Best and Brightest Online MBA of 2022: Iouliana Litou, IE Business School

“A lifelong student, curious and restless. Engineering background with interests in philosophical questions and human psychology. ”

Age: 33

Birth place: Athens, Greece (now Dublin, Ireland)

Fun facts about yourself: I have a twin brother, who is literally my alter ego.

Undergraduate School and Undergraduate: Computer Science at the University of Economics and Business Administration in Athens (PhD in Computer Science from the same institution)

Where are you working today? Senior Director of Meta Projects

What achievements are you most proud of in your career? Getting a doctorate in computer science is probably one of the achievements I am proud of. It’s not so much the difficulty of doing research on the topic, but of learning how to deal with your rejection of work, gathering and sorting opinions, readjusting work, responding to raised concerns, and then. revealing yourself by exposing yourself, and making you vulnerable to rejection again. Eventually, you learn to take it for granted: the opportunity for improvement, rather than rejection.

Another achievement I am proud of is not being afraid to move to a country I didn’t know (twice). I thought it was worth the opportunity, even though I was a little scared. It’s an experience that teaches you how to open up, communicate, and connect with people. Basically, no matter how good you are at your job, if you’re not brave enough to communicate, it’s like you’ve never done it before. I think this experience taught me to get closer to people and communicate ideas in an unfamiliar environment. I’m still learning that, and I continued my MBA program to make sure I do it in the best way possible.

Why did you choose the online MBA program at IE Business School? I participated in an event that connected me to different MBA programs, which sparked my interest the most and determined that it was worth the time and effort to devote. Talking to people at universities helps you understand the culture and leadership styles that these organizations cultivate. You will also get the feeling that you will be interacting with other students in the courses. I stood out as a close, understanding, and professional at IE Business School, focusing on attracting students, encouraging them to be bold and innovative, focusing on the human side (welfare, social entrepreneurship, etc.). Then, of course, as a data-driven person, I looked at the rankings, the opinions of graduates, and the mix of background and diversity in the program. That’s why I thought this experience should be an opportunity to build a global network and get to know other cultures.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? The biggest advantage of an online MBA is that you have a global community where you can interact, as physical presence is not required, so you can meet and work with people from Japan, Peru, and Canada at the same time.

What has been the most amazing thing about the online learning environment? What struck me most was how you relate to people you’ve never met before and you probably wouldn’t have been able to get to know them if it weren’t for the online learning environment.

How did your online experience as a graduate student compare to your classroom experience? There is a misconception that online learning is not as effective as a classroom experience. My online MBA experience has completely disproved this misconception. When it comes to learning, it’s about how commitment and interest in the class is fostered. This is up to the teacher and your classmates, not the class or the means used to teach the lessons. Again, it’s about the people you’re interacting with, and to that point I think the teacher has really put a lot of effort into attracting students in an online format so that the overall quality is high. Combined with flexibility, I ensure a networked experience with some class events that help connect people even more.

What would you change about an online MBA program? I would probably add more deliberate informal events as well as some fun activities where the families of the people you see in the courses can also interact. It’s easy to miss a human being when you’re sometimes together for a few hours a week, in a very specific professional context, and it’s easy to make biased assumptions about them when you know nothing beyond those class hours.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? I work in a global team, so network calls and interactions are common. Online education prepared me for this and what I needed to see, how to communicate and connect with people and make sure everyone is on the same page. He also taught me how to build meaningful relationships with people in the office when you can’t have that coffee chat hour.

Did you earn a promotion while you were in the program or graduated immediately? During the program I switched companies and moved to a senior position, from IBM Project Manager to Meta. Project Manager.

Have you been promoted to the online MBA program? Yes

Number of hours per week spent in online MBA: About 20 hours a week.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I know the impact I want to have, but it’s hard to define a professional goal. I want to empower people and encourage them to question their partisanship. For example, I see how people are afraid of what technological advances may pose to humanity and seek ways to mitigate the risks of deciding to criticize and abstain, or to try to recommend applications for the social welfare of those advances. After all, we all want a better world, and what better way to do that than to have a better future? My personal accomplishments will be lost with me when that time comes, but I hope that with my work I will make a difference in people’s lives and that is my long-term professional goal.

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