Alumni opinions

Aleksander Sosnowski, Country Director for Information Systems, Country Director for Quality and Operational Excellence, ABB, Graduate of XXIII Edition

Most of us applying to study MBA at the Warsaw University have four main goals: to gain new theoretical knowledge from economics and widely understood business, systemize the knowledge, meet interesting people from various industries and to experience a fun adventure. I wasn’t very different from most of the students and that was exactly the attitude I started the program with.

After spending a year and a half on Nowy Świat Street, I can say with great certainty that I wasn’t wrong. Everything I expected from the program, the lecturers and my colleagues was given to me in excess. But the intensity of the courses and the high demands overgrew my expectations. If you are not ready to spend many hours and weekends at school, work in the evenings and on several nights – way aside – this program and this University is not for you. It is really hard to reconcile business challenges at work with studying, getting ready for lectures and exams. But at the end it is worth it. The moment after the thesis defense, partying after classes and the trip to India will remain in my memories for a long time (I hope the gained knowledge as well : ) ).

Dr. Remigiusz Lewandowski, Strategy & Marketing Director, PWPW SA, Graduate of the XXII Edition

In contemporary economy managers are expected to possess two essential assets: already acquired competences as well as development potential. The dynamically changing environment makes us use our previous knowledge and experience and, at the same time, forces us to quickly adjust to new conditions and face new challenges.

Executive MBA@UW is a programme which, in my opinion, perfectly meets such expectations. It has been constructed in a way that lets us obtain a few fundamental benefits. Firstly, it is a huge dose of up-to-date managerial knowledge which encompasses the whole range of corporate activities. Even for managers who constantly follow current developments in management science it is very difficult, if not impossible, to select the most significant and intelectually provocative texts in the ocean of zettabytes of information.

Secondly, it is a way of verifying our abilities to cope with the significant increase in the number of new duties and requirements – constant projects, cases and scientific articles put a strain on our time budget and our physical capabilities. It may be compared to taking part in 400 metre hurdles (here: issues we deal with every day at work) immediately after an exhausting cross-country run (which could be compared to EMBA@UW sessions).

Thirdly, the programme fits in perfectly with the global character of current economy. The lecturers come from various academic centres all around the world. Students from my cohort come from Poland and Italy, many of whom have gathered professional experience in different countries.We had two trips abroad during the course, to India and the USA. There we had an opportunity to get acquainted with real business practices used by local and international corporations and exchange our viewpoints with people managing those business entities.Due to all this, the issues we discussed in practically every lesson were analysed in an international context.

Finally, we were provided with an excellent opportunity to cooperate and exchange our points of view with people representing various positions in companies and various industries.It was definitely a valuable effect of the studies and it helped us to leave the box which is limited by the walls of our industry, our position and our experience. Although it might sound cliche, the relationships which we developed in our team are extremely important to me.

Summing up, I am glad to admit that the whole programme, in spite of the burdens it created, was an amazing experience and a source of true intellectual entertainment and fun.

 

Weronika Dejneka, Director of the Office Of Investment Products, PZU, Graduate of the XXI Edition

In my opinion, the greatest strength and value of Executive MBA studies is its people and the ability to build business, academic and private relationships.

Educational value is provided by the teaching staff from the University of Warsaw and also the professors representing prestigious universities from Europe and the USA. This international composition makes it possible to explore other markets and approaches to business with all their economic and cultural differences. Also, the teaching methodology used by Polish and American professors is completely different and worth knowing. From a professional point of view, I was particularly interested in the marketing classes taught by teachers from the U.S.A. and their approach to the customer and competition and the positioning of sales based on solutions and not products.

Executive MBA studies, above all, make it possible to establish relationships with intelligent professionals who are open to new ideas and experiences. The most valuable aspect of the Program was the possibility to get to know and compare one’s experiences with the knowledge and experience of people on different paths and career levels, coming from various industries. Sharing experiences with people working in different sectors of the economy is an inspiration for further action. A value in itself is provided by networking, that is building a network of contacts by means of lasting relationship for the purpose of providing each other support and help. Both the Program and the Association of its graduates make it fully possible.

Executive MBA studies allow the world of science and business to intersect in order to build an active platform for cooperation, sharing experiences, broadening knowledge and horizons of management.

 

Michał Styś, Managing Director, OPG Orange Property Group, Graduate of the XXI Edition

I am an architect by profession. For me, the Executive MBA Program was, in large part, an opportunity to acquire new knowledge about optimizing organization and quantitative techniques in decision-making process as well as theoretical knowledge in the field of micro- and macroeconomics. The Program, however, helped to consolidate the basic knowledge about management accounting and broadly defined finances. After all, it added a new value to the skills needed for managing people, marketing, sales, negotiation and building relationships with customers.

Numerous assignments and group projects constituted an interesting experience and at the same time a challenge. This made it possible to share experiences and techniques used for managing people and assignments but first and foremost to put yourself to a test.

In addition to very interesting experience with a business simulation game that made it possible to understand multiple aspects of the functioning of the market and observe business decisions being taken in groups in real time, one of the most interesting elements of the Program was the Consulting Project. The project requires a great deal of commitment, determination, self-control and cooperation skills but is always set in organizational or business reality.

As I mentioned before, the group is a very important element. Not only at the level of project teams but first of all meaning the group of people with whom one remains in contact after graduation.

I am a co-owner of OPG Orange Property Group, which operates in the sector of property project management, real estate and asset management and real estate investment. I have international experience in small and medium-sized organizations. OPG Orange Property Group operates in Lodz so far. However, the establishment and development of managerial expertise in the Program provides theoretical and often practical basis required to develop new products and better fit customers’ needs and requirements and perhaps win new markets!

 

Sylwester Gabriel Wybranowski,
Menedżer ds. Sprzedaży Apartamentów, Dom Development S.A.,
Graduate of the XXI Edition

Executive MBA means business plus emotions wrapped up in academic patterns.

After finishing the final project presentation, one may breathe a sigh of relief. Immediately, though, comes the time for reflection and answering the question: “What did my life look like before?”. Three semesters full of sacrifices, sleepless nights, waking up in the morning, tons of analyzed documents, hundreds of pages of text read, numerous meetings with people one did not know before and hours spent on discussions.

Executive MBA Program is a search for balance. Each of the program participants comes with a baggage of experience from various fields and segments of the market. For many years, my professional experience had been related to the property development market, primarily in the field of sales. For me personally, Executive MBA Program was the next planned step in the search for the ability to maintain full awareness and balance. In the current reality in which access to information is becoming faster and easier, balance and awareness allow you to make the most informed decisions.

Executive MBA Program is a search of balance on the level of emotions in business. So many examples of conflicts and their solutions are not purely down to numbers alone, that is the financial aspects of doing business, but also result from correct reading of human emotions and correct, conscious reactions.

Executive MBA Program is a challenge to search for the balance in relations with others. Almost overnight, you become a member of a group that comprises people of all ages, with varying degrees of professional, cultural, emotional and family experience. The only solution is to offer your support to the whole group, because only in this way can you receive the support of all the members.  At the end, it will turn out that many of these people will become your friends or business partners.

Therefore when we breathe the sigh of relief after the presentation of the final project, it will dawn on us that we have become a part of an elite community of Executive MBA Graduates.


 


Mariusz Chochołek, Business Solutions Director, Orange Polska S.A., Graduate of the XXI Edition

Today's market challenges associated with the unprecedented pace of evolution of business models, mutual interaction of previously separated industries and growing role of technology in shaping the competitiveness of companies require that managers develop a new, much more transversal approach to improving their skills and knowledge. I am convinced that the Executive MBA program constitutes a unique offer for those seeking broader perspective on real business problems and the proper balance between access to the latest advances in the theory of management and the practical approach to one’s achieving business goals.

An element that should be recognized in particular is the cohesive and well thought-out content of the program combined with intensive cooperation within the groups that comprise accomplished managers who wish to share their experience.

Not without significance for the quality of the lectures and discussions is the thoroughly selected teaching staff that includes professors who represent the most prestigious business schools from Europe and around the world. Thanks to them as well as the students from different countries, the program acquires a truly international character.

For me personally, crucial was the possibility to immediately use the knowledge acquired during the course in everyday business practice. For this reason, the three semesters spent of the Program are a great investment and provide invaluable contribution into conscious building of one’s professional career.

 

Tomasz Németh, President of the Management Board, CEO of Gedeon Richter Polska Sp. z o.o., Graduate of the XXI Edition

The three most important qualities of the course are:

1. Cooperation: most of the assignments are done in small groups, so the members of these small groups have to learn to cooperate, delegate tasks and establish a common position. Taking into consideration the fact that almost all students are senior executives, this alone provides a valuable experience in itself.

2. Perspective: despite the fact that most of the subjects are known, especially for people who graduated from economics or management, these subjects are presented from a slightly different perspective which broadens one’s horizons.  Very important is the fact that the lectures and exercises focus on practical application of a particular subject and do not break against scientific theories.

3. Community: Different industries, different people but also many valuable contacts. Practices applied in seemingly completely different industries can be implemented in one’s own company and vice versa.

 

Janusz Buława – Secretary General, Member of the Management Board, CFO, Eiffage Polska Budownictwo S.A., Graduate of the XX Edition

Over a dozen years of professional experience in different countries and on different jobs at multinational corporation made me to think whether my knowledge and skills are truly adequate to the more and more challenging business environment. I decided to take part in the Executive MBA Program, hoping to meet business practitioners, experts in various fields, and managers facing similar challenges in everyday life – I truly counted that the Program would offer authentic inspiration, allowing to verify my stand point and to draw from experience of the others.
The WIEMBA Program met all my expectations – classes with experienced lecturers, business contacts, work in groups on solving problems deriving from different operational fields of a contemporary organization turned out to be a great opportunity to broaden my horizon, to make sure my choices were right, and to realize my own mistakes. In particular, “Negotiations in business”, “Marketing” and “Behavioral science” sank into my memory. I was positively surprised that all the program’s modules were known to me from the previous business practice. Thanks to that the entire Program made a perfect supplement and enhancement of my professional career. In addition, the WIEMBA schedule leaves you some time to family life on Sundays, which, in my case, was very important.

Jarosław Pękala – Sales Director, Skanem, Graduate of the XX Edition

From time perspespective, I consider taking a decision on studying at the MBA program was a right move. I was aware that in the dynamically changing business environment, my experience, based on humanistic and law education,  needed developing, systemizing, and most importantly, confronting with experience of the others.
The faculty makes the WIEMBA program’s asset. Classes carried out by experienced practitioners give not only quintessence of knowledge, but also a large set of supplementary materials , which I often go back to during present projects. Every class, thanks to an interactive form, workshops, team work, and case studies provided a look from different angles, and various perspectives to the same problem, and at the same time confronting opinions of students and professors. Apart from the renown faculty, to me even more important was possibility of diving into interesting topics – brain storming, sharing ideas and doubts, pointing out the right sources of knowledge, which I deem now priceless. What has also remained, apart from knowledge and capabilities, is a network of great people. During classes, one of the professors noted that we would probably never find ourselves again in such an intelligent and versatile group of people.  Most importantly, we  have shared joint passions which make us even closer: family, friends, and challenges. That is why it is so important we stay in touch, consulting each other not only on business matters.

Shanmugaraja Kathiresan – Assistant Vice President in Strategic IT Solutions Delivery Department, Citigroup Poland, Graduate of the XIX Edition

THE WIEMBA is an excellent program and I would recommend this for anyone who wants to be successful in this ever-changing marketplace or start their own business. The professors (both US and Polish) are very committed and talented in their respective areas of specialization.

The learning methodology is structured to support team work and learning through interesting case studies. This approach supports to create strong network and very good friendships. Though the schedule of the course looks demanding, the benefits of this program surely outweigh the personal sacrifices.

All the details of the program are carefully planned; be it the trip to US, orientation program and class schedules with US professors. In many cases the program management was flexible to make certain changes to the schedule based on our group request.

To close on a personal note, I will rate this program as the most intellectual part of my academic life.

Barbara Sikora - Finance Director, Member of The Board, Centrum Development and Investments Group and Immobel Poland, Graduate of the XIX Edition

I have decided to take the Warsaw – Illinois Executive MBA Program for several reasons. Most importantly for a need to confront my professional experience with the latest trends and achievements of the science, in other words:  to regularize the practice in the theory frames. My expectations came true thanks to such wonderful courses as: negotiations in business, strategic management, legal aspects of managerial decisions, marketing, and International management. Thanks to exceptional professors, recognized experts in respective fields, and at the same time, practitioners,  my evaluation of these courses is very affirmative.

Completing the Program is quite an organizational challenge, in particular when one has a demanding corporate job. However, an MBA Program gives you more, especially  if you expect more, and more time you can assign to the learning process (developed by the  best Universities in the World) in order to confront a theory with the business practice. A strategic, simulation game best pictures such a learning experience. While playing the game, we could feel as a one team managing a large organization, and time spent on analyzing the competition, implementing the knowledge just learnt, as well as diverse professional experience of team members applied, were all translated into our organization’s result. A consulting project which we had to prepare,  made another key element of our studies. We were working not only on solving a specific, organizational problem of a company operating in a real market, in cooperation with its Management Board and key employees, but also we had to introduce such tools and methods that would satisfy the sponsor of our project. With great satisfaction,  I may say that the project was very well received and at the same time, made the best credentials for the WIEMBA Program. The more good students, the more value of an MBA program, the more we all can learn from each other. Thanks to the Program, I have met many professional, exceptional people, and the new acquaintances, both professional and private, make the capital to last for years.

Marek Wiśniewski – Managing Director, Member of the Board, Polchar Ltd., Graduate of the XIX Cohort

Motivation, enthusiasm, commitment, hard work, inspiration, success, joy and satisfaction – these are the most important feelings that accompanied my Executive MBA studies. What are the distinctive elements of the Program, constituting its competitive advantage?

Achieving, deepening and systemizing theoretical knowledge, obviously, constituted  key elements of the studies, but they were barely their small part. Exploring the knowledge and fostering an attitude to put it into practice were definitely the most important features of the Program. Moreover, a true, not declarative, executive aspect made also its value.
Outstanding professors, unquestionable authorities from Polish and American universities, were our lecturers and mentors, non-compromising as far as the knowledge and abilities are concerned. They were the experts, and, at the same time, partners or even friends - during and after classes.

A carefully selected, solely in English, program of the studies, with emphasis on its applicableness, embraced all important aspects of management through a wide cafeteria of didactical methods: from lectures, work-shops, discussions, through cases, strategic games and simulations, individual and team work, and exciting trip to US, to a professional, consulting project.
These studies integrate the group right from the beginning, creating possibility to share views and experience among different business practitioners, discussing how to design the future. The studies do not only represent  the best meaning of the “Executive MBA”, do  not only offer  a chance to learn and work within the group of managers with great, professional experience, but they are also a continuous coaching project, where outstanding professors make the couches – with great knowledge and experience, with orientation to help, assist, inspire, and motivate to solve complicated business problems, which we all have to face today in the World of incredible challenges and dynamic transformations.

The Executive MBA is an effective way of studying, stimulating initiative, creativity and the courage to act.  Its measurable, professional benefits, as well as success were meaningful to me, not only after graduation, but also during the studies. If you are considering to undertake them, do not hesitate and let yourself be snatched by the challenge. Join the adventure!

Rajasekhar Cheemakurthi - Director, Fraud and Disputes Management, Corporate Service Operations, Geoban, Grupo Santander, graduate of XVIII Edition

While developing business skills and knowledge, EMBA allowed me to gain a strong business network, and life-long friendships and personal growth. The professors are dedicated experts in their fields and shared the wealth of their enormous practical experience, reality and wisdom. The cohort style of the EMBA was truly rewarding and fun.

Dominik Zawadzki - Marketing Director, Sanitec Koło, graduate of XVIII Edition

Executive MBA is a much different experience from traditional studies.

First of all classes are held in a rather small group of students of whom all are experienced managers. Secondly the course material is much condensed into key areas that are helpful in everyday work on managerial positions. Therefore MBA students receive only the most necessary substance of information about how the company and its outside environment function. And all this is given by very good Polish and American professors with support of excellent books, case studies and practical exercises. Final consulting project is also an excellent experience. On one hand side it is always good to learn how those kind of papers should be prepared in professional way. On the other it is valuable occasion to compare own opinions and working methods with colleagues from other industries and with various professional backgrounds. Even though the amount of work especially in 2nd semester was huge we all had a lot fun to work and learn together.

Jarosław Starczewski - Client Carrier Branch Director, Telekomunikacja Polska, graduate of XVIII Edition

Telecommunication market that I work on is abundant in dynamic changes as well as fast technological development, which requires from the management higher qualifications not only within computer field but mainly within business one.

My every day work involves duties which demand great initiative, creativity and quick thinking under time pressure.  In order to achieve success I need to quickly analyze situation and propose solutions. Accomplishing all of the mentioned above is eased by MBA studies which not only help to systematize knowledge but also provide with a great deal of practice

The classes were conducted in Business English which turned out to be extremely helpful in my every day work with partners and customers from abroad.
These studies broaden the apprehension of business and management. Cooperation of my branch both with carriers and internal departments within the company translates into notable benefits and financial results.

MBA means contacts with people working for the best companies on the market, which gives the new look at certain business activities. 
The experience of students as well as the knowledge of lecturers greatly contribute to the inestimable benefits which can be drawn from participating such studies.

Małgorzata Matusiewicz - Marketing Director, UPS, graduate of XVI Edition

Great challenge even for those who 'know it all'. You get exposed to all aspects of running a company - you will never again be intimidated by strange terms and ideas form your Finance or Manufacturing departments. You work in a group of seasoned managers, who never accept anything just on its face value - a great chance to learn a lot from them but also an obligation to give a lot back. Last but not least - time spent here provides you an opportunity to take a step back and have a good look at what you have been doing in your daily job. As a result you start to implement changes in what in the beginning seemed to be perfect. In this way the program stays with you long after you graduate.

Jakub Kłoczewiak - CEO, Orange Customer Service Sp. z o.o., graduate of XVI Edition 

I have been a corporate manager for years, so MBA studies gave me a chance for a better perspective on my professional achievements. I mostly valued team work and an opinion of experts – it was a unique opportunity to gain new experience – after years of judging others I had a chance to be judged by professionals.

In no doubt I will mostly recall a visit at Illinois University in Urbana Champaign - apart from very nice and positive final of the studies I had a possibility to compare colleges in Poland and USA; approach and concept of mentoring, the way the American professors give lectures, their knowledge and personal engagement in transferring this knowledge to students.

Time and effort invested in common work brought significant results already during the studies – except for my personal satisfaction I also enlarged business contacts’ net. I am confident that after many courses and trainings I took part in, participation in MBA program is one of my best life-time investments.

Rui Carvalho - ColepCCL, graduate of XV Edition

The EMBA provided a vast management knowledge that fulfilled gaps of my specialized qualification and it opened for me interesting professional perspectives. The program created useful habits of work, self-discipline and allowed me to meet professionals of high intellectual and human level in a friendship environment which largely exceeded my expectations.

Evgeny Roshchupkin – AVON Cosmetics, graduate of XIV Edition

The program allowed me to seriously widen my business perspective. It armed me with knowledge and tools to be an effective top executive of any company in any country. The studies inspired me to persue the general management career in my company. The true uniqueness of this program is the feeling of a world-class business studies experience, which you get without leaving Warsaw. Besides, the great atmosphere in class and the remarkable individuals who studied with us make me miss the times we spend together during the program.

Włodzimierz Sobczyk – Kompania Piwowarska, graduate of XI Edition

As a typical "techie", I considered marketing the occupation suitable only for day-dreaming money-spenders. Prof. Sudharshan has shown that marketing can be also an art of disciplined, analytical thinking - for me an "eye-opener" served in a very likeable manner. It was very challenging, but also enjoyable and stimulating experience. In short, that's what the Executive MBA is supposed to be.

Man-ying Chen - graduate of XIII Edition

The Warsaw-Illinois Executive MBA program not only equipped me with management skills and knowledge but also made me to re-discover my own values and career potential. Prof. Krzysztof Obłój's Strategic Management is one of the most challenging and amazing classes. As a distinguished academic and practitioner of management, he always created a great classroom atmosphere and led us to draw conclusions by taking a right course of actions among a mass of both useful and redundant information!

Agata Raniecka – CEO of Dixi-Car. Graduate of VIII Edition

EMBA course took two years of my life but gave me back a lot - knowledge (so important to manager!) and best friendships. It was time of studying during the night, meeting wonderful people, knowing myself. And now, when it is over, I finally feel how much it gave me. I use my knowledge every day, it helps me work, it kills the business stress, it shows my value. I truly believe it was worth my time and money and I would say everybody should do it! So, just try!

Paweł Wujec, Agora SA, Internet Programming Director, Graduate of X Edition

Professor Obloj's strategy class was truly amazing. Extensive theoretical background, first-rate case studies, great classroom atmosphere. It's intellectually challenging. It's practical. And, due to professor Obloj's sharp sense of humor, it's also funny.

Jarosław Urban, CEO and Managing Director in Metsä Tissue. Graduate of X Edition

One of the most exciting subjects within MBA course we went through was reengineering. The number of cases and workshops helped us understand that processes can be shaped thus fundamentally changing an organization by designing new business internal environment. We learned that process management is at the same time an excellent tool of learning one's organization and building commitment as very often employees gathered in project teams "build the common house". Additionally tutor's professional approach and his wide experience gave the feeling of well tailored program were theory and practice were balanced. FULLY RECOMMENDED!

Zdzisław Ingielewicz – former CEO, Zakłady Chemiczne Dwory S.A. Oświęcim Graduate of IX Edition

I am an engineer, with an extensive practical experience and a lot of professional training. I decided to start an Executive MBA at the University of Warsaw in 2000 (as an oldest student in the group!) in order to supplement and tie together my practical experience and training with new concepts and systemic knowledge offered at the program. I decided on this particular program because of very high reputation of University of Warsaw and University of Illinois, and personal reputation of Prof. Krzysztof Obłój as distinguished academic and practitioner of management. I must say that my expectations were met, but it was not stressless experience. I got through the program successfully, learnt a lot of new things, and met new people. I must say that from the perspective of a bit older participants I was watching with pleasure how from a group of individualists with different backgrounds (engineers, physicians, psychologists, economists, linguists etc.) we became a cohesive group of participants that understood each other and had common goals. Our language changed over time, and our discussions dealt with new topics. Initial criticism toward lecturers changed over time into admiration of their skills and knowledge, maybe not in all cases but that is life. I had the best notes that I ever made in my life from lectures of Prof. Larry DeBrock in the field of microeconomics. His hand made transparencies and clarity of presentation were truly an example how one should communicate. Prof. K. Obłój class in strategy showed us how in the situations of lack or redundancy of information instead of getting lost draw smart conclusions about right courses of action. Dr W. Piotrowski made a real show of his class in organizational behavior. These and other experiences allow me not to regret all the time that I devoted in this program and make me proud that I am one of the alumni. And on a lighter note I also proved to my kids that study at the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH) that in the internal family competition their father can still make it!

Szymon Gutkowski, Managing Director - Corporate Profiles DDB. Graduate of X Edition

I work in marketing consulting and to my surprise also in marketing class I have structured my knowledge and learned new concepts.


 

Association of MBAs (AMBA) - is an international association involved in research in the field of management studies. The institution recognizes international accreditations for university programs leading Master of Business Administration.

MCZ UW is accredited by AMBA since 2007.

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International Management Center


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