Nationality: German (born in Mozambique)
Job Title: Director Technological Centre
Company: Applus RTD Group
"I work in an international company with offices in 52 countries, and 45% of my time is spent outside my home base Germany and outside the Dutch Head - quarters, so I was looking for ways to improve my capabilities in managing business within an international environment. I discovered the OneMBA fits my needs exactly… I am continually getting insights that help me to better understand and deal with the international business environment."
With your background , drive, ambition, and high level of education– you started school at the age of 9 in Mozambique, and now have two PhD degrees in Physics – why the OneMBA?
Simply because the MBA is a programme that really can help anyone do better business, and deal better with business partners. And in particular the OneMBA, because it’s a global programme in which you really directly learn to interact with different cultures.
I work in an international company with offices in 52 countries around the globe, and 45% of my annual work schedule is spent in the offices outside of my home base in Germany, and outside the company’s headquarters in The Netherlands. My job makes me a kind of anchor, linking the various country offices. I encounter business issues from diverse countries, different cultures, different value systems, different ways of seeing and expressing things, on a daily basis. For this reason, I was looking for ways to improve my own capabilities in managing business within an international environment. I discovered the OneMBA programme fits my needs exactly.
Since I’ve joined the OneMBA, I’ve discovered that the issues to be taken into account when managing international business are even more diverse than I’d previously understood. Apart from all the other disciplines, like finance and operations management, which are so important in an MBA course, I am continually getting insights that help me to better understand and deal with an international business environment. In my position, I deal with all these nationalities, and this programme helps me deal with different cultures, values, expectations, personalities – and helps me to better understand them.
You don’t study this in physics!
You are supported by your employer; what are their (and your) expectations about how your OneMBA will benefit the company?
Of course my company expects a good outcome for our business development towards the future. But, it is not only the company’s expectations that matter. It’s also what I expect. I was looking for a global programme – OneMBA fits the needs I have within the company. I’m doing this not only for the company, but also for myself, so that I can bring greater value to my company, to the business we are running and in particular to my areas of responsibility. This is why I am investing all this effort, which is not easy as my family and the company are permanently at highest priority in my agenda.
How has the OneMBA impacted your professional life so far? Is it true that you get immediately applicable knowledge?
Before I joined OneMBA, I was convinced that I knew quite a lot about operations, the role of innovation and marketing, in a global environment - I’ve worked in this particular environment for five years. But when I joined OneMBA, I discovered that international business is even more diverse than I previously understood, and that there are many more things to be aware of and to seriously consider in international business. The OneMBA class composition helps a lot in this regard; my class consists of international executives coming from internationally known organisations. They bring their experience, so every class is already a ‘win win’ situation in terms of everyone sharing.
You currently live in Germany, work in the Netherlands, and are married with two children. How do you manage your schedule, particularly the more demanding parts of the OneMBA (for example the cross-continental team assignments)?
Let’s put it this way: as I’ve said, 45% of my working time, I’m outside of Germany or the Netherlands; so discipline is a very strong element. Discipline, discipline, discipline...it’s the only way to cope with this programme. Setting priorities is key, and not forgetting that I need my time to recover. I’ve made a commitment to myself and my family: weekends I’m at home. It’s time for my lovely wife and my kids. During the week I am fully focused and dedicated to my company. And weekday evenings are for the One MBA.
There are some exceptions of course. The global team assignments – well, we are in a global programme, and we all have different time zones, so we discuss it in the group, find a time that will work for everyone, and put it in the calendar (and I try my best to convince my colleagues to not put it at the weekends!). But sometimes it has to be in the weekend. As long as these are exceptions, I will survive the two years.
RSM’s values include: Sustainability, innovation, and critical thinking. Have you found these values expressed through the OneMBA? You can just choose one if you’d like.
Intelligent innovation brings business excellence and competitive advantage and it is very critical not only for technology driven companies. Critical thinking is for sure one of the key elements I have learned in this programme! That is a very important part of OneMBA, including Personal Leadership Development (PLD). The PLD classes are so great; they are designed so that everyone can be sure they understand who they are, what they are doing, and why. It helps to set up goals, challenging goals and to clearly communicate those, in such a way that people can follow.
PLD helps me to reflect on what I REALLY want in my life but also in business, and how I can get there through the business that I’m doing.
What has been the best part of OneMBA for your so far? And after OneMBA, what does the future hold?
The best part for me – well, I really wanted most to learn finance. It was never really in my focus in the past – controllers help me to get what I need, but it’s more beneficial to see and understand things from a finance perspective. Honestly, finance is challenging for me, and so it’s very profitable for me to learn finance on this course. Operations Management is also part of the course which has helped me to have a broader overview of issues to take into account.
And it’s the whole programme, really, that is the ‘best part’. Even in marketing we touch upon aspects of finance, personal development...it’s all interconnected. That is another aspect of critical thinking - we constantly evolve and integrate our perspectives, so that critical thinking is strengthened.
How have you enjoyed the Global Residencies?
I absolutely enjoyed them! For example, in the US we had a COO from Coca Cola speaking to us – a very young, dynamic person who could see lots of fun in his job. Or in Amsterdam, we had the HR Executive of Novartis Pharma. It’s motivating to see this and reflect upon it…I want to have fun, plus bring high value, to my company. It broadens my perspective when I hear such executives talking about their experiences and challenges, but also making recommendations.
And the future?
I will not keep doing things the same way. I will be sure I take care of my people, and make sure I manage for real performance – sustainable performance, based on intelligent innovation strategies.
And I’ll be sure that I am myself, and not going with the mainstream.
Now I really know what I want – and I know I will achieve what I want – and the company I am working for is a great company, to which I want to bring all these values. This is the main thing since engaging in the OneMBA.