Izidora Angel (EMBA’06) is a writer and literary translator passionate about brand strategies and advertising. Living a life between three countries and two continents, she is the co-founder of Third Coast Translators Collective (TCTC), an international community of literary translators based in Chicago that advocates for minority linguistic representation, women in translation, and fair translation wages. She also founded her own advertising company called Against Type, which helps startups and global players find their voice, use it to engage their audiences, and drive their business forward. This year Izidora was named a 2023 National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellow – a grant which she will invest in a future project of hers.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the AUBG Executive MBA program, we are talking to some of the alumni who were part of this journey. Izidora shared with us more about her Executive MBA studies and the networking possibilities she had.
One of the most crucial aspects of the program is that you end up discussing based on what everyone’s backgrounds and interests and jobs are.
Why EMBA at AUBG
I came across a banner for the American University MBA program. You know how internet marketing works, and whoever was in charge of making those banners way back in the day deserves credit. It was a little bit impulsive because I wasn’t necessarily familiar with the program, but I saw the banner and I clicked on it, and I became interested in finding out more.
And I was one of the youngest people ever admitted to the master’s program there, which was a really interesting and useful experience for me. I decided to enroll because I was looking to do a master’s program. I was working at a magazine at the time, but I was really interested in the business aspect of things. I’m on the creative side a lot in my work.
We had this incredible cohort and I think it’s still kind of like a legendary cohort in the sense that all of us became such good friends and stayed as such.
Obviously, I’m back in America now and we don’t see each other that much, but they’re all leaders in banking, telecommunications, health care. All these are really important, integral industries for the economy of the country. And we have stayed in touch and been like godparents to each other’s kids and hired each other and given each other jobs. And it’s really, really incredible.
My biggest takeaway from the program was that my perspective was different than a lot of the other people there. There were people in the energy sector, in the banking sector, telecommunications, and I was on the media, journalism, creative side.
And it was really interesting to see how the conversation can get hijacked when you have people that are in a certain type of industry with a certain kind of background. But it was really useful to me to see all these other industries and to offer my point of view on things as well, and see how those conversations go. One of the most crucial aspects of the program is that you end up discussing based on everyone’s backgrounds and interests and jobs.
I learned some really valuable lessons very, very early on. I was only 24 years old when I did the program, but I’m really happy that the university accepted me. Looking back on it now, one of the most valuable lessons that I learned, which is very useful to know early on, is that business structures and organizations rely heavily on hierarchies. We can pretend that’s not the case, but you won’t succeed if you don’t understand the hierarchy and the importance of it and what your position is within it.
One of the most valuable lessons I learned early on was when a professor said: “Don’t ever embarrass your boss.” And that really resonated with me and stayed with me for a long time, because I think that it’s my nature to want to challenge the status quo and a lot of managers don’t want to be challenged. You need to find a way to make a point and create an impact in the organization and find allies.
Piece of advice
If you are able to get information on who the other potential people in the cohort are and what industries they represent, it’s an incredible networking opportunity ahead of getting info on the other members of the cohort. As I said, in my cohort of 20-something people, we have been friends on a personal and professional level for a really long time.
So get your current employer to pay for it and then go and do it. It’s a commitment for sure, but it’s something that can really change your life.