“It’s given me an opportunity to reflect on my future”

Despite the pressures of a new job, life in a new city and a baby on the way, Maersk’s Abhay Kinra decided September 2020 was the time to begin his Executive MBA at CBS. Now just over six months in, the programme has not only given him new skills, but precious time and opportunity to reflect on what he wants from his career and to forge a plan for future growth.

“I started my career with Maersk after high school in India, and I’ve worked with them ever since. I’m now in my 15th year, working my way up from nautical officer on the ship to my current role as Global Flow Manager, responsible for the movement of the containers around the globe.

“I had wanted to do an MBA for about the last seven years. My bachelor’s focused on merchant shipping, but I decided that, when it came to executive study, I wanted a broader focus. You might think that as I’m in the shipping industry I’d opt for the Blue MBA but that didn’t feel right. I am already in a leadership role and I want to be able to confidently explore a range of industries so an Executive MBA (EMBA) felt like the right choice.

“It wasn’t until I got the offer of a job in Copenhagen, that the stars aligned and I joined the EMBA cohort starting in September 2020, with my company giving me the time away I needed to attend the classes. We began in the classroom which was great; it’s brilliant to meet like-minded people who are as ambitious as you are – you’re thrown into this programme together and you pick each other up when you need to – that’s how you begin to bond and form this valuable network. It’s inspirational to be with people who challenge you, who come from different industries and who have so much to learn from one another.

“Of course, due to COVID we soon had to move online. That’s been tough as we’ve seen how much benefit there is to creativity and learning by being together in the same space. We’ve made it work, however, and we’re looking forward to coming back together next month, when we’ll have the opportunity to reflect on how things have been going.”

ROI and reflection

“Some of the modules have been a steep learning curve, particular those like finance that I had no experience of before. But I’ve found it really fulfilling to study hard, get good grades for my assignments and then take what I’ve learned back into my workplace and use it in real life. I’m determined to secure a good return on investment, so I’m making sure to apply and practice everything I can.

“And it’s not just learning about business that’s benefitting me. My time at CBS is helping me learn so much about myself too. Sometimes when you’re just running at work every day, you don’t take the time or opportunity to reflect if you’re on the right path, where you want to be or where you want to get to later in life. This is a good break for me to think about what I want and how I want to work in whatever organisation I’m in. It’s given me a good chance to consider the future.”

Immediate improvement

I’m already seeing benefits from the course. I feel more confident in my day-to-day job and what’s pleased me the most is that my peers and teammates have noticed positive changes since I started. In meetings, for instance, I’m able to contribute better – to structure what I say so it adds more value. It’s reassuring to know I’m getting something out of the course right away.

“The course content is great; I’ve chosen Governance and Sustainability as my Concentration. I know it’s an important part of business in Scandinavia as well as Maersk itself. It’s forward-thinking and, I believe, integral to making operational changes for a more positive future.

“Unfortunately, I haven’t started the ISP yet, I intend to do it after the summer. I have just become a father and there’s not much time to play with, I’ve had to give up some favourite hobbies. But I feel I’m getting so much out of the course I don’t mind giving up a few things. If I wasn’t enjoying it, it would definitely be tougher, but I’m ambitious, I’m driven, and I’ve wanted this for seven years. My time to do it is now.

“So despite the pressure of a new job, a move to a new city, a new baby and the difficulties of COVID, I’m certain that, when I have the opportunity to reflect, I’ll be able to look back on my time at CBS with a smile.

“22 months is a long time to invest, but I chose the Executive MBA because I knew it would help me do well. Now, around a third of the way through, I’m confident that’s going to be the case.”