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Western Union CEO Ersek speaks at MBA Graduation

16. Juni 2015

In his speech, Hikmet Ersek urged the Global Executive MBA graduates to exploit change as an opportunity and shared with them his very personal formula for success.

The WU Executive Academy and the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management held a ceremony to mark the 15th anniversary of the Global Executive MBA and the graduation of the 2014-2015 Global Executive MBA class. This very special event was attended not only by the graduates and their families but also by the students of the 2015-2016 Global Executive MBA class and another 120 guests of honor.

Following words of welcome from the program's academic directors, Prof. Bodo B. Schlegelmilch and Prof. Mike Houston, the rector of WU Vienna, Prof. Christoph Badelt, and the Carlson School of Management's dean, Prof. Sri Zaheer, took the opportunity to offer their congratulations on the 15th anniversary of the Global Executive MBA.

An exceptional manager's formula for leadership success

The undoubted highlight of the afternoon was a rousing guest speech by Hikmet Ersek. The CEO of Western Union allowed the newly minted MBAs personal insights into his unique international career and pointed out what modern-day management is really about:

"In a globalized and digitally interconnected world in which the pace of change is constantly increasing, the demands placed on your managerial skills will alter over time. However, there are some guiding principles you should always adhere to: Keep it simple and ask yourself about the whys and wherefores behind things. Give employees the freedom to make decisions, and you will be surprised at what they can do. Get people on board who share your passion and who believe that it is always possible for businesses to change for the better."

Hikmet Ersek is also convinced that diversity gives businesses a competitive edge that is often underestimated. Having worked with international peers for 14 months, Global Executive MBA graduates are perfectly aware of the fact that diversity is an asset: "In my career, I visited more than 80 countries. This has taught me to be open to other cultures, ideas and traditions. What is considered 'normal' in one country may be 'strange' in another. Good executives go through life with their eyes and ears wide open and are familiar with the particularities of other countries and cultures."

"I have always been open-minded; I have learned to believe in others. I have learned to question things. And I have learned to treat people with respect. I have learned how important it is to be passionate about what you do—no matter what it is. In my opinion, this is what really makes a successful executive."

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