Interview With Michel
Can you tell us more about your background?
My name is Michel Straga, and I am a Belgian national with Flemish as my native language. I received my Masters in Applied Computer Science in 1999 at Vrije. Between 1999 and 2015 I worked in the I.T. sector in sales, operations, project management and business development. My last positon was as the senior manager of business transformation, EMEA, for IBM. I also own an investment company called Straga Invest through which I have invested in different activities such as real estate and a children’s entertainment business.
What prompted you to do an Executive MBA?
My back ground is technical since I am by education an engineer, but gradually my job has become more and more management oriented, with little involvement in Computer Science. The trigger was when I decided to buy a children’s entertainment business. I bought the company , reorganized it, and tried to make it profitable…and suddenly I found that my education was insufficient to maximize this reengineering. Therefore I decided to look for solutions to get additional education while maintaining my current businesses.
Why a Chicago Booth EMBA?
The offers in Belgium are numerous with such programs as Solvay, Erasmus, and Vlerick in addition to other top management schools. However, I connected at Vesalius College with the American style of teaching. Additionally no matter how good schools are in Benelux, I wanted a school that had a global reputation and world class professors. Of course, when the MBA Center indicated that Chicago Booth could be a potential school for its program relative to my interests, I immediately jumped on it.
So how has the MBA Center helped you reach your dreams?
The MBA center has been instrumental; especially Dr. Silly has helped me embrace a 360 degree view of the MBA sector and was able to immediately target the best school for me. Second of all, the support during the admissions process was outstanding, in that they helped me with the GMAT, the application process and the interview. The MBA Center has had 100% success with its applicants for Chicago Booth admissions since its inception, which was very reassuring.
What would you say to someone applying to an MBA like you?
Of course I would first recommend for them to clearly assess their ambitions, because it is very demanding and challenging to combine work, studies, and family life. Second of all, it is important to discuss with the people close to you that will feel the results of this decision to enter this journey together. Then to research schools, myself I met about 10 different schools before confirming my choice for Chicago. Also to have a clear personal project for your MBA, and work with experts on all the various aspects, as working with the MBA center; by far the best company that I have heard of in this field.