Learning to see the big picture

Learning to see the big picture

Mai Dang, MBA alumna and scholarship recipient, reveals how an MBA at RMIT enabled her to see things like a business owner, and how she applied her new knowledge to further empower her staff, creating new leaders in the process.

“It’s not easy for me to stay interested in something that is successful and running smoothly,” MBA alumna and scholarship recipient Mai Dang confides. “Even if it is something I made successful, I prefer solving problems and figuring out how make a success – both at the individual and team level.”

Mai, who is currently the Senior Manager of Sales & Marketing Strategy for Creatory, joined the company when it numbered just 20 employees. “I joined because I assumed that I was going to help make change as opposed to just accepting all the processes and following them, as one does in a larger company,” Mai relates.

After 4 years, Creatory had become highly successful in the influencer market, and consequently, Mai felt she could no longer grow in that field.

After a short break, the founder of Creatory sat down with her and introduced a new department at the company – an Innovation Lab. “The Lab was filled with highly talented and smart people, but they could synergise with each other. The CEO gave me the challenge to transform it, to help these people grow as a team. This is when I went from a brand manager to product manager and had to look after a technical team with a lot of designers and producers,” Mai states.

As a part of her new role, Mai had to learn the technical language of her new team, had to translate that to the business team and vice versa. Quickly, the Innovation Lab became the most transformative team in the company. Success, however, came with a price.

Mai recollects, "I went from 7 people under me as a Marketing team lead, to suddenly being in charge of nearly 30 staff. Initially I felt lost, had self-doubt and scared."

"When I saw that my tasks were pretty tough compared to the experience I had had at that time, I lost my confidence. I felt I could only lead using hard skills and thought maybe I needed more academic

training. I applied for master’s programs all around the world, but I got a scholarship from RMIT. Ironically enough, when I scanned my network, those whom I liked most were mainly RMIT alumni.”

Taking the MBA at RMIT helped Mai transform in a number of ways. Her professional network grew. Through her network, Mai says that her mindset was also deeply changed. “My classmates helped me see things like a business owner and how to build more connections using the RMIT network. I also transformed from being a team’s manager to a true leader, capable of seeing the bigger picture of the company.”

Mai continues, saying “as my mindset transformed to know what my role entailed, I learned how to talk to and find those experts who have studied their whole life to solve specific problems, like accounting or finance. I was shown that studying is not everything – networking and connections are most important. I learned how to make friends and how to foster relationships.”

Now Mai spends her time not only leading her team and the company, but she also works tirelessly to create leaders of her staff. “A good leader can create more leaders and make themselves redundant. A good leader should want their staff to replace them,” Mai confidently states.


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