The story of Alexandru Butucel
Alexandru Butucel is one of our recent graduates from the WU Executive Academy’s Executive MBA Bucharest program in April 2023. I was very lucky to meet him only hours before his graduation. Intrigued I was, after my college Regine Eitelbös had linked me to Alexandru with the words: ‘he definitely has an interesting story to tell!’
And she was right! Alexandru devoted his precious lunch break to tell me a story of perseverance, learning and change bringing him to where he is now. About to start a new role…but more of that later!
The start of Alexandrus impressive career journey was a difficult one. In the aftermath of an economic crisis, Alexandru graduated from the Universitatea POLITEHNICA din București. He called himself lucky to be able to secure an internship, albeit an unpaid one, at Rohe România Srl. Alexandru was hired as field engineer to learn technical skills of how to maintain fuel filling stations, specifically the dispensers and the car wash.
He was in for a bumpy start, literally, having to ride on the back of the truck sitting on the toolbox while doing 100km/h on Romania’s roads. At first, Alexandru learned all there was about the fuel dispensers moving to the car wash system maintenance after 3 months. His training in automatization came in quite handy. At the end of his internship, his coordinator recommended him, and the CEO of the company offered Alexandru a job, but with a catch: five years without a pay raise.
Alexandru took the offer and continued to impress. After only 8 months he was put into the driver’s seat being promoted to independent field engineer. He recollects how much he learned during these days. Being on the road quite a bit, with no fixed area of operation and a bad road system he was working long, hard days. More, than initially stated in his portfolio, was expected of him. Even his family urged him to take over their family business. Yet Alexandru never let exhaustion and frustration show when he was dealing with customers. ‘Never wash your ‘dirty laundry’ in front of the customer’ was one of the lessons he learned. And that a relation, also one with a customer, is an exchange – both parties give and take. He points out how much his communications skills have improved during this period.
Five years and one day after his initial contract with Rohe had started, Alexandru knocked at the door of the CEO. And negotiated. He could cite his reputation for one. Customers were asking for him: ‘Send that kid’ was what they were demanding. He wanted to improve his skills, to work with other people. The company recognized the drive and talent and extended Alexandrus portfolio to cover IT services as well. Alexandru mentioned to his boss, that there were a lot of other offers but that he was willing to stay if they could agree on the terms.
And Alexandru’s negotiation strategy paid off: he was promoted to Regional Coordinator and was responsible for a team of 12. He says this time was hard, as his career step involved being responsible for rolling out a new IT system. Technological issues were his daily bread but the deep understanding, the wealth of experienced gained as field technician helped him. Just as the confidence in his own abilities. ‘I can fix this’ became his motto.
Hard work once more led to his next career step. One year after becoming regional coordinator, he was promoted to Director of Execution, responsible for a team of 96 people. In his initial 6 months on the job, he taught his team to be more effective by applying novel management methods. Alexandru shared the targets which needed to be achieved with his technicians. He introduced new ways of working by allowing teams to plan their own travel and schedule as well as splitting the teams knowing very well which tasks could be tackled individually and which not. He asked them to work as if it would be their company. To apply their common sense. Alexandru provided incentives for successful job completion and for experienced and new team members collaborating directly with each other to solve problems. In addition, a field service management application was rolled out to improve team performance.
With this success under his belt Alexandru was introduced by his former to his new Managing Director. The French Technical Services Group had taken over Rohe România. For the new Managing Director, Bogdan Nitu, it was important that they both were on the same page. And at that moment Alexandru started to wonder if it was possible for him to take his next career step. After all, he was young, a peoples’ person, performed well, had an engineering background. Alexandru listened to his boss's teaching and started thinking about doing an MBA.
‘I want to learn as much as I can in this life’ is how he sums up his hunger for learning. The decision to pursue an MBA was made, now all that needed to be found was the right program fit. After all, in the meantime the pandemic had hit, Alexandru’s young family had grown, so this was not an easy choice. The financial investment alone! So, Alexandru talked to former clients, listened to the valuable advice of CEO Bogdan Nitu and decided that WU Executive Academy's Executive MBA Bucharest was the best option for him. Supported financially by his company, the locally available modules attracted him to enroll in this EMBA program. When he contacted the WU Executive Academy the academic director Phillip Nell of the Executive MBA Bucharest advised him on the available scholarship opportunities. Things moved quickly: 3 weeks later Alexandru was enrolled looking forward to this new challenge.
And of course, conducting EMBA studies in addition to professional responsibilities as Operations Director & Business Developer at TSG and personal responsibilities as husband and father of two was challenging. But Alexandru was driven, driven by his interest to develop, to improve himself.
And Alexandru succeeded! He graduated from the Executive MBA Bucharest at the end of April 2023. But this is only the beginning of his journey: He has just been promoted to Business Development Director for Romania at TSG. Alexandru will be heading a team of sales experts and in collaboration with his team develop new strategies. He continues to be confident: in his skills, his experience and the support that he knows will be available from the networks he has forged also during his time at WU Executive Academy.
We thank Alexandru for sharing his story with us and wish him all the best for his personal and professional future!
Read more interesting career stories of our students and graduates here.