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Forbes: Timea Reicher #2 most powerful manager of Slovakia

May 06, 2019

Retail Director of Slovnaft and Global Executive MBA alumna

Can you, please, share with us your career development until now? What stages in your life have had the greatest impact on you and why?

Thinking about the past, March 2006 was quite a turning point in my life. I started working for Slovnaft in Bratislava and at the same time, I started attending the MBA in Vienna. Slovnaft, apart from production and wholesale of refinery products operates the largest retail network in Slovakia. During the first 2 years of my studies, I was responsible for the Corporate Centre, which provided me with a good understanding of the company’s daily life, people, processes, tasks. Another 2 years at the department of Asset and Service Management and further 4 years running Corporate Services including Procurement, Investments and Asset and Service management gave me a excellent insights into internal services, project management and leadership. I was honored to enter the company´s Board of Directors as the first women in April 2013. For the last 3 years, I have been running the company´s retail division. So far, this position has had the biggest impact on my life and career.  

Did you originally want to pursue a different career? If so, what made you change your plans?

Somehow, I have never dreamt about a specific position or business I want to work at. I was always interested in services, people, new trends and this desire is definitely a great advantage to perform in my current position. Running the leading Retail fuel network in Slovakia, transforming it upside down and in the meantime being a part of one of the strongest CEE companies of the MOL Group company was not only challenging but also time and nerve consuming. But the results and customer feedbacks show that it was worthy.

What was your biggest professional/personal success?

Definitely what I have reached with our Retail division. Despite having the largest fuel retail network, we had to deal with negative reputation when I took over the position. The team spirit was missing and a smooth cooperation with the MOL Group was limited. Establishing a team to drive the business in the same direction as the Group is heading was not an easy task. However, after 3 years, I can say I am very pleased about what we have achieved.

What was your biggest challenge? What was your biggest professional mistake (from which you learned a lot)?

The biggest challenge was to learn the business itself and to run it at the same time. The biggest back-up was using the experience I encountered on the way of becoming a manager, the knowledge also from the MBA and last but not least the common sense approach. Trusting the right people and establishing a trustworthy team was challenging during the transformation. Now, I see that this was a key to success despite some sleepless nights.

Which 3 most important experiences in your life have led you to where you are right now?

  1. Learning from others

  2. Using common sense

  3. Remaining human no matter what the circumstances are

When you think of the most talented high potential in your company, what 3 pieces of advice would you give him to live a successful and fulfilling life?

  1. Stay positive in thoughts – once you have positive energy people will approach you with positive reactions as well

  2. Try to find a proper work-life balance – in a leading position your thoughts will anyhow move around business, you need to find a switch to turn off your thoughts from running around in your brain sometimes

  3. Provide a helping hand in case of need – support your team, understand their issues and show concern.

Wordrap

I can laugh about:

Good jokes, my daughter's comments, my failures (looking at it from a distance)

Shortcomings I am most likely willing to overlook:

small mistakes that happen under stress.

I could not live without this app on my cellphone:

Google translate - my daugther is going to school in Austria and my German knowledge is zero.

You can always find this in my fridge:

Cheese and wine.

I would spend my last money on:

Food.

10 years ago I thought:

I will never run a business.

Today I know:

That it was a good match for me.

Read more interesting career stories of our students and alumni here.

Using just 5 words, how would your team describe you as a leader?

  1. Workaholic

  2. Result oriented

  3. Level-headed

  4. Human

  5. Witty


What has changed in your career because of your MBA degree? How did the program support you in reaching your career goals? What concrete career opportunities have opened up for you?

It opened up my view in many topics and created friendships that still last. Being part of a group of professionals with years of work experience gave me chance to absorb the knowledge from the mates, teachers and guest speakers. As a part of this outstanding crowd, I could learn a lot. I highly recommend this experience to everyone as it shows the reality from different angles and definitely broadens up your knowledge.

As far as the workload is concerned, how did you manage an MBA next to a demanding job and your family life?

Honestly? I was doing poorly. I remember my classmates having an agreement with their bosses to run on half speed at work… I did envy them. As I simultaneously started a new job, this period of my life was just a high-speed train experience. This is what I regret a bit, so my recommendation is to take this time for yourself to focus on learning and networking.

What do you consider a “great luxury”?

To spend time with my family without a time stress, playing cards, but also reading a book with a glass of wine.

What was the last book/movie you really enjoyed?

Book: Sycamore Row, by John Grisham 

Movie: The wife – with Glenn Close

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

No one, I like my life as it is.

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