Anke Sieg, empowered and paying it forward

Anke Sieg
Anke Sieg was looking to “lead a transformation” in her career at Dow Corning. And she chose Solvay to make it happen and self-funded her MBA. We spoke to Anke to learn how her Solvay experience empowered her, and how she’s paying it forward with other women today.

Class of 2015
Employer: Dow Corning
Title: Technical Key Account Manager, Medical Device and Pharmaceuticals
City: Brussels
Nationality: Belgian


You decided to get an MBA later in life after gaining over 15 years of work experience, many of which you spent in management. What did you hope to gain?

The simple answer is that I wanted to grow. I was becoming very specialized in operations and felt boxed in. I wanted to open myself up and learn how business decisions are made and why. And I got exactly what I wanted.
Now, I understand how different stakeholders at Dow Corning operate and how it all fits together. Overall, I have a much broader range of skills today to offer the company.

Although you continued work at Dow Corning during your MBA, the company didn’t sponsor your degree. Was this your choice?

Going for an MBA was my own initiative. Dow Corning fully supported my decision, but I was on my own financially. And in the end, maintaining my independence was worth every cent.
No one owns my degree, but me. No matter what happens in the company or what life throws my way, I have my MBA training and a network of life-long friends to rely on.

What helped you most when making your MBA choice?

I had many colleagues and friends who attended Solvay and went on to achieve great things in life. They were convincing, but ultimately it was the admissions “open night” that helped me most.
The admissions counsellors were great at telling me about the program and helping me make an informed decision. They put me in contact with current students and alumni who were encouraging, but honest about how tough it was going to be.

What do you see as your biggest accomplishment from your MBA?

Finishing it! I worked during my degree and still had to be “mom” to my two young girls at home. I pushed myself to the limit – intellectually, physically and emotionally – and came out on top. I am far more resilient today than I was before my Solvay experience.
I’m also far better at prioritizing my responsibilities at work and at home. I know how to identify the important things today and focus on them, one step at a time.

You recently became a Board Member of Professional Women International (PWI), an organisation that is helping to close the gender gap at work. Did your MBA factor into this new role?

Absolutely. Working in the sciences, it’s important to me to help advance women’s roles in the workplace. Solvay’s Career Advancement Program (CAP) helped me to gain many useful skills and insights that I can now give back to the PWI community in Brussels.
I’m very grateful for the mentoring that I received as part of the CAP. I have far more confidence today in navigating my career choices as a professional and as a woman.

What advice would you give to perspective students?

If you’re anything like me, you need to build a strong support system before you start. I had lots of people in my life that helped me get to graduation.
And once you start, just go forward. Embrace the experience and don’t look back.

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