With a background in architecture, Thomas wanted to pursue a Part-time MBA to advance his career as a Real Estate developer.

“My name is Thomas and I’m part of the HEC Paris part-time MBA program.

So the reason why someone like me with a an atypical background in architecture decided to do an MBA was because I felt that in my new job as a Real Estate Developer, I lacked a business background,  a lot of elements that I had a hard time getting used to. So I really felt that an MBA was the best way to deepen this knowledge, because in a way you have a lot of different subjects that come together that allow you to get a quick idea of a lot of different fields in a relatively short time span. This is also in a way my main motivation to do an MBA because I really want to get better at my current job; I want to get better at being a Real Estate Developer, not just an architect who is trying to do his best to work in Real Estate.

My main motivation to do a part-time program was that I did not want to lose the connection with the business world. I wanted to stay in contact with the professional life, and I also felt that after so many years of professional experience, that it would have been hard for me as well to move back to student life. So I wanted to stay in touch with these professional manners.

There are a couple of advantages from my point of view of doing a Part-time MBA; the first one of course is financially, it’s much less of a big burden on  your finances because you can keep working and you have a steady income. On the other hand I really feel that it is important that you have this constant exchange between your professional life and your student life, because you can really adapt what you have learned in class one week to your professional life the next week, which is really attractive to your employer also.

When I first mentioned the Part-time MBA program to my employer, I was very lucky that my employer is actually very familiar with the MBA concept, and they were also very happy that I wanted to do it in the part-time format, because the realized that if you go for the full-time format you lose the capability of that employee for a long time. So I did get a lot of support, especially time support, I can take the time off work, for example when I need to do certain tasks. That meant I was very lucky, also I was able to convince them of the value of doing such an MBA, while continuing to work; you can have this exchange between what you are learning in school, and what you’re doing in real life.

I would say that maybe the biggest challenge of the MBA is finding the right balance in your life, because you have a lot of things running at the same time, your professional career, you have the studies which then come in – and which also keep running outside of the campus weeks, and then at the same time you have a social life – family and friends; so you need to find the right balance between all these elements. That to me is really the biggest challenge because you need to be time-efficient.”

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Thomas Vermeulen

Thomas Vermeulen

Belgium Class of 2017

« I did not want to lose the connection with the business world. »

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