Career Story: Daniela Budurea, Western Union

October 30, 2013

Executive MBA Bucharest alumna

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

I can’t pick a stage of my life and say that it was the most important one. That wouldn’t be fair. In Romania, we have a saying: when building a house, you start with the foundation and finish with the roof.  So each stage of my life was important in its own right. What I can say is that during each stage I had a guide, a mentor, a person who came into my life, showed me the way or what I was supposed to learn, and disappeared at a certain moment. From my childhood, when I learned about the importance of a family and love; to my teenage years, when I was encouraged to find my dream; to my student days, when I learned the necessary skills to make my dream come true; to when I was a young person who started to live her dream. As a result of all these stages, I’ve become the person I am today. 

Did you originally want to pursue a career in a different field? If so, why is it that nothing has come of your plans?
My field could be any kind of business. I always saw myself running a company. At the beginning of my career, I learned about business plans. Then, I had the opportunity to lead a small company that I developed into a medium-sized company. Right now, I’m learning about life in a global company, leading a team in a multinational corporation.

How and why did you come to work for Western Union?
I have always worked in the financial field—initially in smaller companies offering niche services like leasing, and later in the money-transfer business. In 2003, financial services for migrants or generally for people without bank accounts were very limited, which is why they were considered niche services. Today, the remittances market is so big and important that in some countries it exceeds the value of FDIs.

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?
I made the decision to attend a global MBA program when I learned that my company was preparing to be acquired by a global money-transfer player. I knew that the knowledge and skills needed to run a local medium-sized company were not enough if I wanted to qualify for running a bigger company, take over pan-regional responsibility and lead international teams. With this in mind, I went to school again. The theoretical knowledge from the EMBA program is very useful, and in my current role I apply most of it.

What was your biggest professional/personal success?
Professionally speaking, it is what I do now in my current role. I know that through my daily activities I touch other people’s lives, and the fact that I support them a little in their efforts to build a better life makes me feel proud of what I do.

What are your goals for the coming year? Your goals in general? Is there still something you absolutely want to do?
To stay fit and healthy in order to be able to achieve all the things I have in mind. Because there is still so much I want to do!

What do you consider a “great luxury“?
Time. Time is a great luxury for me right now.

What was the last book/movie you really enjoyed?
The last book I really enjoyed was “Losing my virginity”—the autobiography of Sir Richard Branson.

How would you characterize your philosophy of leadership? Has it been influenced by a leadership role-model?
I try to lead by example. I get my inspiration from many people; these days it is Richard Branson.

How do you recharge your batteries when you are not pursuing your demanding career?
I feel really recharged after doing outdoor activities such as swimming in the sea or hiking in the mountains. A memorable moment this year was when I went for a swim in the Adriatic Sea at full moon. Awesome!

If you could change places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
I can’t think of anybody. I try to live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment. I don’t feel like changing places with anyone.

Why would you recommend the Executive MBA Bucharest of the WU Executive Academy? What did you like the most?
I think it is a great program that gives students insights into how global companies are run both in the US and in Asia. This knowledge is extremely useful as we need to think globally and act locally.


My motto in life:
Dare to spread your wings and fly. I know you can do it!
I can laugh about:
Myself and many simple things.
Mistakes I am most likely willing to forgive:
I frequently misplace things.
I would spend my last money on:
In 20 years I will be:
... travel around the world in a sailing boat.

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