Alumni Hiring Alumni: Why It Pays Off to Recruit Among the WU Executive Club

February 17, 2021

The MBA network as a reliable recruiting tool

As former president of the International Advisory Board (IAB), Peter Wilfinger is aware of the perks that come with a hand-picked alumni network. It was therefore not by coincidence that, searching for new hires for his company Kardex Remstar, he looked no further than to the community of the WU Executive Club. And with great success, as he reports: Professional MBA Marketing & Sales alumna Ada Fast-Iloduba recently started her job as the company’s new marketing & communications manager. Read on to find out how Ada became part of the team at Kardex Remstar.

symbolic pic for recruiting
Recruiting in the "in-house" MBA network brings countless advantages for both sides in the job search.

Peter, your job title at Kardex Remstar says: Director New Business Austria, Hungary, Romania & Slovenia / Managing Director. Can you give us a quick tour of the products and services you offer and tell us how companies benefit from becoming your customers?

Kardex Remstar is among the world leaders of automated warehouse logistics solutions. Our storage lifts, storage carousels, and system solutions accelerate access times by up to 60%, reduce the space needed by up to 400%, and enable real-time inventory checks and a high level of availability at low life-cycle costs. These efficiency boosts enable a ROI within just 12-24 months as well as an improved CO2 and energy footprint. Kardex Remstar looks back on more than 100 years in the business, produces in Germany, and is part of Kardex AG, which is listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange. The company has 1,900 employees in more than 30 countries. At the Austrian subsidiary, we support customers from the consulting phase across planning, realization, and implementation up to long-term life-cycle management.

Peter, Ada and you both completed an MBA program at the WU Executive Academy. What has changed for you professionally after receiving your degree? How has this education helped you reach your career goals? Which specific development opportunities did the program give rise to?

It’s been a few years since I completed my studies – I graduated from the Executive MBA in 2007. A lot has happened since then. The MBA has definitely helped me shape my career in the way I envisioned. Of course, an MBA (and especially the EMBA) is the perfect prerequisite and foundation for a managing position.

How would you describe your managing philosophy? Do you have a role model?

I believe in a democratic or cooperative management style. At our company, we follow the principle of “intent-based leadership.” It’s about creating an environment in which employees contribute actively and are proud of their work. It helps them understand their role within the company, the strategy, and goals, and it inspires and motivates them, which leads to them taking on more responsibility on their own.

What made you turn to the WU Executive Club in your search for a new employee?

Sometimes, you just need a stroke of luck, and serendipity always plays a part. We didn’t contact the network actively; the vacancy was posted on LinkedIn and also on WU EA Connect.

What did you do? Can you describe the search process?

We were lucky enough to receive a number of really great applications through WU EA Connect and LinkedIn. Each applicant went through the same procedure. There was no secret agreement or special treatment for anyone. This would be against our principle of equality. I was only marginally involved in Ada’s application process. She made top of the list because of her technical expertise and language skills. And, of course, because she is a perfect fit for our team!

What benefits are there to recruiting new staff members from one’s own MBA alumni network? Is there some kind of common ground that you can rely on?

That’s a difficult question. I would say it’s more about expectations.


I can laugh about:
Myself, stand-up comedy, comic strips.
Mistakes I can easily forgive:
Those that people actively take responsibility for.
My funniest/most exciting travel experience was:
The first vacation I paid for myself, which coincidentally was also my first time on a plane. That was a trip to Gran Canaria in the early 90s - back then, a true adventure for me.
I could not survive without this smartphone app:
My fridge is always stocked with:
Protein pudding.
I would spend my last money on:
My son.
Ten years ago, I thought:
OMG, not long before I'll turn 40...
Today I know:
OMG, not long before I'll turn 50...

Ada, you are a graduate of the Professional MBA Marketing & Sales. How did you get to join Kardex Remstar? How did you learn about the vacancy? In your opinion, did the MBA make a difference for the decision to hire you? If yes, how so?

I received an alert on LinkedIn for a job posting by Kardex Remstar that caught my attention. Even if the MBA didn’t necessarily tip the balance when it came to the decision to hire me, I do believe that it contributed a lot to improving my overall profile.

What is it like to have a fellow graduate of the WU Executive Academy as your colleague and boss? Do you think it works to your advantage?

I wouldn’t call it an advantage to have a WU EA alumnus as my colleague or boss. But a shared background in this high-quality business education program and the possibility to draw on the alumni network of the WU EA surely are a good basis for successful cooperation.

What is your greatest professional/personal achievement?

I have had a number of professional and personal successes in the course of my career, but I hope that my biggest success is still ahead!

Why would you recommend an MBA at the WU Executive Academy to others? What did you most benefit from?

I can wholeheartedly recommend the MBA at the WU EA because personally, I have benefited a lot. When I first started my MBA studies at the WU EA, it had been a while since I completed my original business degree (a bachelor’s program) with a focus on marketing. In the meantime, digitalization had changed the world significantly. The MBA at the WU EA helped me gain more in-depth business knowledge, especially in the field of marketing, getting me up to speed. Apart from the excellent faculty, I also benefited from expanding my professional network through my international cohort – I met 110 fellow students from 33 countries. Looking back, I’d say this was the biggest perk. But the icing on the cake was the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to complete a module at the renowned Stanford University Graduate School of Business.


I can laugh about:
Myself. It is healthy and helps me stay down to earth.
Mistakes I can easily forgive:
Those I would forgive myself for.
My funniest/ most exciting travel experience was:
Some years ago, a last-minute business trip reservation forced me to fly back to Asia immediately after my plane from Southeast Asia, where I had vacationed, touched ground. That was the longest I ever went on a plane, an almost 40-hour, 5-leg trip: Singapore-Bangkok-Dubai-Düsseldorf-Frankfurt-Tokyo. The one good thing about it was, that I didn't suffer from jet lag during my week in Japan.
I could not survive without this smartphone app:
My fridge is always stocked with:
Fresh cilantro.
I would spend my last money on:
Ten years ago, I thought:
I'd reach a point in my career where, at least in my field of expertise, I'll have learned more or less everything that I need. I believed you just needed to set the right goals for yourself and work towards them with a lot of discipline.
Today I konw:
You learn something new every day. It is about the journey, not the destination.

Read more interesting career stories of our students and graduates here.

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