Career Story: Tereza Tranaka, OXYGEN

February 18, 2016

Executive MBA Bucharest alumna

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

There were several events in my life that have had a great impact in shaping me to become who I am now. In chronological order, that would be:

  • Our family moving to the US and the 10 years spent there, which have opened my mind and eyes to whole new opportunities.
  • Working for Elon Musk. He has taught me that nothing is impossible, and that there are even solutions to humanity’s greatest challenges. He’s a visionary.
  • Returning to Romania. A decision that has changed my life. I love my country and I want to be part of its evolution.
  • My MBA, as it gave me the skills and courage to make the leap from a corporation to my own company.
  • Becoming an entrepreneur and starting up my own company, OXYGEN ( Living the dream.
  • Meeting my husband, who gives me strength and balance in both business and personal life.
  • Cycling, it simply brings a big smile to my face.
  • Becoming a mother and a better person through my daughter. Parenting is indeed the hardest and most rewarding job in life. No MBA can prepare you for it… :)

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 passion is and has been communication. That’s why I have chosen to start my business in this field. I love it to this day. And there’s so much innovation in our field; with the evolution of technology (mobile, digital), it opens up new possibilities. Plus, by consulting clients in various fields such as heavy industry, FMCGs, banking & finance, IT&C, etc., I always learn something new and have to stay abreast of the latest developments in these sectors. I enjoy the diversity.

I am also passionate about aerospace and space exploration. More recently, as our company has been consulting the Romanian government on its presence at Expo Milano 2015, I have also started to learn more about the food challenges we are facing, related to sustainability. I find it very interesting and perhaps will have the chance to explore this area more in the future.

How and why did you come to launch OXYGEN?

I started up my own digitally-centric communication agency more than five years ago, after having worked in various corporations. In the meantime, the company has grown into a top player on the regional market, an award-winning communication consulting agency, thanks to a team of dedicated and highly skilled professionals with whom I am fortunate to work. Entrepreneurship requires a little bit of madness, a positive mindset and a taste for adventure. It’s not for everyone. But it’s perfect for me.

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

First of all, completing my MBA with WU Vienna gave me applied knowledge. That knowledge turned into confidence. And that confidence allowed me to make that critical decision, that leap of faith, to start up my own company. To transition from a management position in a corporation (mobile operator now Telekom) to that of an entrepreneur. I have also met wonderful people through my MBA. I have learned from the other students, my classmates, as well as from the faculty. WU alumni tend to support each other, as there are professional cooperations that arise.   

What was your biggest professional/personal success?

Starting up my own business was the big step in my career and now developing it further and beyond the regional borders is my focus. On a personal level, as I have said, motherhood is life’s biggest reward.

What are your goals for the coming year?

I plan to further develop my existing business as well as start new ones, exploring new areas of opportunity. Social entrepreneurship is another topic I am developing – adding value to the community in a sustainable and profitable manner. 

What do you consider a “great luxury”?

Time is the most precious luxury we have in an era where everything happens at lightning speed.

What was the last book/movie you really enjoyed?

Reinventing the Company in the Digital Age, produced by BBVA, is one of my most recent favorite business books. I love Marvel comics, so I watch all the movies based on the books.

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

Dean Barker, the former skipper with New Zealand’s America’s Cup team. He is a strong leader who has inspired many, a hero in his country and elsewhere, but maintains his modesty and humanity. I believe in leading with an iron fist and a warm heart.

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

Cycling. In the city, in the mountains, on the road. As Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” And, of course, spending time with my family.

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

An astronaut. I would love to be up there in the space station and see the world from above.

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

Because it is absolutely the best MBA in Romania. It has many advantages: it offers a flexible learning schedule, the ability to learn from highly competent faculty from top international business schools, the possibility to interact with students who are top managers from Romania and Austria and to network within a large alumni community. I enjoyed the entire MBA experience, the study trips to Vienna and the US, as well as the company visits.


My motto in life:
Live every day as if it were your last, and learn every day as if it were your first.
I can laugh about:
Everything. We Romanians have a great sense of humor.
Mistakes I am most likely willing to forgive :
Human imperfections.
I would spend my last money on:
A great trip.
In 20 years I will:
Travel the world. Or out of this world. :)

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