Career Story: Tomasz Chajneta, HYPO NOE Gruppe Bank AG

August 23, 2017

Professional MBA Finance alumnus

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

The earliest experience that had a profound impact on me as a person was the completion of an academic year in a high school in Kansas, USA. While being 15 at the time, I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live in a different society, to be a part of a small-town American culture and to grow up tackling the everyday challenges mostly by myself. As a consequence, I always sought a way of life with an international touch to it. Whether it was the International Baccalaureate Diploma, studying abroad, an internship in Greece or, finally, my internship and professional career in Austria – it all started with my journey to Kansas.

Did you originally want to pursue a career in a different field? If so, why is it that nothing has come of your plans?

At some point of my adolescent life, I contemplated pursuing a professional career in athletics; luckily, I worked on other options to choose from.

How and why did you come to work for HYPO NOE Gruppe Bank AG?

I started working for HYPO NOE Gruppe Bank AG in 2009. The bank was looking for a professional to lead a project to re-organize a department responsible for the management of the bank’s subsidiaries. It was a step forward in my career as I was able to use my previous experience and skills to contribute to the development of the bank. Furthermore, HYPO NOE Gruppe Bank AG’s long tradition (the bank was founded in 1888) and a sound financial standing offered a stability haven in a crisis-stricken financial sector at that time.

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?

The MBA program at the WU Executive Academy offered me a possibility to learn from the top tier international faculty, to gain a deep insight into the current global trends and issues and to debate solutions for the challenges of everyday business with highly skilled colleagues from around the world. In the end, I was able to use these experiences to build a solid foundation for an integral managerial approach. Career-wise, I took over executive mandates in the bank subsidiaries’ portfolio and coordinated several strategic projects in my department.

What was your biggest professional/personal success?

Looking back at my professional career, I perceive it as a success in its entirety. During the time of my studies, I wished to learn a third language (apart from Polish and English) and pursue an international career path. Another wish was to strive for academic excellence in the field of finance, and I believe that the completion of the MBA curriculum was a right step forward. As far as the personal success is concerned, apart from having a great family, I still treasure the fondest memories of competing in track-and-field activities in high school.

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

My goal for the coming year and the following years is to further work on myself with regard to my professional and personal competence. The ultimate goal is also to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

What do you consider a “great luxury”?

Having children at home, a great luxury translates to having an adequate number of moments of silence. On a more serious note, I cherish and long for the moments spent with my family, who is mostly living abroad. These moments are a great luxury to me.

What was the last book you really enjoyed?

I long reflected on my recent read “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom, a work about how a sociology professor suffering from ALS sees life.

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

My philosophy of leadership is built around three concepts – constant improvement, situational and innovative leadership. While the first requires high performance standards for the team, the second empowers the team members to perform individually according to the situation. The third concept is the molding of the previous two topped by an extraordinary vision on how to approach which goals.

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

Having the right work-life balance means a world to me. The ability to excel at work and the possibility to live a full family life is what I am definitely striving for.

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

Sir Richard Branson, an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, who once said “My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them ... from the perspective of wanting to live life to the full, I felt that I had to attempt it.”

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

The Professional MBA of the WU Executive Academy can be recommended for a number of reasons. From my perspective, it is an affordable, yet highly ranked program for management professionals. The classes offer a possibility to exchange ideas with skilled students coming both from CEE and Western Europe as well as from the rest of the world. Its international faculty from top universities around the world and internationally approved accreditations set the high standard of the program. Finally, the alumni network managed by the WU Executive Academy creates many possibilities to remain a member of the MBA community after the completion of the program.


My Motto in life...

"Take time every day to laugh, to think, to cry." by the late basketball coach Jim Valvano.

I can lough about...
Almost anything (see above)
Shortcomings I am most likely willing to overlook:
Anything, as long as the honesty and willingness to improve are there.
I would spend my last money on...
A Maronischnitte
In 20 years I will...

Be older, hopefully healthy and experienced enough to challenge whatever there is to come with wit and dignity.

You can read more interesting career stories here.

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