Embracing change with Izabel Medeiros

Izabel Medeiros embodies the Solvay spirit with her willingness to take risks and embrace change. As you’ll learn in this interview, Solvay emboldened Izabel to take on a totally new challenge in a completely different industry. We spoke with Izabel about her Solvay experience.

IZABEL MEDEIROS
Class of 2012
Employer: Volvo Financial Services
Title: Strategic Program Manager
City: Brussels
Nationality: Brazilian

Your job title, “Strategic Program Manager” could mean a lot of different things. What exactly do you do and how did you get there?

I consider myself an industrial designer in the broadest sense, whether I’m working in fashion or financial services. I enjoy being part of both the creative process as well as the strategy execution where I excel at bringing ideas to life.

Thanks to my MBA, I can transfer my previous experience in the creative industry to other sectors. My job today as a Strategic Program Manager at Volvo Financial Services is the natural culmination of my MBA journey.

What did the MBA do for you?

It gave me the confidence to face any business challenge because I have a library of knowledge and a toolkit of skills to rely upon. Before the MBA, I had a much more narrow perception of my abilities and myself. This has totally changed.

How do you apply your MBA at work?

I apply the Solvay approach to solving business cases everyday in strategic program management at Volvo Financial Services. My coursework on stakeholder management and process improvement is fundamental to my job as well. The MBA was very practical for me.

Solvay supported you in getting an internship at ING during your MBA. What was your role? And what did this mean for you?

I started out working in the IT services department, and within four months I was offered a job as an Advisory Process Manager. In just over a year, I was promoted to Expert Process Manager.
ING was a big confidence boost for me because I was able to excel in financial services after many years spent in fashion. My ING work was the launch pad for my current role at Volvo Financial Services.

What was one of the hardest moments during your degree?

I was totally overwhelmed at the start because my lifestyle had to change so dramatically. There was so much to read, so many lectures to attend and projects to complete… not to mention all the sacrifices to make in my personal life. I just wasn’t sure I could do it.
When I shared my feelings with a few other students, I discovered that we all felt overwhelmed. Knowing that I wasn’t alone was a huge comfort to me. We all bonded over our shared experience and became a network of support for each other.

You were known for being one of the most social members in your class. Do you still keep in touch with your former classmates?

Absolutely. My friends from Solvay are the foundation of my social life in Europe, especially since I’m originally from Brazil. They are a big reason for my decision to stay in Brussels.
One of the best parts has been seeing some of my former classmates get married. I was a bridesmaid at two weddings with Solvay grads, one from South Korea and another from Belgium. And I just recently attended another wedding for a Solvay grad I got to know well during our study trip to Hong Kong.

You were asked to join Solvay’s Academic Advisory Board in 2014. What is your role?

I work closely with the faculty and administration to grow the Executive MBA program and ensure it adapts to the constantly changing demands of global business. I’m especially interested in helping to attract more international students like myself to the program. Solvay’s growing international profile has a lot to offer students from around the world, not just in Europe.

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