Career Story: Peter Wilfinger, Kardex Austria

September 14, 2017

Global Executive MBA alumnus

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

Working as an entertainment officer on Fuerteventura for two years had a particularly profound impact on me. During that time, I learned an awful lot in terms of people skills, facilitation skills, presentation skills, sales skills, etc. Career-wise, this experience was a very valuable source of inspiration. Basically, each and every stage in my professional life shaped me and taught me valuable things - and that's how it's supposed to be. This is integral to what we call lifelong learning, which is essential in my opinion.

Did you originally want to pursue a different career?

Yes. As a child, I always dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.

How and why did you come to work for Kardex Austria?

In a very traditional manner - through connections and a headhunter.

What has changed in your career as a result of your MBA degree?

I did not choose the Executive MBA for career reasons but because of my ego. It was my ambition, and indeed my dream, to earn a degree from a reputable university and graduate “the American way” from a U.S. university. The MBA has influenced my career - there is no doubt about that. The program was really great! Exciting modules, a wealth of case studies, and field trips to China and the USA. I think I would not have my current position without the MBA.

What has been your biggest professional/personal success?

My biggest personal success is definitely my son Moritz, of whom I am incredibly proud. My biggest professional success? I guess that would be the fact that I managed to quickly develop a sales infrastructure of lasting value across Europe for an Austrian medium-sized company.

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

Thanks to my life experience in general, and the past few years in particular, I have come to understand what really matters, and that is to be happy and enjoy what you do. Of course, there are goals you can set that can help you get there, such as having a job that you enjoy and finding a job where you can make a difference, find personal happiness, be healthy, and so on. There is still a lot I absolutely want to do. I should make a bucket list.

What do you consider a “great luxury”?

Spending time with my son, playing sports and staying healthy is what I consider a great luxury.

What was the last book you really enjoyed?

Customer Centricity by Peter Fader.

How would you characterize your philosophy of leadership?

I guess the notion of “servant leadership” or “intent-based leadership” best sums up my philosophy. What really matters is to be there for the people you lead and support them so that they can make decisions and achieve success in the context of doing business. Everyone needs to realize that it is the customers who ultimately write the paychecks.

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

By playing sports, by reading a good book or simply by relaxing on the couch.

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

To tell the truth, I would not want to change places with anyone. I am happy with who I am.

Why would you recommend the Global Executive MBA of the WU Executive Academy?

In my opinion, the program offers the best overall package and hence the biggest benefits for potential graduates: an international experience, a modular structure, a sensible investment, interesting residencies and an outstanding faculty.


My motte in life:
Life is beautiful!
I can laugh about:
Myself, a good joke, a good comedy, a good cabaret act.
Mistakes I am most likely willing to forgive:
Mistakes that are made once... if the same mistake is repeated, things start to get difficult.
I would spend my last money on:
My son.
In 20 years, I will:
Be 64 years of age.

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