The Translation Entrepreneur Who Became an MBA Student

July 02, 2021

WU EA Podcast host Čedomir Pušica talks about his career

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?

I started out as a professional translator and interpreter, working for various international organizations as a freelancer, then as full-time translator at PwC, which is where I first got interested in business consulting and finance. It may have played a role in my decision to set up my own translation company in 2010. This was a clever move for me because I realized how much I loved entrepreneurship. After that, I was involved in several other projects, some of which failed, though. Then I tried myself at business development working for an Italian company setting up its business in Serbia, and now I work as customer marketing manager for a translation management software company, memoQ, whose products I have been using in my organization all these years.

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

When I was in elementary school and later in high school, I wanted to study electrical engineering, because I always loved science and had a small lab in my house. However, I decided against it because I did not feel prepared for the university exam. On the other hand, I felt quite competent in languages and this decision changed the course of my life. For the past 18 years I have mostly worked in the language industry, which exposes you to lots of different industries, people, and cultures, so occasional ‘excursions’ to other industries did not come as a shock. Actually, it inspired me, and it contributed to my decision to do the MBA.

What was your biggest professional/personal success?

I am particularly proud of the book I published in 2015 called Translators’ Handbook. It is in Serbian only and it sums up everything one needs to know about legal and tax aspects of setting up a business in Serbia. I realized that there was no such guide in the market, and the information was dispersed in many places – often I would learn things on the go. I diligently noted everything over a five-year period, and then for nine months afterwards worked on shaping it into a fun and useful book that it is. Writing a book was also one of my dreams come true.

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

I had to wait for my course in Leadership, in particular the communication styles and the cultural differences, in order to realize what it was. I realized that even such similar cultures as Serbian and Italian may differ in details that could ruin a business relationship. In this particular case, my directness (the so called ‘low-context communication style’) was perceived by management as arrogance, while for me their implied messages (‘high context’) simply sounded too vague and impractical, which eventually led to us parting ways.

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

My experience in the USA as a student, where I worked for about six months when I was 23 years old. I felt the beauty of meritocracy, working at PwC, where I was exposed to many bright people with whom I am in contact even today, and where my interest in business was sparked and over the years turned into passion. Finally, it was the experience of setting up my own company, which taught me the value of liberty.

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?

Do not waste your time. Be introspective, but also be kind to yourself. Spend time with your family and friends. Bonus advice: practice sports.

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

As kind and understanding, practical and results-oriented.

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?

The program has helped me both directly and indirectly. Indirectly by providing me with a massive boost in confidence, and directly, by providing the tools and insights to back up the new level of confidence. The modules we have had so far gave me a clear structure of how things work and I am able to connect the dots, add new learnings and identify opportunities for further development. However, and I cannot say it enough, the fundamental value comes from our network. I have met so many professionals, heard their inspiring stories, was exposed to many industry insights, and this actually gave me an idea to start with our WU EA podcast, so that our students and alumni could hear and be inspired by each other’s stories.

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

Truth be told, there must be a shift in balance, and one cannot expect to continue ‘business as usual’. I am lucky to be good at organizing my time and workload, and I am also lucky that I love learning, so I am happy to move the needle on the scales toward my MBA and job duties at this point in my life.

What do you consider a “great luxury”?

The peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are not wasting your time. I love when I’m aligned with my purpose, when I know where I am at any single point in time, when I’m in control and know what I’m doing. I do not appreciate idle time; it creates anxiety. I can only appreciate it if I am aware of why it being idle. Being in control of my time is a great luxury.

What was the last book/movie you really enjoyed?

I read a lot. One of the books that I really enjoyed so much is Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog. It is so good. It’s a business book, an autobiography of the creator of Nike, but if I tell you that I laughed so hard so many times, you might get the idea. Actually, biographies have become my favorite types of books. I will give you a couple of other books that I think will add value to you: The Goal, by Eliyahu M. Goldratt, a novel-style business book that will explain how operations work. Then, there is the book I always read and give away to people: On the Shortness of Life, by Seneca. Anything from Seneca is pure gold and I consider him my spiritual father. Movies: Office Space, and Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others).

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

Charles Munger. I want to understand all of his 100+ mental models.


I can laugh about:
Almost anything. I laugh a lot and I use it as an indicator of my happiness.
Shortcomings I am most likely willing to overlook:
My wide-ranging interests. Although it is generally a positive thing, in this particular case I am referring to the fact that I often tend to pursue many passions at the same time, thus not dedicating enough time to either one.
My funniest/most exciting travel experience was:
Travelling from Italy to Skiathos, Greece, on a two-week holiday with only 200 Euro in my pocket, arriving at the island with only 90 Euro remaining. Imagine the excitement.
I could not survive without this smartphone app:
I am a very simple man. If I could keep only one app on my phone, it would be a messaging app.
My fridge is always stocked with:
I would spend my last money on:
A good book.
Ten years ago, I thought:
Getting capital is the most difficult part.
Today, I know:
It is all about people.

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

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