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Career Story: Maria Eremina, Raiffeisenbank

January 12, 2016

Global Executive MBA alumna

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

Every moment of your life you take decisions, some of them are really simple and you are not even aware of them (like buying food in the supermarket). But some of your decisions have a crucial impact on your personal story and add important turns to the path of your life. The first significant step in my professional life was joining Raiffeisenbank in 2002 as it predetermined my further way. The next major stage was starting a family and giving birth to my child, which added new colors and absolutely new emotions to my life. And attending the EMBA program at the WU Executive Academy is, of course, one of those moments that stay with you forever and definitely change your life.

Did you originally want to pursue a career in a different field? 

No, I did not. I chose my banking career from the very beginning and still want to follow this choice.

How and why did you come to work for Raiffeisenbank?

Working in the banking industry was my youthful dream and intention. I chose to study banking at the university and applied for a banking position right after graduating. Raiffeisenbank was one of the banks which accepted graduates with no experience. I started my career at Raiffeisen from junior staff level as a call center specialist. I developed my skills and experience with the growth and prosperity of this bank.

What has changed in your career as a result of your MBA degree? How did the program support you in reaching your career goals? 

While finishing my MBA, I was promoted to a new position – Managing Director of a shared service center. It was a totally new level of responsibility in terms of the number of functions and people. Of course, the program gives you knowledge and skills, but the most valuable outcome is a new “you”. You become more mature, think more strategically and broaden your horizons. Moreover, thanks to new contacts and connections, you have a better understanding of your business and start to look at things with fresh eyes. And new friends from different cultures are also an essential result of the MBA.

What has been your biggest professional/personal success?

My biggest professional success is undoubtedly becoming the head of a shared service center with 1000+ employees and 500+ absolutely different functions, servicing five different directorates of the bank and the entire branch network. It was a “greenfield” project; we started this center from scratch, having no building, no people and no competence in functions to transfer to the new center. After almost three years of developing the center, I can say it is a real success, and I’m thankful to the team who contributed to this success.

What are your goals for the coming year?

As my shared service center is finishing the phase of centralization and stabilization, the next step will be to focus on further internal optimization, the simplification of processes, upskilling the workforce and cost efficiency. Given my rich experience, I would like to look for international opportunities in banking in the nearest future. This is where I feel I have to develop myself.

What do you consider a “great luxury”?

For me, a “great luxury” is to have the wonderful family and job I have.

What was the last book/movie you really enjoyed?

Ayn Rand’s “Atlas shrugged”. The book lay on my shelf for a long time, but I was more focused on business literature and always postponed “Atlas” for better times. But as soon as I took it in my hands, I could not stop reading.

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

I love to spend time with my family and friends, enjoy Russia’s unspoiled nature, go hiking and rafting and sing along to the guitar by the fire.

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

An astronaut! I think it is great and fascinating to see Earth from a distance of several hundred kilometers, to think about mankind, the meaning of life and the reasons for our presence in this world, the infinity of the universe…

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

Without a shadow of doubt, I would strongly recommend the Global Executive MBA of the WU Executive Academy to all ambitious, talented, crazy, energetic and strong leaders who really want to:

  • take on the roles of HR director, accountant, financial director, head of marketing, operations director, IT director and many other functions within one program
  • get wide professional experience from different industries
  • understand the cultures and ways of doing business in different countries
  • have sleepless nights and tons of homework
  • read the biggest number of books, articles and case studies in their lives
  • strengthen their leadership, negotiation and presentation skills
  • establish business contacts and network around the globe
  • find amazing friends

Wordrap

My motto in life:
Enjoy your life!
I can laugh about:
Myself :-)
Mistakes I am most likely willing to forgive :
Perfectionism
I would spend my last money on:
Cheeeeese
In 20 years I will be:
Be a COO/board member of a big bank and a happy mother of two (or more!) children.

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