Career Story: Catalin Putineanu, IB Cargo

August 09, 2018

Executive MBA Bucharest alumnus

What stages in your life have had the greatest impact on you and why?

One was definitely right after my graduation from college in Bucharest where everything was uncertain and I had to find my own way from a career point of view. During the first 4 years after graduation, I gained profound insights into different industries, from foreign trade, to shipping and agriculture. Also, I established my first own company which I successfully developed and sold before moving to the US. Another time which had a great impact on me was my four years’ experience in the US where I had to adapt to a totally different world and life. I managed to go through a variety of experiences, found my career path I am still following today in the freight forwarding industry and managed to climb the career ladder into management positions of very successful global corporations.

Did you originally want to pursue a different career? If so, what made you change your plans?

I had no career plans during the early nineties, when I was in college. The post communism culture and the very instable and unpredictable economic and political environment were not of any help for me to make plans or envision my career. Later on, I have learned how to create and seize opportunities. This is how I discovered, step by step, what suited me professionally and then built a career and a company in that industry.

How and why did you come to work for IB Cargo?

IB Cargo is a company I cofounded in 2008 and managed so far. I came across an opportunity to start up a freight forwarding company in Romania by attracting funds from a couple of foreign investors.

What has changed in your career as a result of your MBA degree? How did the program support you in reaching your career goals? What concrete career opportunities have opened up for you?

The program was an investment in personal development and a unique experience. It was a challenge, a test of personal and professional ability, producing growth. The Executive MBA had a great balance between practice and theory all with a solid anchor in regional and global economic reality. Recent and significant case studies at most of the modules/courses we studied, really enlarged our view of the real world. It helped me achieve new skills and perspectives and offered a great networking opportunity. The structured general management education I acquired during the MBA has broaden my view and gave me the tools to leverage my experience and create a successful company. The financial and strategic marketing management compensated for my inexperience in those areas.

The diversity I experienced during the EMBA was extremely valuable: from the professors coming from different parts of the world and sharing their knowledge related to the specific cultures and universities they belonged to, to the various backgrounds and industries my classmates were coming from and the field studies in three countries on three different continents.

What was your biggest professional/personal success?

Professional: building an internationally exposed company with a team of 80 people and a 25 million euro revenue after 10 years.

Personal: the Executive MBA from the WU Executive Academy.

What are your goals for the coming year? Your goals in general? Is there still something you absolutely want to do?

Goals for both the coming year and in general are to continue being passionate and happy about what I am doing without going through detailed planning. Just taking it one step at a time and enjoying the journey.

What do you consider a “great luxury”?

Great luxury is usually what money cannot buy. From peace of mind to healthy and unconditional relations to good health to making others smile and to living in the present.

What was the last book/movie you really enjoyed?

Book: “Behave -The biology of Humans at our best and worst” by Robert M. Sapolsky

Movie: “Once upon a time in America” directed by Sergio Leone

How would you characterize your philosophy of leadership? Has it been influenced by a leadership role-model?

Philosophy is not really my thing. I can talk about the most important characteristics of leaders as I see them. First of all a leader must show/display honesty, integrity and character. People will always be willing to follow someone that tells them the truth, exhibits integrity, someone who is a living example of the values he embraces and speaks with candor/sincerity and transparency. Among other characteristics I admire a leader for: innovative, decisive, flexible, fair and supportive behavior.

How do you recharge your batteries when you are not pursuing your demanding career?

Tennis, food and wine pairing and outdoor sports.

If you could change places with anyone for a day, who would it be?

My youngest daughter, Lea, 5 years old. I don’t have much memories of me being 5 years old. I would love to be there again for a day for living fully in the present with minimum influence of the world on me except the family and the surroundings I grew up with.

Why would you recommend the Executive MBA Bucharest of the WU Executive Academy? What did you like the most?

It is a carefully designed Executive MBA program. The fantastic experience went far beyond the classroom - international field trips to the USA, China and Austria. Also visits on sites of high performing international companies. The studies based on real and recent cases gave us the chance to understand how the world is ticking. Also, the great faculty with professors from prestigious Universities from Asia, North America, Australia and Europe are outstanding. Furthermore, you get access to a great network of likeminded professionals from different industries and different backgrounds (Diversity).


My motto in life:
„To see far is one thing. Going there is another." - Constantin Brancusi
I can laugh about:
Myself.  “Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century” - Barry Humphries
Shortcomings I am most likely willing to overlook:

Being a perfectionist - sometimes I have a hard  time letting a project go or sharing a task with someone because I think I can do it all on my own.

Shyness - one thing I get really nervous about is speaking in public. I started working on that since I realized that, by keeping quiet and not sharing my ideas, I missed opportunities I could have benefited from.

Being impatient and sometimes acting on impulse.
I would spend my last money on:
going on a gastronomy trip around the world with friends and family that are into that stuff.
In 20 years I will:
be a bit older but still active and humble. I will give back something to the community.

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

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