over what the steps are to do it, how to manage and engage stakeholders, and establish a framework for the model. Then we would look at how we can go above and beyond, and think outside of the box. It allowed room for creativity, which provided a lot of value for my own learning and skill development. Not every school does that, especially when they are business oriented –  sometimes creativity falls behind. But BSL was always open to creative solutions and how to solve business challenges,” she said.

Sezen’s MBA Experience at BSL Fostered Her Growth to Support Her New Role

Sezen acquired an internship during her program, which was facilitated by the Careers Office at BSL. She told us a bit about the internship, how it helped her use her new skills, and how it led to her new role at her current company, FAIRTIQ. 

Sezen’s internship was with the Earthworm Foundation, which focuses on responsible sourcing for global commodities such as cocoa, wood, hazelnut, and other food industry products. “Dani [Head of BSL Careers & Industry Relations Office] was the middle person with my internship. Before I even graduated, just after my first 9 months, I wanted to apply my sustainability knowledge already. I didn’t want to go through learning everything in my courses, and then not have the chance to apply it, and possibly even forget it,” she explained. “He facilitated this connection with the EarthWorm Foundation through another alumnus at BSL who was a manager there.”

BSL helps foster an entrepreneurial mindset in students that helps them excel in real-world roles outside of their academic programs. Since the Careers Office was able to connect Sezen with this internship, she was able to immediately start using her new skills while also acquiring additional expertise in her role.

“At Earthworm, I interned and then worked under a contract extension for a total of about one year. I was in charge of a project for an Innovative E-Learning and Education Platform for companies and investors to teach them about sustainability. It started as just a vision from the CEO, so I built the prototype for the project, was the project manager, and led all fundraising efforts for the program.”

Sezen was able to use the key concepts and strategies she learned in her program at BSL directly to complete an internship and gain a new role in a field she is passionate about

“After leaving EarthWorm, I went through the interview process which was interesting. Some companies I wasn’t a good fit for, and some of them weren’t a good fit for me. I ended up accepting the job at FAIRTIQ, it’s my second month there now, and I thought they were really fascinating. They focus on sustainable transit, so mostly public transit, and their goal is to make traveling sustainable. For this position, I joined the Sales & Business Development team, and I am functioning as the Impact Lead. I support the team to improve efficiency and maximize their global impact. I’m serving as a facilitator while bringing synergy to the global team as we continue to scale up. I’m also working to make sure SBD Toolbox and Content Hub is up to date and helping with team visibility and taking ownership over the SBD OKR Process.” 

We asked Sezen how BSL was able to refine her new skills in order to prepare her for this new role. “Going out of my MBA, I learned a lot, I knew a lot about finance, and I was trying to figure out what would be the right fit for me. I wanted to work with a company that cared about sustainability and I didn’t just want to go back into finance, I wanted to be able to apply the new skills I have learned,” she said. 

Finally, we asked what advice Sezen would give to new students looking to join the MBA program at BSL. Her response: “Come open minded. The possibilities are endless, just be ready to learn from others and also ready to put in the work to learn yourself.” 

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