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GEM: A Place to Belong

Published on
02 July 2020

Donna Mei-Ling Park, MBA student in Berlin shares her testimonial about her GEM experience during this very special period.

The outbreak of a global pandemic. A volatile job market. The digital transformation. The list goes on and on. In these uncertain times, there certainly seems to be a lot to worry about. However, to be perfectly honest with you, I was far more worried a little over a year ago.

I had been working internationally for some time and was in an enviable professional position. After over 15 years as a multimedia creator, with the last five years spent as a consulting communications strategist for the United Nations— I had enjoyed a positive career trajectory so far-- and yet, somehow, it was not enough. I wanted to take my career to all-new heights, and I knew that education was the best way to make it happen. I was ready to take the next step-- and that was where the worry began. Where to apply? What program to take?

 What area to specialize in? This list of worries may seem shorter—but I assure you, the rate at which these items swirled in the orbits of my mind was absolutely dizzying.

I was scared. To get my master’s degree would require an unprecedented financial and energetic investment. I was standing at the crossroads of the largest decision of my life. After an unmentionable number of hours of research, including consultations with the best human resource professionals, I set my sights on the Berlin campus for Grenoble École de Management. I was delighted when I was accepted! Nevertheless, what if this wasn’t the right choice? What if I was too old to learn at the pace of a business school? What if…

The first morning of orientation week, all the students buzzed around nervously in the foyer of the business school, trying to make the best impression possible while connecting with future classmates. The events of orientation week were both inspiring and fun. They started with group activities held by a local improvisation team and over the week included everything from an intercultural communication workshop to a scenic trip along the Spree River to a city rally on the streets of Kreuzberg. I might have been scared, but I certainly was not alone.

By the conclusion of orientation week, I had some truly meaningful conversations with various stakeholders from the GEM program in Berlin. It seemed as though there might be a better fit for my educational journey in the MBA program. I was still a little scared—but I knew I would never forgive myself if I did not challenge myself. I decided bet on myself and change programs. The community of GEM staff was so warm and encouraging.

One year later, I can hardly begin to describe my transformation.

Not only has my mind been enriched with a plethora of useful information on business management, but my soul and heart have expanded exponentially too. In the MBA cohort, (which we have affectionately dubbed “the fam”) I feel I have found friendships (and an international professional network) that will last a lifetime.

The school’s events were consistently both engaging and practical. Held on a regular basis, these events presented us with the opportunity to connect with alumni, recruiters, CEOs, and, perhaps most importantly—with each other! The career center offers excellent support and cutting-edge tools to enter the workforce.

Events such as debates, celebrations, regular virtual coffees help reinforce the overall sense of community. The Berlin campus may be small, but it is mighty!

I chose to specialize in “Smart and Sustainable Business”—and was able to travel to the school’s main campus in Grenoble. I was blown away by the size of the GEM community—but moreover, I was touched by how helpful and open the community is.

I am so proud to be a future graduate of this school and am thrilled to represent this brand!

Armed with new knowledge and buoyed by an amazing business school community, I face the future with a new, inexplicable zeal. With my new skills, I feel honored to be so perfectly poised to participate in the current global transformation.

Are you considering taking a leap too? DO IT! After all, we are all in this together!