ESMT MBA Graduates Paying it Forward at TSiBA

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by Mariana Helguera
January 21st 2015
Since the beginning of the Full time MBA 2014 in ESMT Berlin, I got to know more details about its Responsible Leadership Fellow Program. Since I heard about it I was interested in becoming a volunteer for six months after graduation. However, it was after the International Field Seminar in September for which some of us came to South Africa, that I became greatly interested in being a volunteer in TSiBA. Finally, after so much planning, packing and long flights… three of us are here! I will be working in the Marketing area, Sergey will be in the Academic area teaching math and Sherzod will be in the Ignition Centre supporting entrepreneurs.

We have spent five days in Cape Town and three of those in TSiBA. Before leaving Berlin everyone told me “Oh it’s going to be fun and interesting!” and so far, I believe that was an understatement. As new people in town, we decided to explore transportation options and routes. The first time it took us around 90 minutes to get to TSiBA, which surprisingly is only 12 km away from home. However, we are all set with our MyCity Bus cards, we figured out which was the right train to take and we are improving in negotiating with Taxi drivers.

On our first day at TSiBA we had a very warm welcome by Cindy from Career Services, who gave us a tour and introduced us to almost everyone; and Sandi from Marketing, who gave us our TSiBA bag with presents. It felt so nice that people knew we were coming and they were so happy to have us here. On our second day, “our first formal day at work”, I had a more detailed introduction to the marketing activities and met more new people.  It felt so good to be back in the working life, going to meetings, taking notes and having ideas about the projects to be done.

After the second day, Sherzod said “Everyone was very friendly and welcoming and wanted to help us with settling in and figuring out how things work, specially my supervisor.  I felt that my interest to work for TSiBA and contribute to its mission was reinforced after talking to the people and watching how excited and motivated they all are… even more after meeting some of the students. I look forward to this experience.” However, an afterthought was that it will take a while to remember so many different names. In Sergey’s case, he said “Kind and relaxed people with good sense of humor. Absence of “corporate business climate” smell. A lot of diversity in people’s minds and characters. Total quietness before the exploding start of academic year.” 

Now, in my third day here… with my e-mail account, phone number, coffee mug with my name and my own desk; I feel as if I have been here for a long time. Today I had the chance to meet the new batch of 120 students for the HCBA (Higher Certificate in Business Administration) in their induction week. They will be starting classes next Monday, in which I will be helping the staff to give them their new books. I am very excited to be part of TSiBA and for being able to Pay it Forward.

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