Sierra Prochna

Sierra Prochna

M.S. in Global Commerce & M.S. in Global Strategic Management with a Certificate in International Management, University of Virginia, ESADE Business School, Lingnan (University) College 2017

B.S. in Commerce and Spanish; University of Virginia 2015

Now:  Customer Management Graduate Rotational Program, Rolls-Royce (three 6-month rotations in domestic and international offices)

Hometown: Syracuse, New York (USA)

Languages: English, Spanish

Why did you choose this program?

I have always wanted to work internationally in some form or another. I've studied abroad multiple times before, and I had an undergraduate business degree, but I wanted to find a way to meld the two "legitimately" together, if you will, for a future employer to recognize that my business degree and international experience can work together in a valuable way. This program helped me do that, and of course, the opportunity to live abroad again sounded great!

What did you enjoy most about the program?

Meeting all of my classmates and developing relationships with them throughout the year. I know that I have friends all around the world that I could always drop in and visit if I found myself in their area! In line with that, I enjoyed the opportunity to work with all of them and experience how people from other cultures do business. Also, I really enjoyed the travel opportunities!

What was your most memorable class and why?

I loved our Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility class at ESADE. These days, we frequently hear the buzzwords "climate change" and "global warming," but I think few people are educated about our environment and social climate and how companies have a role in affecting them and, hopefully, improving the planet's situation (before this class, I was one of those people!). The class taught us how we, in future managerial positions, could have a positive effect on both society (in terms of social well-being around the world) and the natural environment. I think it's something that everyone should learn about these days, or sooner, rather than later, we won't have a world to work in. 

What advice would you give future students?

Be open to new experiences. Don't say no to opportunities to try new things and go new places. For example, pigeon might be served to you in China--try it! Even if you didn't like it, you can always say you ate pigeon! Also, it's really easy to hang out with people from your country, but try to force yourself to hang out with those from other countries. Some of my friendships with those from very different countries than I were the most rewarding.

What was your favorite activity/event/memory in each location?

Charlottesville: Our "Friendsgiving" was an awesome experience. First of all, it was hilarious trying to prepare food for 60 people in one kitchen. The best part was sharing the traditional Thanksgiving experience with our international friends, and appreciating the company we were in.

Guangzhou: I was able to take part in a typical Chinese business dinner with one of my best friend's parent's colleagues. She had to translate for both sides, but we were all having a wildly good time. I'll never forget that night.

Barcelona: We went up to the Bunkers one night (the Bunkers is a spot that overlooks the whole city) with a big group and a picnic and just watched the sunset. The best parts of this program have been about spending time with these people I'm so close with, but this night happened to have a spectacular background, too.

What’s the biggest thing/skill you will take from this program into your career and life?

The ability to interact and work with people who think and work differently than you do. I've learned that you can't go into a situation and expect that everyone will act the same; different people see things in a myriad of ways based on the context that they grew up in, and it's very interesting to go through the process of understanding that context and then figuring out how it will affect the present. I think we've all become much more flexible in how we work with others after going through this program.