Name: Leighla Bowers

Place of work: UN World Food Programme

Graduation year: 2016

Current Job: Head of Partnerships and Communications, WFP Ethiopia

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

No matter what career I might choose, I would like helping others to be at the center of it – whether that is through advocacy or communications at the UN or potentially other roles in humanitarian assistance, science or research.

So you finished classes in 2016. Tell us about your experience after your MBA Program.

Shortly after the MBA programme, I accepted a role with WFP in Ethiopia as the Head of Partnerships and Communications. This role includes fundraising, communications and advocacy for one of WFP’s largest programmes. In 2017, WFP supports 5.5 million people through emergency food assistance, nutrition support and resilience activities.

What skillset do you need to do your job?

Strategic thinking, communications expertise and most importantly, the ability to work well with many different types of people.

How has your MBA helped you in your current position?

The teachers at SSM were excellent. Their expertise in their field was impressive, and I enjoyed the hands-on team work. In particular, the class on international law was very interesting and helpful for me as it had direct correlations with my work.

What are your future plans?

It’s hard to know what the future will hold, although one of my top priorities is that I never stop learning and always strive to do better. While I have a passion for humanitarian and development communications, I am also very interested in law and science. Regardless of what career you choose, persistence and determination will pay dividends in life’s fulfillment!

If you could describe your experience in Rome during your MBA how would you sum it up?

Tough and immensely interesting. Who doesn’t love to learn from experts and challenge yourself to expand your knowledge?

What was your favorite class in the program and why?

International Law. Nicoletta taught us the introduction and evolution of law, and its foray into the global theatre. Our textbook was very detailed, well-researched, and generally intense! The class required dedication to understand the concepts and recall the international treaties, and I loved it.

What advice would you give newcomers to the MBA program or for those interested?

If you’re working full-time, it’s not going to be easy but it’s worth it! Set time aside to study and do everything in your power to stick to a schedule. Make learning a habit, and something that you do even if when it’s the last thing you’re thinking of.

What do you think differentiates this MBA from other MBA programs?

The flexibility of SMM was excellent, as the class schedule caters for professionals who work. I really appreciated that I was able to complete it while also focusing on a full-time career.