WU Executive Club: kick-off event in Warsaw

December 02, 2015

The first alumni event since the integration of the WEMBA alumni into the WU Executive Club.

From left to right: Cezary Smorszczewski, Prof. Barbara Stöttinger, Sandra Bichl and Andrzej Jacaszek

On November 20, 2015, more than 60 Polish MBA alumni of the Warsaw School of Economics (WEMBA) and numerous guests took up the invitation to attend an exclusive alumni kick-off event at the splendid Warsaw Marriott Hotel. Apart from providing plenty of opportunity for the alumni to socialize and network, the evening featured a great lineup of speakers including Polish top managers Andrzej Jacaszek, Editor of the Harvard Business Review Polska and Managing Director of the ICAN Institute, as well as Cezary Smorszczewski, CEO and Managing Partner of Private Equity Managers S.A., who enthralled the audience with their extraordinary speeches. 

Prof. Barbara Stöttinger speaks at the recent alumni event in Warsaw.

 In her opening speech, the WU Executive Academy's dean, Prof. Barbara Stöttinger, reiterated her happiness about the fact that WEMBA alumni and WU Executive Academy alumni now belong to the same family:

"This evening is not just the first of hopefully many alumni events to be held in Poland; tonight, we are taking the first step into our common future. I am very proud of this because it is truly a win-win situation: For our Polish alumni, the integration means that they can take full advantage of the wide range of services offered by the CEE region's largest network of managers, comprising 2,300 members. For us, it means that we can welcome 700 new Executive MBA alumni to our alumni club, which will add tremendous value to our community, making it even more exclusive, more diverse and more international.


The first highlight of the event was a presentation by Sandra Bichl on "The curse of being too successful", during which the CEO of Career Angels, an international career consulting boutique that has been one of the WU Executive Academy's executive search partners for many years, outlined the new realities of the job market:

"We often work with top managers who earn more than one million euro annually. It is by no means uncommon for them to lose their jobs and spend a long time looking for new positions that meet their high expectations. As this is not always easy for various reasons, we have made it our mission to help executives keep developing without falling victim to their own success. The world is constantly changing, and the job market is no exception. You cannot achieve long-term career success unless you stay abreast of these changes and keep developing."

Andrzej Jacaszek, Editor of the Harvard Business Review Polska and Managing Director of the ICAN Institute, delivered an astute and highly entertaining speech titled, "Only the paranoid will survive": "Professionally speaking, too, it is sometimes better to be a little paranoid. According to recent studies, managers who claim to be slightly paranoid work harder and achieve better results—in line with the motto: Only the paranoid will survive. When it comes to business, in paranoia I trust. The more successful you are, the more people out there will want to piggyback on your success. So a healthy dose of paranoia never hurts." 

Cezary Smorszczewski, CEO and Managing Partner of Private Equity Managers S.A., spoke on the topic of “MBA & Leadership”. He not only discussed the challenges facing tomorrow's managers but also shared his personal formula for success with the audience:

"In an increasingly digital world where security is becoming more and more important, it is crucial for managers to be prepared: Build a strong professional network before you need it—or it will be too late. Brace yourself for external disruptions. Be sure to consider information in context, and always keep the big picture in mind. Try new things and be innovative. And, last but not least, invest in the right education and training, and learn to evaluate and assess risks. Then you will be fit for the future."  

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