Career Story: Emrah Tekdemir, Schneider Electric

June 11, 2016

Professional MBA Energy Management alumnus

What stages in your life have had the greatest impact on you and why? I am an electrical engineer, and I have been working at Schneider Electric for 23 years in marketing & sales (M&S), business development and country management functions. I worked in 8 different positions in the company. Moving from M&S to business development and M&A had a big impact on me because I entered a completely new sphere. The second major event was relocating from Turkey to Ukraine while the country was experiencing a crisis. Ensuring, in a new cultural setting, that all the necessary steps are taken was everything but easy. How and why did you come to work for Schneider Electric? Some years after I had joined Merlin Gerin (MG), it became part of the Schneider group. MG was a growing company with a great offer in electrical distribution. Also, I liked the company’s vision of saving energy in an effort to make the earth greener. What has changed in your career as a result of your MBA degree? I have been promoted to the position of Central Asia Country President, covering the Azeri, Turkmen and Georgian markets, which are driven by oil & gas. Everything we learned during the MBA program about oil & gas basics, markets and market development was extremely helpful in the process of adapting to new territory and doing the necessary strategic planning. What was your biggest professional/personal success? Becoming Country President. I think this is one of the difficult positions in our company because it involves not only doing business and team management but also being the face of the company and, of course, having profit & loss responsibility. What are your goals for the coming year? Your goals in general? Is there still something you absolutely want to do? Moving to a different country and to a new function is the sort of challenge I would love to be faced with once again. What do you consider a “great luxury”? Achieving results before summer that are so great that I can stay away from my e-mail account for some time, have real rest and play the guitar. What was the last movie you really enjoyed? “The Intern” starring Robert De Niro. It was not only real fun to watch but also inspiring as to what to do after becoming retired. How would you characterize your philosophy of leadership? I am a people-oriented, passionate leader who pushes hard for innovation and simplification wherever possible. I strive to keep failure rates as low as possible by taking the right decisions. Without a doubt, we have great role models in our company, first and foremost our CEO, J.P. Tricoire. How do you recharge your batteries when you are not pursuing your demanding career? I try to take stock and look at what I have achieved and where I should do more in terms of personal development. That is why I decided to do an MBA degree. If you could change places with anyone for a day, who would it be? A CEO from Silicon Valley. Perhaps Apple’s CEO? Why would you recommend the Professional MBA Energy Management of the WU Executive Academy? What did you like the most? First of all because of the collaboration with my peers, who came from different sectors and had a wide variety of expectations regarding the program. For almost two years, there was a great exchange among like-minded people. I have acquired a solid foundation in business administration and especially in finance. Also, I have benefited from the opportunity to share practical work experience with others and learn from them along the way.


My motto in life …
Family, success and music.
I can laugh about …
I would spend my last money on …
A guitar.
In 20 years, I will …
Be writing a book about my experience.

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