Interview with Nuno Filipe de Sousa Fernandes
Interview with Nuno Filipe de Sousa Fernandes

"The program and structure that Athena Global Education provides are excellent, allowing students the flexibility to manage their learning on their own free time."

Nuno Filipe de Sousa Fernandes
Manager II, Network Operations

Executive MBA Batch 2021

Please tell us something about yourself, your family and your interests.

I am Nuno, 39 years old, originally from Portugal, married, and currently with no kids. I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering, with more than 12 years of IT experience ranging from Project Management, both Engineering and Managerial. More than anything else, I enjoy teamwork, building high-performance teams and making history through outstanding achievements. I am looking forward to expand my skill sets and incorporate academic foundations through an EMBA that can guide me towards a more strategic management area.

I like to spend my free time with my family, exercise, read, travel, and meet with friends. I try to cultivate a positive outlook of life and take everything that comes my way as an opportunity to become a better person.

What drew you to the program you are studying at Athena? Is it living up to your expectations?

The main goal of enrolling in the EMBA program is to provide myself with the academic foundations that will assist me in developing a more strategic view of management. Those will be crucial to support the decision-making to fulfill a business vision.

Being a student while having to fulfill your current job responsibilities can be challenging, particularly the issue of time management. The program and structure that provides are excellent, allowing students the flexibility to manage their learning on their own free time. This model has been revealed to be highly valuable as it provides a unique opportunity for anyone to study and advance their academic careers no matter what time zone and position they are in.

What would you like to learn next? What are your next career steps?

After completing my EMBA, I will look into advancing my studies towards either a Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) or a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), or a Project Management Professional (PMP).

Tell us about a couple of your achievements that have been particularly rewarding.

Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity of achieving a great range of skill sets by overcoming challenges and delivering outstanding projects. For example, while working as a senior network engineer for the government, I owned and delivered a wireless hotspot solution from its concept design through its implementation. The project allowed me to sharpen my skill set from networking through security and software development. That project enabled anyone to access free Wi-Fi in every public space of that city.

Another example refers to a larger cloud corporation where I executed an Innovative structure to support any employee in developing programming language skills from ground up. This program has brought to life new software applications that have transformed the way that teams operate and resulted in numerous savings from project lead time reduction to man-hours. In my professional development, these achievements have allowed me to establish a vision, produce a concept and implement a sustainable and scalable solution that has been extended towards the EMEA level.

What acquired skill have you always wanted to learn?

I always wanted to learn and develop my strategy skills to progress from business analysis to business strategy. That will sharpen my ability to identify opportunities, decide which ones to follow, and then to develop a strategy that will define how the company will leverage those.

If you could go back in time, what time would you go to?

If I could go back, I would go back to the year when I finished my bachelor’s degree so as to proceed towards an MBA earlier. I know it's never too late, but having that academic background in management would have proven highly valuable in so many situations.

Any person, living or dead, you would like to have dinner with?

I would love to have dinner with Barack Obama. He has been an inspiring leader and I would definitely have a lot to learn from him. I guess one of my core questions to him would be: What was his biggest learning from his time as an acting president of the U.S.A.? And, what pillars or guidelines he used on a daily basis to assist him on being the great president that he was?

Which fictional character would you like to meet?

I would like to meet Luke Skywalker. Mainly because I do believe that all human beings are derived from the same source of energy, no matter what background they are from. Being able to meet him and ask him more about the nature of the Force would allow me to have a better understanding on how that energy flows and ultimately, would assist me to better understand people and their behavior patterns.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? How has it changed your life?

The best advice I have ever been given was from a colleague who is currently in a senior management position and interestingly, he was part of the interview panel for my recruitment. When I decided to move towards managerial role, I was advised that if I wanted to be a great manager, then I should become the manager I would have liked to have when I was an engineer. That advice changed my mindset in pursuit of that profession. Being a great manager is really challenging and there is no straight answer to it. I would say it’s a day-to-day challenge and only with different experiences will you find the learnings to shape and pursue that goal.

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