Janna Murgia, successful International Executive MBA graduate of UMBS
Janna Murgia earned her MBA degree at
Universiteit Maastricht Business School. Now, she
works in New York City as the Public Relations
Manager for Macys East. TalkinBusiness speaks
with Janna Murgia about the significant and
positive effect the MBA programme of UMBS had
on her future.
What was your educational and professional background before you joined the UMBS
International Executive MBA programme?
I received a Bachelor of Arts in Ethics from the College of the Holy Cross in 1998. After
that, I worked for several years as a programme manager in the non-profit sector.
Why did you choose to come to Maastricht?
I chose Maastricht because I was living in nearby Aachen, Germany and was seeking an
international MBA programme taught in English. UMBS already had the AACSB
accreditation which was important to me as I knew that I would return to the US soon after
the programme ended. I was impressed by the city and the Dutch people, so I was excited
about the opportunity to study in the Netherlands.
What did you particularly appreciate in the MBA programme?
Certainly the factor that differentiates UMBS from other MBA programmes is the
international focus. Not only were various cultures represented through the people in the
classroom, but the materials chosen were also multicultural in focus. I also appreciated the
variety in my classmates background and experience. Having so many industries and job
areas represented in the classroom was a key part of broadening our perspectives. With this
variety in ideas we were able to see multiple, unique solutions to cases/assignments.
Did it help you to get a clear view of the professional career you would like to pursue?
While I kept an open mind during the programme, I did already have a focus area coming
into the programme. I was very interested in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and felt
as though this field was an excellent match for my background, experience and
personality. Though CSR was not a major focus of my programme, UMBS allowed me the
space to explore this field as I wished. I chose to complete thesis research on CSR and this
made a significant impact on my career after graduation.
Did you study in a very international group of students in the programme?
Our group did have an international feel. While the majority of our class was Dutch or
Belgian, we also had Irish, Korean, American and Mexican students.
How did your career go after you graduated?
My career has been going well since graduation. After graduation I stayed in Europe for
several months before transitioning back to life in the US. During this transition and
searching for a permanent job, I worked as a freelance project consultant. I am sure that I
was only afforded this opportunity thanks to my new MBA degree. In February of this year,
I began my permanent position as Public Relations Manager for Macys.
Where do you live now and what do you do?
I now live in New York City and I am the Public Relations Manager for Macys East. Macys
is a very large retail company with more than 800 stores nationwide. Macys East is the
division that covers locations on the eastern seaboard of the US from Washington DC to
Maine. As Public Relations Manager I am responsible for cause-related marketing efforts
and strategic partnerships with non-profit organizations. The goal of our department is to
create win-win programmes in which we give back to the community and drive business
for our company. To give one example, each year my department executes a community
shopping day. For several months prior to this event, any non-profit organization may sell
shopping passes that entitle the purchaser to a day of special discounts, promotions and
events on the community shopping day. The non-profit organizations keep 100% of the
proceeds from their shopping pass sales. Last year the Macys organization raised $9 million
for charities through this event alone and our sales volume on that day was one of the most
significant of the year.
How did you experience the UMBS MBA programme?
The UMBS programme offers many benefits that cannot be obtained in other
programmes. Maastricht is a wonderful and friendly city from which all of Europe is easily
accessible. Having an international experience is incredibly important, especially in todays
global marketplace. The international classroom makes for a well-rounded exchange of
ideas that is not easy to find in other programmes. My time at UMBS/Maastricht is certainly
one of the most important experiences of my life. It has afforded me career opportunities
that I would not have otherwise had. Many people that I have met since graduation have
been very interested in learning more about my experience at UMBS and I am incredibly
proud to share my stories with them. Choosing this course of study and course of life has
already proven to have a significant, positive impact on my future.