I encourage all women in the world to not give up on personal dreams.
Ewelina Gwozdz-Sage

Ewelina.Gwozdz-Sage

ewelina
Nationality: Polish Year Graduated: 2019 Current Role: Managing Director - Ewelina Sage

Tell us about yourself

I am a seasoned professional in strategy and branding of luxury goods and fine wines. I have a large global corporate and entrepreneurial experience. I held various positions in international companies operating in luxury goods before founding my own company operating in this field. I am also a wife, and a mum of three adorable children.

Why did you choose the Global Executive MBA at INSEAD?

Since I graduated from university I knew I wanted to complete my education with an MBA. Back in 2007 I took my GMAT while looking for an MBA programme that offered an experience outside of Europe, and was aiming for one of the top business schools in the USA. However, personal events however made me put that project on hold.

In 2016 when I relocated to Dubai, I reconnected with my past plan for an MBA. INSEAD, with its campus located in Abu Dhabi with cross-campus experiences in Fontainebleau, Singapore and San Francisco, perfectly fit my criteria: a top MBA programme, learning outside of my cultural zone of comfort, a cross-cultural experience and the Leadership Development Programme.

I couldn’t ask for more. INSEAD appeared as a manifestation of my desire and I got admitted.

How did you manage to juggle education with your work and your family life?

The programme is very intense - something I was aware of before I enrolled. But it's only once you're on the programme that reality sets in, you realise how challenges it can be to get organised. 

My youngest child was 15 months old when I enrolled. My absences and my focus on education were not easy to manage. The keyword for success, in my case, was 'team work', and that quality helped me to go through the various challenges personally and professionally.  

Personally, I could really relay on my husband to take care of our children during my absences for on-campus sessions, long-distance travels and business trips.

At work, finding a balance was a bit more challenging. However, I found a way to reshape the responsibilities on projects among my team, and I delegated more. Despite having a super organised and military-style agenda, I decided to give up on a few opportunities to be able to focus on the programme.

I evolved from being an outstanding multi-tasking individual, to a high-performing professional with a strong sense of priority.

To summarise, finding a formula that helps to balance these different life dimensions is possible in my opinion, if things are organised and solutions devised before prior to starting the programme.  

What was it like to be a women in the programme?

I did not do differently in the class because of my gender. I had my place among my classmates and felt that I really added value through my perspective of thinking and sharing my entrepreneurial experience.

However, when we look at the class profile it’s very obvious that there were fewer women than men in the class. This touches upon a general issue of gender equality in professional life, and it's an issue that will remain unchanged until we as women take a stand and introduce new ways of thinking and acting on shaping a better future together. 

INSEAD made lots of efforts to support women in combining the programme with their natural role of being mothers, especially for those giving birth during the programme.

I definitely encourage all women in the world to not give up on personal dreams. You do not only have one choice. To all the female candidates who are hesitating in making a step towards this goal I would say: "don’t be afraid dreaming, shaping, preparing and making it happen."

What did you enjoy the most of this experience?

I truly enjoyed the whole GEMBA experience. Business wise the programme offered me a high quality learning alongside a deep discovery of myself in addition to valuable friendships ties and an outstanding alumni network.

The elements which surprised me the most was my personal journey of discovery. That was possible by having met and teamed with authentic people who were able to offer me a mirror and a constructive feedback during the programme.

How do you plan to implement your learning?

I didn’t wait until the end of the programme to implement my learning. Whilst on the programme I started by introducing the learning I had gained into my business such as building the company culture for example. On the personal side, I decided to bring my authenticity to forefront, and stood out for my values more firmly.

The learning from this programme doesn't stop at graduation. I see this experience more as a journey woven of many interesting discoveries which continue to bloom as long as we are an active and loving gardener of our own lives.

The GEMBA at INSEAD remains one of the most valuable experiences of my life.