Alumni Interview: Letsiwe Edwards
Alumni Interview, Feb 2019.

Letsiwe Edwards, Class of 2019.

Letsiwe, student from Swaziland and also one of the first students who finish GMBA within ONE year.  She is a driven mother of two with a zest for life, and a keen interest in travelling and experiencing new cultures. Since graduating from the GMBA, she has immersed herself in her new job, as well as spending time with family.

1.  When and why do you think you need an MBA degree?  And among all the MBA degrees in the world, why did you choose Taiwan?

As a manager at KPMG, I was aware that an MBA would provide a more rounded perspective to running a business. So in 2017 after working as a senior manager for a year, my job had become somewhat monotonous and I started to yearn for new exposure. I felt that an MBA would provide a good bridge between my current career in consulting, and the career I sought in operations and general management.

I chose Taiwan as it was a country which provided endless opportunities for new exposure in a relatively safe environment. The local and regional ranking of NTU, and relatively affordable fees in comparison to other programs were also major considerations. I had also never been to Asia before, so it all just seemed like a good idea at the time. It turned out to be a decision I will never regret making!

2.  As a mom, how can you leave your families at home, especially your son is only 6 years old, and study alone here?  This should be a very tough year for both you and your families, how did you conquer your homesick under a great pressure of your study?

My family was the main reason I sought to complete the GMBA in one year. That said, when one sets out to achieve something, one has to have a goal in mind, and an awareness of the level of sacrifice required to achieve this goal. I knew what I was getting myself into, and prepared myself mentally even before leaving home. I also had a very good support system at home, and the technology to stay in touch with my family on a frequent basis, which made it easier.  Lastly, I cannot discount the important role that the friends I made whilst in Taiwan played in getting me through the year that I spent there. The karaoke, those tacos, the conversations, the dinner/house parties, the green tea, singing (or at least trying to) “Sweet Home Alabama” in the streets of Hualien, the hikes, the drinking sessions, the hugs, the Asian snacks…. all those experiences made it easier to be away from home, and I will forever be grateful to everyone that I made those special memories with.

3.  Did you experience any culture shock here and how do you face to it or cope with it?

My experience in Taiwan was mostly positive, I wouldn’t say I experienced any culture shock. It probably helped that I went to a high school with over 50 different nationalities. My main challenge when I first got to Taiwan was the language barrier when it came to ordering food; but as Taiwanese are such accommodating people, I did not find this to be a significant challenge as there was always someone offering to assist.

4.  After studying in Taiwan for 1 year, how long did you spend to look for a new job?  What is your current job and is this MBA degree helps in your job hunting?

Since August 2018 I have been working as the General Manager for a group of companies with interests in real estate, micro finance and plant hire. The MBA (and impressive transcript) has definitely helped to set me apart from other local candidates as I continue to get offers from other local companies whom I worked with whilst consulting with KPMG.