MLB Graduate Story: Kimberly Ewton
Please introduce yourself. What’s your name and where are you from? What is your academic background and what did you do before you joined the program?
I started the MLB program with an academic background in the humanities and approximately 10 years of work experience in the media and advertising agency. I had a degree in German literature from the Universtiy of Virgina and immediately prior to starting at Bucerius had worked as Creative Director at an international advertising agency in Hamburg.
What made you decide to apply for the MLB at Bucerius Law School especially as you have neither a Business nor a law background?
My motivation behind taking part in the program was to add formalized, academic experience to the leadership experience I had gathered in practice. I had reached a point in my career, at which I was unsure how to break through to the next level, and I felt that taking a step back, doing a master degree and benefiting from the insight of the professors and students from completely different industries would help me achieve this goal.
What was the highest challenge?
It would be hard for me to pinpoint one particular challenge. In general, I would say I was often confronted by the fact that I had often relied upon my instincts when tackling complex situations. And, as we all know, instincts are subconscious reactions based on experience. However, when the challenge was, for example, to evaluate a patent application or calculate the value of a company, I had no experience to draw upon and had to reprogram my instincts in order to apply very specific methodologies. I had to consciously discipline myself to apply an entirely new way of thinking.
What was the greatest benefit?
The greatest personal benefit was the confidence that came from successfully completing such a challenging program. I also truly enjoyed serving as our Class Representative, because this gave me the chance to get to know each of my fellow students and contribute to the program in a unique way.
Professionally, I have a much more in-depth understanding of how companies work and the types of challenges C-level managers face. As a result, I am much better able to speak with our clients on an equal level, because I understand the broader context, in which the work I do exists. I also learned that successfully addressing today’s business problems requires utmost respect for complexity.
What would you say is the unique selling point of the MLB at Bucerius?
The intensity of the program is, in my opinion, clearly the one thing that sets the program apart from others. By that I am referring to both the curriculum, as well as the type of mentoring you can receive. If you are willing to dedicate one year to the program, you will notice that the time flies by and that at on Graduation Day you can be proud of a degree from a highly ranked institution with your name on it. At the same time, I am also referring to the vested interest the professors have in your success – all of them when above and beyond what was required in terms of accessibility outside of the classroom and often took the time to discuss specific issues, dealing with our particular areas of interest and thesis topics.
What have you been doing since graduation? What position did you go through and what is your actual main responsibility? Can you tell us more about your way from Bucerius to Select World?
Immediately following graduation I was presented with the opportunity to start working within the Business Development team at a well known, international law firm. In the end, I decided to continue working in the advertising agency and accepted an offer at Select World, an internal agency for luxury and beauty brands, after working freelance for about a year after leaving Bucerius. At Select World I started as Creative Director but now also serve as Chief Digital Officer. My focus is on brand building in digital channels and shifting the culture of the agency towards one that embraces new technology and agile working processes.
How do the knowledge and skills you a acquired in the MLB program make you better in this job? Would you be there where you are without the MLB?
Where would I be without my degree from Bucerius? Probably in a very frustrated place. I had countless eureka moments during the program in both my law and business classes, in which I realized that I had been working within a professional filter bubble. By stepping outside of it, I am not only a better creative, but I am also much more qualified to take part in business decisions that affect our clients and our agency on the whole. I no longer work only as a creative, but now also as a kind of creative consultant.
Though there are many Creative Directors who do not have post graduate degrees – much the less one in law and/or business – I know that my decision to obtain one was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has not only given me a USP, but has also empowered me to assess our assignments in the agency from a more strategic perspective and has helped me make better decisions along the way that have pushed my career as well as the teams I lead forward.