Why a MBA / Leadership Development Program (vs. direct hire)?
I was looking for a company that understands the profile of an MBA degree. Usually American companies are more "friendly" to MBAs so it was key for me to be hired through a Rotational Program in case of a non-US company. Also it is a good fast track option.
What are the key advantages / disadvantages of being on a MBA / Leadership Development Program?
The advantage comes from a more robust support from HR and more options in terms of career path. We can have access to the best opportunities within the company, of course it depends on our initiative and performance. There is no room for poor performers, top management expects always an outstanding performance, it requires a lot of dedication.
How does the MBA / Leadership Development Program fit in your career goals?
Having strong Finance background in Latin America and US, I was looking for an cross-function and cross-country experience and Nissan could offer exactly these two elements. Regarding career growth, I was looking for a position to be in the pipeline to become Director, and this is the target of the program.
How strongly did you weight the location of the program?
During the program you really need to create some link with your final destination. Either you should be working during the program on your region/country or in the headquarters to have support from top management. In my case, also I need to consider the experience in Japan in order to adapt to the culture of the company because it is really different from my background.
What to look for in a MBA / Leadership Development Program?
You should look for a program that goes in line to your ambition in terms of career path, not only career growth. First focus in what you want to do and location then you should think about promotion. Also take into consideration the sector and product/service the company sells. Talk to people work or have worked in this company.
Can you summarize the recruiting process you went through and how long it took?
Initially face-to-face interviews with European and Japanese/HQ HR people then video conferences with top Function and HR executives from US and Japan/HQ.
What were the required skillsets and prior experience and how were they evaluated (behavioral interviews, case studies, assessment center, panel interview, etc)?
The interviews were much more focused in behaviors and expectation in terms career, especially the ones with top executives. Most of them had 2 or 3 interviewers and observers. They were not concerned about my lack of experience in the automotive sector but on how I deal with several situations and my management skills.
What advice and tips can you share with those interested in MBA Development Programs?
First of all self reflect about what you want to do in your professional life. Try to identify if the company and program can help you reach what YOU want. Usually those programs have a fair compensation package, don't sell yourself to the highest offer that does not fulfill your ambition.