Alumni – COTRUGLI

Become a part of the largest international networking in the region!

Our Alumni come from a variety of professional backgrounds. More than 70% of COTRUGLI students are in management positions in larger or smaller organizations in the region, either as directors of companies and departments or as entrepreneurs. COTRUGLI E/MBA participants are managers, IT experts, engineers, doctors, consultants and bankers, all acting in unison to provide a stimulating and challenging environment, inspire motivation, and learn new skills and tools that are applicable immediately at work.

The power of alliance and life-long friendship with highly influential individuals for most of our participants represents a return of invested time and money even before the educational program is completed. Joining a team of leaders from a variety of industries, you will improve your current job and business opportunities.

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Jasminka Rojko

Jasminka Rojko

Head for large and international corporate clients / Raiffeisenbank

Participating in the Experience E / MBA program allowed me to experience the atmosphere at the EMBA program. In addition to the excellent presenters who convey current topics, I could feel the interaction, exchange of ideas and experience with other participants from different industries.

Robert Mehle

Robert Mehle

Account Executive / Microsoft

Pursuing my MBA has allowed me to see the bigger picture. I manage to understand more about my self, identified my strengths and weaknesses and learn how to be more adaptable. It helped me to have better perspective of my company but even more important to have better understanding of my clients.

Igor Nikolovski

Igor Nikolovski

General Manager / Symphony.is

With EMBA program at COTRUGLI, I expanded and gave structure to my previous knowledge and experience. Growing a network is not limited to simply “expanding my professional network”, but I established truly valuable relations and friendships. Oh, yes… and a lot of fun was involved along the way. The outcome of this mix of ingredients is an increased self-confidence and an unlocked stream of new opportunities.
…and it’s only a beginning!

Jelena Porej

Jelena Porej

Global HR Director / Groundlink Beograd

“The faculty, together with my colleagues, inspired me to become a better leader within the organization I work in.”

Cotrugli EMBA provided me with the knowledge and skills necessary to overcome short and long-term business challenges. The faculty, together with my colleagues, inspired me to become a better leader within the organization I work in.

Nina Strajnar

Nina Strajnar

CMO / CoreMatrix Limited

MBA has helped me to see the bigger picture. Some modules have changed my perception of the business world and some have further developed my knowledge in areas I previously knew very little about.

Djordje Živanović

Djordje Živanović

Country Manager Serbia and Montenegro / Coface

What I would like to point out having in mind past two years of EMBA program, is mostly the quality of the modules and professors, organization of the programs by the management, as well as excellent cooperation with my generation colleagues.The most benefit of all, including the above said, is that after finishing the EMBA program, I have knowledge and possibility to consider business challenges from many different perspectives.

Vanja Runje

Vanja Runje

Client Service Director (Board Member)/ IMAGO

While chasing “outside the box” solutions, in COTRUGLI I found the greatest value in developing skills to consistently, on demand, urgently deliver “inside the box” brilliant solutions, by motivating teams of equals on numerous projects simultaneously, all that while balancing pile of ASAP business emails and personal life.

Kenan Kekić

Kenan Kekić

Executive Director / Eurofarm Centar

I have to admit that my expectations have been fully met – I moved to a new, better job with significantly better income, and this all happened during the first year of my studies. Nevertheless, there are many other things I feel I gained – knowledge, networking and some really great moments. I feel fully confident to honestly recommend the EMBA program at Cotrugli.

Alina Pop

Alina Pop

CEO / Electrogrup SA

I decided to pursue an EMBA because coming from an engineering background, I knew I wanted to do something more to improve my managerial skills. By coming to COTRUGLI, I had an opportunity to reflect on what I’m doing and how I’m doing my job. I believe the program is a catalyst for professional change. COTRUGLI experience was beyond useful ! I was excited about my classmates and my professors, who brought tremendous diversity of expertise and experience to the program, which immensely shaped my personal and professional development.

Stanko Milushev

Stanko Milushev

Head of Sales / Russia, India, Africa, South America at Bang & Olufsen

EMBA program turns to be life changing journey shared with people from different personal and professional background. It simply deepens your knowledge, widens your perspectives.

Enor Ćerimagić

Enor Ćerimagić

Business Unit Director / Takeda Oncology

All graduated COTRUGLI students deserve a medal! This medal has two sides: One is dedicated to our private life, to the great journey we had, to the emotions and great people that we met, and the second side is dedicated to the knowledge and experience that we have received and that we will use for the upcoming challenges in our business lives.

Rade Ljumović

Rade Ljumović

Director / Henley & Partners

The education process itself at COTRUGLI has been adapted to today’s busy and rushed way of life, but, in its practicality, it has still managed to retain the element of quality which, in the end, is how the relevant audience perceives it.

Kaloyan Ivanov

Kaloyan Ivanov

General Manager / AMK Drives & Controls Ltd

COTRUGLI is a synergy of knowledge and the real business world. I received much more than I had expected – the methods and tools included in the program, helped me both in developing my professional skills as a manager and personal growth as a person. I’ve started to see the big picture of the business, to make quick and adequate decisions, not to be afraid of new challenges!

Lilia Ilieva

Lilia Ilieva

General Manager / HAVAS Media Group

During the first day at COTRUGLI i said “I am here to win”. And I did! I got out of my comfort zone, my knowledge horizon grew immensely, I met great people and made friendships I’d cherish for life. COTRUGLI is a great school in the academic sense – brilliant professors, well designed educational program, professional program managers. But COTRUGLI is also a school in the personal sense where one learns how to speak up, to defend and idea, to become team player. COTRGLI is one of my best decisions so far because this experience thought me to be brave, to pursue my dreams, to be a better professional and a better version of myself!

Čeda Kokanović

Čeda Kokanović

Attorney at Law

Having completed the COTRUGLI’s Executive MBA program, I now feel a bit like Neo from the Matrix after taking the red pill.

Olivera Gvozdenov

Olivera Gvozdenov

Director / Klett DUAL

When I entered the EMBA, I wanted to discover a different side of myself and what else I am capable of. I wanted to do more and be more. During the COTRUGLI MBA program, I have learned so much every day from everyone and definitely enjoyed every step of my journey. It is not only about the title, it is about the personal growth and the support I have experienced within the program. I made lifelong friendships and some of the best memories of my life. I am so glad I had the courage to think bigger and braver.

Sašo Šimec

Sašo Šimec

Chief Operations Officer / Iskratel

EMBA program at COTRUGLI was a great experience for me. Combining my past practical knowledge and experience with great classes and discussions with well-known professors – all of this is something I will benefit from in my career. In addition, we had a great best practice sharing and networking with all participants in the program. Experience, which I recommend!

Ružica Petričec Fabijanec

Ružica Petričec Fabijanec

CFO and Management Board member / RASCO

Top-class professors in an efficient and high-quality way, tailored to fit our business schedule, delivered a considerable amount of knowledge and insight into the latest business trends. Working in teams with excellent colleagues allowed me to build a network of professionals and friends, which I can always count on..

Hrvoje Špalj

Hrvoje Špalj

Director / Privredna banka Zagreb

While enrolling in an Executive MBA program at COTRUGLI, my expectations referred to new business skills development and network expansion. I gained a lot more! Not only have I developed as a professional, but also as an individual… Not only have I expanded my business network, but made friends as well.

Bojana Hrovatin Matić

Bojana Hrovatin Matić

Medical Advisor Diabetes / AstraZeneca

Working for years in sales for an international company, I gained some experience and desire to continue developing myself both professionally and personally. After profound research I decided to join COTRUGLI Business School. Executive MBA program gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of different people, exchange experiences with colleagues from different business environments and further develop myself. COTRUGLI is right place for modern business knowledge, presented by excellent lecturers. Interactive modules helped me understand various aspects of management. Lectures are not only designed to be ex-cathedra but also to encourage lively discussions, presentations, case studies and teamwork on solving contemporary business problems and addressing key issues. The EMBA’s collaborative approach is invaluable, applicable to every day work. It has given me the knowledge, power, leadership and freedom. The professional and personal growth has been immense. Taking all of this into consideration, I got the confidence to make business decisions and to take risks. The most important thing I have learned at the Executive MBA is being self-confident. It is probably the best weapon to acquire independence in making better decisions and adding value in companies. The more you know, the more you dare. Another important benefit of EMBA is networking. At COTRUGLI, I had the possibility to meet highly motivated, highly experienced and self-driven colleagues with whom I exchanged ideas and discussed business issues. Today, I can rely on a worldwide business network. From this point of view, I can say that COTRUGLI helped me a lot. I had the opportunity to learn new things and to apply the acquired knowledge in my everyday work. Most importantly, it opened new horizons both personally and professionally. It is not just a place to learn business but a chance to experience a different life. If you dare to have a bright future with memorable experiences, EMBA is the right choice. It gives you the confidence to dream big.

Igor Pirc

Igor Pirc

Senior Consultant - Partner / Eudace

I decided to take part at COTRUGLI Executive MBA program after participating on the scholarships selection process. Qualifications and pare-to-pare exchange of knowledge and experience gained during the EMBA program means an important anchor in my career as an entrepreneur. The other important aspect of participating in the program is being a part of a network of top leaders. After finishing the program I opened consulting and project development company Eudace, where we are trying to implement our vision of successful and sustainable business. The company operates in two segments being business consulting and development of projects. In both segments our main drivers are an added value for our customers and excellence of service. On the consulting segment of the business our market presents companies that need growth support and reorganization of their current operations. It is a mature market where a breakthrough can be done only by innovative and integral approaches. That is why we offer to our customers legal (mergers, acquisitions), organizational (internal organization, ISO standards) and business (business consulting, marketing and sales) support. By combining different expert areas and employing consultants with different backgrounds (lawyers, machine engineers, marketing experts, human resource experts, and financial analysts) we can thoroughly understand and support needs of our customers. On the other hand through diversification of the service we disperse business risk and maintain sustainability which is extremely important for a long term success. My believe in the virtues of sustainability, long term approach and adding value for our customers is inspired by the knowledge and experience obtained during the COTRUGLI EMBA program.

Valentin Vičič

Valentin Vičič

President of the Management Board / Centar Faktor

CBA has an excellent EMBA program presented by top lecturers from all over the world. The program provides basis for swimming in the international business waters. Most importantly, modules are interdisciplinary and networking opportunities go outside borders.

Grozdana Marić

Grozdana Marić

Fraud Practice Manager for CE and Adriatic Region / SAS

I chose Executive MBA at COTRUGLI Business School because it was a high level Executive MBA in the first place. In addition to that I liked to meet students from other companies / countries and learn from lecturers coming from all over the world since I wanted to develop myself in an international business environment. I completed Executive MBA program as a best student in the class. At COTRUGLI Business school we had an opportunity to learn from the best international experts, lecturers who came from the best world universities, with a creative approach that minimized absence from my workplace, which was also important for me. I see an EMBA as a critical point for getting into the corporate world at a senior level. The tools and knowledge gained at COTRUGLI became a very frequent feature in my presentations and negotiations. The program also inspired me for lifelong-learning, continuous improvement and fostering creativity. Another important benefit is networking – I met many smart, team oriented and hard working, highly experienced, highly motivated and self-driven participants, with whom even today I exchange ideas, discuss work issues and with some of them I have a wonderful friendship. To conclude, I am very happy that I joined COTRUGLI Business School – this unique, innovative, real world experience made me grow as a manager and as a person.

Kristina Bukilić

Kristina Bukilić

Finance & Accounting Divison Director / Erste Bank AD Podgorica

The EMBA COTRUGLI for me is an amazing well-rounded learning experience with business approach, which increased my confidence and ability to handle situations in working environment and to make educated decisions in whole range of fields. Choice of program modules with high level professors, the professional administrative team, the positive spirit among the students with cultural and business diversity are giving me additional value. It is a powerful package that can be translated into sizeable opportunity for personal intellectual, social, financial and carrier success, and I only regret why I didn’t have it ten years ago.

Azer Viđen

Azer Viđen

Project manager / Schneider Electric

Studying at COTRUGLI makes you a part of a vast network of like-minded, creative people that you can associate with and learn from for the rest of your career. I made new friendships that last for lifetime, with people coming from various backgrounds, bringing very different but invariably useful experiences, the same energy and motivation to achieve their business and personal goals. Looking backward, I am happy that I chose COTRUGLI because I got the best.

Tomislav Šarec

Tomislav Šarec

Migration Specialist / Valiance Partners

I have always been a very curious person, eager to learn new things and develop new skills, challenging myself to push the limits and boundaries about what I can achieve. After my graduation I started to work at a company specialized in capital markets which introduced me to economics and expanded my previous, mostly technical knowledge. I wanted more and always thought about taking an MBA program someday. After successful collaboration on several projects with my fellow students, the biggest challenge yet is to put into life an idea, a company, which was presented as our final business plan. And I think that it won’t stop there. I know that it won’t stop there…COTRUGLI Business School is best experience I had lately, both personality and professionally.

Danail Kroumov

Danail Kroumov

Managing Director / Soft2Run

What is COTRUGLI? It is passion, knowledge and friends who become your partners. It is everything you would like to get from people, knowledge and society. You just need to courage to jump and get it!

Vladan Jocić

Vladan Jocić

Managing Director / Millennium Bet, Novomatic Group of Companies

The program provides a lot of things, it is up to each of us to take advantage of it and take the maximum. I probably had a lot of luck with the generation, it’s impossible that everyone is so good.

Most of the classes are intense and demanding, as you need to prepare, do pre-work assignments, followed by in-class exercises and the final exam. In the same time, you meet a lot your peers, have a lot of fun and make some valuable contacts. You also get to travel and change venues which makes it more interesting.

Zejd Šoto

Zejd Šoto

General Manager / New Life

Because of our desire to do things better and in more beneficial way with every new day, we people are trying to acquire knowledge and skills, I decided for Cotrugli program for this purpose. Diverse values ​​which I have gained through the program is a set of different business and life experiences (experience is an irreplaceable way of acquiring knowledge and skills) and priceless relationships and friendships, for which we as an individual need mulitple more time than Cotrugli program takes.

Denitsa Stoyanova

Denitsa Stoyanova

Head of HR CEE Corporate & Investment and Private banking / UniCredit

The EMBA program of Cotrugli has been an exciting journey to a better version of myself, both personally and professionally. Those two years have been helping me to manage at three positions in three different countries and have also met me with people that will remain part of my life.

Ira Babić

Ira Babić

CEO / Brand Union

I will remember the last 2 years as time when I pushed myself outside the comfort zone, gained plenty of knowledge that improves my proffesional engagements, and overall as time of self improvement and raising self confidence. I’m finishing COTRUGLI as richer person, not just because of the education, but also because of the new friendships with regional professionals, as one of the most valuable benefits for myself.

Vasil Gocevski

Vasil Gocevski

Managing Director / Seavus AB

Benefits are divided in to two categories: structural knowledge and exchange of experience with 50 professionals, whom you can call friends by the end of the program.

Ana Pajović

Ana Pajović

Head of Consumer Health Care Adriatic / Sanofi

COTRUGLI is broadening your boundaries in acquiring knowledge, turning ideas into real business plans. I got important business contacts and friends for life! A great journey with lifetime friends and positive energy!

Luka Saraf

Luka Saraf

CEO / Veletabak

After almost twenty years of experience in the Retail industry, from operational positions to senior management positions, there was an opportunity for me to complete my EMBA study. Thanks to the EMBA program at COTRUGLI Business School, along with the expansion of my knowledge, I have also made great progress in the disciplines of economics that were not my everyday job, all with professional guidance through the study, top world professors, excellent atmosphere, and the friendships I have acquired which will remain for a lifetime.

Nina Gomboc

Nina Gomboc

GF Channel Sales Leader CEE / IBM

COTRUGLI MBA curriculum was exciting and challenging at the same time. I enjoyed the open and rich interactions with colleagues and professors. Trought the course, I’ve gained a lot of useful skills and information, but the biggest advantage for me was the networking – I met a lot of interesting people from the region and gained some new friends.

Ana Budimir

Ana Budimir

Plava laguna d.d. Poreč / Director

After graduation, I decided I wanted to further expand my knowledge; as I started to work in the hospitality industry in 2010, becoming the assistant of the Hotel Director in 2012, I realized that this was the perfect moment to enrol COTRUGLI Business School and so I didI became a COTRUGLI MBA student which was the best decision I could made. It was a dynamic and exiting year through which have gained a wider knowledge in overall business running.  Looking backwards, it was really the best time to attend the MBA because after a year I became a Hotel Director of a 4* hotel and since it’s a demanding and responsible job where you need to be present every day, I wouldn’t be able to be absent every month for a couple of days.  

One of the biggest values that COTRUGLI Business School gave me is learning from lecturers from all over the world and meeting great people from different backgrounds.   

Working in teams, with different characters, resolving tons of case studies, doing small projects and in parallel working on our business plan which we had to present at the end of the program, was something that I have experienced for the first time and it was thrilling.  

Now, six years from graduation, I can say that I’m delighted to be part of COTRUGLI Business School and I still try to participate, when I have time, to some lectures and events that the School organizes so I could retain the old ones and make new contacts, because, after all, I think the most valuable thing that the School gave me is networking of the highest quality, with professionals in different industries.  

Adrijana Vinter

Adrijana Vinter

Managing Director and President of the Management Board / Fidelta d.o.o.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” by Margaret Mead was a first thing I remember from the start of COTRUGLI MBA program and up until today I keep finding proof confirming that.

I have been working as a scientist in drug discovery since 2002. After a few years I have decided to make a change and continue my career outside the lab. I was aware that my general knowledge in business was not on a high level and therefore decided to invest in an MBA education. Searching through available options, I was introduced to COTRUGLI MBA through their scholarship program.

Even after 10 years, I still believe that this was the best decision I made to develop my career. Joining MBA was an eye opener to a completely different world to me, world of business. Being taught by first class lecturers and constantly being surrounded by high skilled people from

different career backgrounds, who challenge me to do better and be better, was a perfect start of a new chapter. The networking edge an MBA gave me is truly unparalleled. Being a team member and staying connected with those amazing people who are spread through the region is absolutely a fortune.

After I finished MBA, with my working experience and the acquired knowledge, my career developed very fast, moving from labs to business development and finally to the position of Managing Director in just 5 years.

The program helped me to discover new ideas, new fields, and new areas of interest and to give me a solid ground for the position I have today. Going through it, my self-confidence increased by improving the knowledge and self-awareness to the level I could never imagine before. What I learned at COTRUGLI Business school is that if you can unlock your passion and develop entrepreneurship spirit, everything you wish for your career is possible.

Angelika Brnada

Angelika Brnada

Director of Sustainable development, health, safety, environment / INA group

For my company, education and professional development of employees is one of the key values, therefore I am grateful that management recognized my potential and made this experience possible for me.

Personally, I would classify COTRUGLI MBA program as innovative and refreshing comparing to conservative approach I have experienced during my study at university.

As benefits I see working in groups of different individuals and backgrounds, which is very similar to work environment, professional and excellent international lecturers, networking and elaboration of what you actually have learned through real cases from different industry. One citation from Personal development I remember frequent while working in very diversified industry; “We cannot control each other, we can influence”.

Although was not always easy to balance work and private life parallel with EMBA program, I used opportunity from many aspects to learn more and I took extra mile during these two years, which contributed to improvement of my personal performance.

For me as SD&HSE Director I would highlight strategic marketing, digital transformation as well as financial management as beneficial due to the fact that I gained some new horizons beside my “technical background”.

Throughout the program, we were provided with tools which we can use on a day-to-day basis in business, as evidenced by our final work thesis Boating.hr.

Experience with COTRUGLI team was good, we had the opportunity to continuously give feedback which was important due to changing environment in many cases within my groups. Therefore, I would definitely recommend program to new students.

Ante Parlov

Ante Parlov

Owner & Senior Consultant / Ingressus Viridis

In every career you have ups and downs, you have great moments that you are extremely proud of, and not so great moments from which you learn from and improve. One of my greatest moments was the decision to embark on an EMBA journey with COTRUGLI Business School.

The decision to do it was not easy and it was riddled with a lot of suspicion whether this is worth the investment (time and money) and would it be just a waste of time. I talked to previous EMBAs and they all had one unanimous message – the experience, knowledge gained and the people are very much worth it! That is how a decision was made and my EMBA journey started…

Two years flew by quickly filled with learning, fun and knowledge sharing. Great lectures, interesting team competition and a lot of extracurricular activities (and it’s not just about learningJ). Through those two years I have made great friendships, strong business partnerships and learned how to think like a businessman. I have learned the language of business and created a new approach on how to tackle business challenges. I took as much knowledge as I could and implemented it within my own company.

Today, five years after I finished EMBA, when I reflect on what it did for me, I can say that I got a couple of great friends, a lot of business partners and associates and a great sense of pride for doing my EMBA in generation X. I’ve also developed new skills which are now propelling my business into one of the markets leaders in Project Management consulting services.

Don’t doubt it, just do it!

Bojan Bernik

Bojan Bernik

Founder & CEO / Morgan Grey digital agency, KLIK.HR, Automobili.hr, Dioptrija.hr

As an entrepreneur I am always trying to learn new things that can help me improve myself personally and improve my business. That was the main reason I choose COTRUGLI EMBA program in the first place. Meeting new successful people also sounded attractive.

I was the youngest in my group. For the first time in my life I was surrounded with only the smart and intelligent people who are way smarter than me. You learn from the professors but sometimes even more from your colleagues.

After the first 2 modules a colleague approached me and asked for a meeting regarding my digital marketing services. Her company stayed a client to this day, even though she left the company soon after. This revenue payed for my COTRUGLI education many times over.

One of my projects was an online food ordering service, which I sold to the biggest media company in Croatia. It was easy because a colleague from COTRUGLI was in charge of searching for interesting acquisitions, so he knew about the project from our casual conversations.

When someone asks me about COTRUGLI my usual answer is that for me it was a great experience and it made me a lot of money directly and indirectly over the years. In my view the people are the biggest asset and that’s why I would always choose COTRUGLI.

Boris Borčić

Boris Borčić

Chief Financial Officer and Management Board Member / HoldINA d.o.o. and Energopetrol d.d. (members of INA Group)

In today’s world when business environment is getting more and more complex, where new technologies emerge constantly, where change is one and only certain and constant thing it is important to continuously work on yourself. This is the only way you can stay competitive on the market, but also the way which will ensure that you have all needed qualities to become a leader of the future.

To accomplish that it is important to expand your knowledge and skills in multiple directions and COTRUGLI MBA offers that. You can gain various theoretical knowledge containing frameworks and concepts mixed with real life examples that experienced lecturers share with the students.

On top of all that, one of most valuable things coming with this program are your colleagues with whom you share the same journey. One can attain a lot from their business and life experience that are shared during lectures, but more often during free time between lectures. This brings values and relationships that last longer than official program itself.

Realizing the abovementioned circumstances, I wanted to upgrade and develop my career, so I decided to start the journey with COTRUGLI. My career commenced in INA Group as an intern in controlling and progress to managerial level position when I enrolled on MBA program. At that time, I was in IT and this MBA helped me to gain valuable tools and knowledge to drive my career further by enabling me to see the big picture, enhance forward looking thinking, organize business processes and empower people management.

Currently I’m CFO and management board member of INA Group operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on a position which demands from me ever more versatility, adaptability and innovation. COTRUGLI MBA program helped me on my career path to achieve success.

Boris Spremo

Boris Spremo

Head of Operations / Trustology

10 years ago, when I was a young, shy IT consultant, I knew that I understood technology well, but I also realized that I didn’t recognize its value to the society and its many businesses. With that in mind, I applied for a scholarship for the COTRUGLI MBA program, and I found myself among young, smart people from different countries who, for the most part, had no experience with technology. I had something to bring to the table, and so did they. I learned about business, but – more importantly – I learned how to communicate with businesspeople, and how to convey the value of what I did. We worked hard together, we travelled, and we partied. Friendships formed, and many persisted. A venture, albeit a short-lived one, was started with a couple of colleagues. All in all, it was a wonderful time, and I left with a trove of new, exciting knowledge that complemented my analytical skills well.

For a few years, I went back to technology: I worked on large projects for big multinationals. I moved countries and started a small consultancy in London. I learned about fintech and took a senior innovation role at a top-tier bank, where I worked with clients and senior stakeholders to find ways to transform global capital markets. Last year, I helped start a serious blockchain venture with well-known investors.

Throughout all this time, I didn’t realize how much the MBA prepared me for my professional path. What was once learned knowledge, became intuition, and what was intuition became second nature. Slipping into new roles and juggling different disciplines was challenging, but I always knew just enough to carry on. My time with COTRUGLI was deeply, yet very quietly – almost subconsciously – transformational. Some of my ex-colleagues are now close friends and trusted advisors, and I make every opportunity to see them. And I have recently brought back my old COTRUGLI folders from Croatia, because I realized that there are some problems that I don’t yet know how to solve.

Borko Buturac

Borko Buturac

Company Director / INA MALOPRODAJNI SERVISI d.o.o. Sales operative / INA d.d.

My professional life is a continuous learning process focused on retail.

Executive MBA program at COTRUGLI Business School helped me develop the skills necessary to keep my work successful. I have improved leadership and people management skills, learned how to manage difficult situations, interpret various reports. I learned about operations, negotiation, decision analysis, accounting, frameworks for simplifying complex problems and much more.

COTRUGLI MBA coursework involves a broad spectrum of business-related topics including accounting, statistics, economics, communications, management, etc. By getting new knowledge from Finance, Human Resources, Operation and Strategy Management I have gained a new dimension of my business processes. I have learned how to see thing from different perspectives. But I have also learn how to think strategically.

I had the opportunity to explore the latest business trends, apply the newest management tools and techniques. COTRUGLI MBA is also a great way to prepare for a changing business environment. The abilities I developed are also the best tools to adapt to the unavoidable change of industries, the marketplace, and the ways people do business.

Besides that, one of the great benefits from COTRUGLI MBA was familiarizing with new colleagues which was an excellent source of new perspectives and ideas. We shared opinions, saw thing in a new light, discussed common challenges and opportunities and exchanged best practice knowledge. I think this was “just the begging of a beautiful friendships”…

Dario Ćorić

Dario Ćorić

Head of Treasury and Financial Services / SIEMENS

At one point of my life, I have realized that I need a change and I set to myself three main criteria:

– I want to develop personally,

– I want to expand existing and acquire new knowledge

– I want to be close enough to my family and friends.

And I found COTRUGLI!

In terms of personal development, I had the opportunity to meet great colleagues and professionals, sixty of us shared the same goal for two years. It is special feeling when you realize yourself and others through constant teamwork, ups and downs, by reaching common solution in real simulation of the business world. That helped me to change my fixed to growth mindset.

By attending Executive MBA program at COTRUGLI, I have realised how many opportunities actually we have around us. For me, it was so valued journey with fantastic colleagues, that allowed me to review existing and aquire new knowledge, with lot of challenges that helped me to grow.“

In regard to the quality of the program in general, the AMBA certificate that the school possesses is sufficient proof of excellence. The program is tailored to cover all areas needed by top managers to succesfully run a business. Every and each module we had was above my expectation. New competencies I have achieved, gave me additional confidence.

And finally, due to such module schedule, I was close enough to my family and friends, who also were important segment of our journey. As in my generation I was honored to deliver a closing or farewell statement during a graduation ceremony (valediction), I remember the faces of people in audience, lot of family members were so happy and proud on us. At that moment, I felt pride, too

Domagoj Brlošić

Domagoj Brlošić

CEO & Founder / KADING Ltd

As I started my professional life as a mechanical engineer, I was involved in various projects which required not only engineering knowledge, but also to also have basic knowledge about business, project management and leadership skills. In the beginning of my carrier I was mostly responsible for managing my own projects but as time passed and my boss recognized my potential, my responsibilities have grown.

 

Suddenly, I was responsible for leading group of people with various education levels, different backgrounds and personalities, which represented a big challenge for me as I had no formal education about subjects needed to a leader as I would like to be. This new role came with the requirement to know more about good business practices and to understand how business today works.

 

Parallel with this carrier advancement, I have decided to start my own company and to offer my engineering services to the market. This step brings new challenges into my life; how should I organize my business, marketing, sales channels etc.?

 

And then I got the opportunity to join COTRUGLI Executive MBA program as their program covered all the subjects about Sales, Marketing, Operations and Strategy Management, HR. An additional benefit was the flexible and modular program approach which allowed me to attend all lectures with as little as possible influence on my work.

 

The program was very intense and required a lot of preparation before and after the lectures, but in the end, all that work gave me a completely new standpoint about everything; professional and private life, business and most importantly it gave me a new perspective.

 

After successfully finishing the program I decided to quit my job and to put my focus on growing my own company. The knowledge gained from COTRUGLI Executive MBA program helped me run my business efficiently and to help our customer solve their problems in organizations.

 

Today I’m proud of our team and the projects which we have successfully finished and I’m looking forward for future opportunities.

Igor Vlahović

Igor Vlahović

President Of The Bord / PRESS GLASS d.o.o.

I started COTRUGLI EMBA program in 2013 with 11th ZG generation. Till than I was Mechanical Engineer on the position Head of Manufacturing with 17 years of experience in the company in which I was 16th employee and we built it from the scratch to the position of the regional leader in the branch with almost 300 employees.

As company grew my position in it was higher and higher and number of stuff and relations, I was responsible for, grew constantly. Through all these years we had approach to different trainings, seminars, consultants and literature but my bosses decided that we need something more serious to improve my managerial skills. So COTRUGLI Business School was chosen and from today’s perspective it was one of the best business decisions in my career.

COTRULI opened for me completely new business perspective, way of thinking and doing tasks. With so many years in business I didn’t heard something completely

new, but I had a feeling that after every modul I fill some gaps in knowledge. Finance, Accounting, Sales and Marketing gave me, as Production Engineer, precious knowledge and prerequisite to better understand these functions in the company. Some others like Human Resources, Communication and specially Leadership empowered my feeling of the responsibility for the employees.

But in not only up to knowledge. It is even more up to approach and understanding wider picture. Interdisciplinary teams on the same tasks gave me opportunity to better understand some different point of views. My fellow students unselfishly shared their knowledge and experience. They were friends, fellow students and teachers at the same time. I learned a lot from them, and I can say that I gained fantastic business network in those two years.

At very very beginning I was scared how I will organise my private live, work and business school but COTRUGLI has taught me how many reserves and potential we can pull out ourselves.

There is a saying: “If someone wants to learn something, he finds a way, who doesn’t he finds excuse.”

This is maybe the most precious take off because our growth and learning didn’t finish after our graduation. COTRUGLI showed me the way how to continue this lifetime process, opened a new perspective end encouraged me to aim higher in my business career. Today I am on the position of the President of the Board in an international company. I am responsible for Croatian operations with more than 400 employees and it probably would not happen without COTRUGLI.

Ivan Vučetić

Ivan Vučetić

Director of International Sales at Halcom d.d./ Member of the Executive Board at Halcom d.d.

For writing this article I checked my application form for enrolling at COTRUGLI. I have sent it on the 10.05.2011.

In the personal statement I wrote that time that “In 3 to 5 years I find myself running my own business in a consulting company with 2 or 3 highly motivated professional co-workers.” I started my own consulting company at 2017 with 3 co-workers!

One of my COTRUGLI classmates helped me in doing so!

On the 3rd question “Describe how you can use your MBA education in your current position and how your experiences will contribute to the MBA group” I stated that “I expect that MBA education will enlarge my contact network, which might lead to various opportunities for me as well as the company I work for. I want to back up my “on the field” business knowledge with other case-studies and exchange experiences with other participants. I feel like I can add a lot to the MBA group as I am a great promoter, motivator, I connect people and inspire them to never stop learning… “with my COTRUGLI MBA fellows we started during the study a small start-up company called MBA friends with 22 co-founders (mostly MBA’s) from 5 different countries!

On the 6th question “What are the 3 terms that would best describe your expectations from E/MBA?“ I stated “Network, Knowledge and New experience.”

My COTRUGLI MBA experience has gone beyond my expectations. I got a chance to meet the real world-class lecturers and to learn from fellow classmates; managers and entrepreneurs from all over the region. I’ve grown and learned from my classmates as much as I have from the projects I’ve undertaken. Outside of the classes, projects and big life decisions, I also have gained friends and colleagues for life. My network has since than significantly grown. After graduated MBA from COTRUGLI Business School in 2013 I have contributed to the growth and success of various organizations over the past 6 years. During the last 2 years with my consulting company I have successfully orchestrated changes at a high-tech company and at a state-owned Telecommunication company. Previously I worked as the Director of Sales and Marketing at Steklarna Hrastnik, where I was one of the key drivers of the well-known turnaround case in Slovenia.

Jerneja Mori

Jerneja Mori

Head of Quality control / Thermo Fisher Scientific

After my bachelor’s in Microbiology and my Ph.D. in Biomedicine, I felt the need to broaden my horizon. While doing my Ph.D., I was already interested in business and economy topics. When the MBA opportunity emerged, it felt natural to go this path. I was fortunate with winning COTRUGLI MBA scholarship, and the program fitted my expectations and my schedule. Therefore, I grabbed this opportunity with both hands. Being a full-time employee in a pharmaceutical company Novartis and combining studies was not always easy. However, all sleepless nights, traveling, and hard work paid off. I’ve gained additional knowledge that I was seeking, but most importantly, I’ve met so many interesting people, from different countries, professions, and backgrounds. We’ve been sharing so many experiences and learning from each other. Since I spend a lot of time with my classmates, we bounded in a way that still keeps us in contact, even after we finished with studies. And the friendships we made are priceless.

On the professional side, the MBA opened for me new opportunities. Only a month after the graduation and receiving Dean’s award for Outstanding achievements, I moved from Slovenia to the Netherlands for a new challenge. I’ve been promoted to a leadership role in a Biopharmaceutical company, where I am still working. Today, as Head of Quality Control, I am leading the second-largest department on this site. I see that the experiences I’ve gained during my studies are helping me in my day to day work.

I am grateful and honoured to be part of this amazing journey with COTRUGLI Business school. For great professors we met, the friendships we made, and the knowledge we gained! Like Benjamin Franklin said: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Josip Šaban

Josip Šaban

Lead BI architect / Erste Group IT, Vienna Owner / Meridian Dana

Choosing a good and competitive MBA program has always been a difficult task. It has to consider student’s education, experience, aspirations and long-term goals. It has to make sure that all of that, married with a good MBA program would take a student’s career to a new trajectory.

Choosing COTRUGLI MBA filled up all of those requirements after I attended their curriculum presentations, offered to all prospective students. Their intensive program, during which we worked as a team on different projects have thought me a lot about the personal insight of each team member, making me better team lead and a manager.

Having said that, the real-life application of the learned lessons has proven to be invaluable in my banking and entrepreneurial careers combined with building successful teams abroad. It also marked a start of my transformation from a senior IT professional to a career of IT manager, a challenging but rewarding path, which COTRUGLI MBA made much easier.

This all marks a major milestone in my career, and many steps and achievements will follow, as it was once said by Winston Churchill that ‘No success is final, and no failure is fatal.

Luka Sadar

Luka Sadar

Key Account Manager / Akrapovič d.d.

As a person with engineering background I was responsible to provide measurable results. And as a person with affinity to sales and business development I wanted to make a change, moving from »safe« environment of R&D to »uncomfortable« zone in sales.

It was already clear to me at that point that same approach practiced in R&D will not work in sales. Especially not with the biggest costumers where initial communication and discussion will not involve only R&D and procurement people, but also marketing, product development, sales, legal and senior management.

How to approach each situation, how to manage all these challenges?

I needed a tool – an education/coaching program which would allow me to balance new working position with all the courses. COTRUGLI was obvious decision as it meet with all demands I had.

Courses and lecturers were a completely new world for me. It was exactly what I have needed at that point to fill me with appropriate business practices, knowledge how to handle special cases, how to approach people and to be able to open my mind and think about what opposite side or even my own colleagues are thinking. How to listen and not only how to speak. It taught me to rethink over things which seems to be clear, but they are not. And having integrity is already win on its own.

It has filled me up with all the confidence to be able to face all challenges which came with the new position. After almost two years and countless business trips, meetings, discussions, negotiations worldwide it is clear that attending COTRUGLI bus was the right decision to make.

I have to mention all the wonderful colleagues who made this 2-year journey to be one of the best experiences I had until know. Every day was something new and I have learned from each of them at least as much I got from courses/lectures. Thank you, guys, and thanks to COTRUGLI to make it happen.

Marijana Šarolić Robić

Marijana Šarolić Robić

Attorney / Law Marijana Šarolić Robić

Being a lawyer by background and education after more than 12 years of professional career in banking and law industry and being an equity partner in one of the biggest Croatian law firms in 2011 I realized that I have to get more proficient with numbers and industry trends in order to progress both professionally and personally.

Therefore, I chose to enroll to Executive MBA program in 2012 primarily while modules where organised during the weekend and it seemed feasible to manage professional and private life while learning.

During my two years in COTRUGLI Business School I remembered that I loved learning and have met friends for life who also became my business partners and clients today.

I realized that I wanted to test myself as independent service provider and I have successfully started business of my own and due to skills and lessons I have received during my EMBA course I still run and develop my business.

The numbers became my friends and I have learned to understand better the functioning of economy and society as a whole and I have also learned to identify better when to introduce other experts.

So COTRUGLI Business School not only helped me to realize myself as entrepreneur but also plant a seed of gender equality during my Business communication module held by great Marijo Bos who run as PWN Global president at that moment. A group of my colleagues and I spent a whole year preparing business plan for our city network of PWN Zagreb using all skills and tools we received during our MBA courses. Today I am proud to share with you that PWN ZAGREB is one of the NGO constantly growing and increasingly having social impact on gender related issues by advancing the way women and men work together.

Marina Sumajstorčić

Marina Sumajstorčić

Business Processes and Operation Manager, Global Procurement / Xellia Ltd

My COTRUGLU journey started with a thought of building up on my pharmaceutical background, especially in fields like finance and leadership, so I could perform better at work. Little did I know at the time that the thought would take me so much farther than I initially planned to go and bring me much more than a new set of skills. I applied for a scholarship one Spring day of 2011, late at night. After finally putting to sleep my 2-year old daughter, I saw an ad in a corner of a daily newspaper web site and said to myself “Let’s give it a try!”. When I actually won the scholarship, there was no turning back.

It has now been more than 7 years now since I finished the program, and when I think about it I first think of the people I got to know there. I truly enjoyed the environment which COTRUGLI has built for us. In my generation there were students from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria, and all of us brought different ideas and different perspectives. I guess with time I almost forgot all about numerous reading materials, deadlines, tiredness, late night Skype meetings with my classmates and all the hard work and dedication which each and every one of us put in during those 15 months. On the other hand, I vividly remember all the lectures, dynamic discussions, eye-opening “aha!” moments (thank you Ivica Vrancic, Mike George and Nicolas Kfuri) and great parties in Belgrade, Rovinj and Zagreb.

Dealing with difficult people, structuring big projects, managing expectations, learning how to communicate with and align different pieces of an organization – the MBA prepared me for all of that through countless group projects, constant confrontation with unfamiliar subject matter (and having to make sense of it), and various sorts of work challenges.

Mario Bobetić

Mario Bobetić

Customer Project Manager / Ericsson Nikola Tesla d.d.

Just as for many of my colleague engineers, my career started at current company 12 years ago. Shortly after I started as a system engineer, I got the opportunity to participate in transferring and organizing one regional competence hub to our Zagreb office. I suddenly found myself in the position to fully understand the “why” on a business move of my company. I wanted to continue with managing business and only few months after starting as an engineer I got my role in project management. Such a thrill for me.

“I know you run fast, but until now you have been running alone. Only way to know how fast you really run, is if you to run with others.” This was said to me by my manager as I started to work in the Project Management Office. I like my job and I wanted to run as fast as I can, which also motivated me to further educate myself in business. COTRUGLI caught my attention right away and challenge was accepted. I’ve won the full scholarship in the thrilling competition. Everything was just going great, and my motivation was higher than ever.

MBA program provided incredible experience, the one you take with you for a life. COTRUGLI hosts and staff gave us a lot of fun and as much hard work around the program. Lecturers presented the modules in such a way that I was looking forward for each one that was coming next. The knowledge and the fact I’ve shared it with some of the most amazing people I’ve met just sums it up for me.

In my career today as Senior Project Manager I still apply what I’ve mastered in the MBA program. I personally consider program and project management the most important link in the supply chain as today we go above the classic methodology and reach out to surrounding domains of business such as sales, consulting, finance and HR. I’m also investing in the business plan which was presented at COTRUGLI as my team final exam. This makes it a full circle closed on the expectations I had when I first thought of going to MBA, but I’m sure it will still continue to provide me future success.

And I still keep my notes…

Marko Banović

Marko Banović

Business development manager & Assistant director / Stelkom d.o.o

When I got back to Slovenia after finishing bachelor’s degree in International Business in Chicago, USA, a friend of mine said he just finished MBA program at COTRUGLI Business School. I wasn’t really interested at first, but he explained some good points and I agreed to visit open day and later apply for scholarship. After the application process, I was one of candidates that received scholarship. During an MBA I met a lot of amazing collogues who are successful managers and entrepreneurs from Adriatic region. COTRUGLI Business School brings you practical cases with top-ranked international lecturers who are not only good lecturers but good managers as well. With that they gave me practical examples and experience that I can use in life – business and personal.

I have to thank MBA program at COTRUGLI Business School for great experience, gaining a lot of knowledge and making a lot of new colleagues. With some of these colleagues I became close friend and also co-worker. Another good and very important thing you get with this program is network that I am using today and will definitely use in the future. Highly recommend! With some of these colleagues we are thinking of going again.

Marko Brkljačić

Marko Brkljačić

Chief Digital Transformation and Innovation Officer / Tokić d.o.o.

At the time when I was applying for EMBA program at COTRUGLI (2017) I was just 28 years old.

Whole thing happened “by accident”. Year before I went with my colleagues on an over-weekend module on topic of Digital transformation not knowing that 3 years after I’ll be leading whole department in charge of Digital transformation and Innovation in our company.

What should have been only once-off education became an unforgettable 2 years’ experience as I decided to apply for 2 years EMBA program. I knew I would like to have more of what COTRUGLI has to offer and I’m very happy of that decision. Not only that COTRUGLI with their respective portfolio of lecturers are source of new knowledge but collaboration with colleagues and friendships that I’ve made during studies are priceless.

For sure it was challenging to balance work and private life with obligations on EMBA studies but all the effort in the end pays off. Cool thing is that you get some new ideas that you can plug & play in your organisation immediately but also to receive knowledge that will help you on your long run throughout carrier.

On top of everything, COTRUGLI is constantly following new trends (at the moment blockchain) and it’s really cool that you have opportunity to work with COTRUGLI team also after finishing formal part of journey.

Martin Žagar

Martin Žagar

Scientific Advisor in Computer Science and IT Master Program Coordinator / RIT Croatia

At COTRUGLI Business School I met great people and we learned not just how to think out of the box, but we created our new boxes.

I am a University Professor in the field of IT, and all my life was IT-related. My Ph.D. was in core computing, my projects were related to information systems, but by enrolling COTRUGLI Business School my focus for business was broaden and my life-long learning experience was continued in the completely new filed. Now I coordinate Master Program at my University, my friends from COTRUGLI Business School are working together with my students on research projects, members from COTRUGLI family are sponsoring my research and industry-based projects, and we all together are not just reaching new horizons in collaboration, but also it makes a lot of fun for us.

Since I was awarded the full scholarship, at the beginning I felt a bit under pressure – would I meet the expectations, but thanks to my superb colleagues and great professors, that fear transformed into the fun already on the first module.

Having accomplished COTRUGLI EMBA program also boosted my self-confidence and self-awareness; now I am collaborating as a PI or Co-PI on research projects with colleagues from Europe, US, and Taiwan in setting the base for the better interoperable and multinational future. Just like the professors we had on our EMBA classes – multinational and multidimensional team of experts in their fields, interesting lectures and valuable hand-on examples, most of them I am still using in my everyday life.

Our EMBA journey was not easy, the schedule was though, a lot of teamwork we did, brainstorming during the nights, but the outcomes were something we were proud of. Our professors were not just teaching us; they were advising us a lot about different approaches and mindsets. In the end, that’s how we created our new boxes. All in one, my COTRUGLI EMBA program was a joyful and valuable experience.

Nataša Rozić

Nataša Rozić

Regional Sales Director / Ralu logistika

People use to think that our learning stops when our education in schools and universities is over. But learning and developing is a process that lasts during all of our life. Our life is a journey where we learn, develop and grow all around the way.

2 years in COTRUGLI EMBA program were exactly such a journey for me and a great opportunity to meet and work on projects with colleagues coming from completely different industries. It was a time of my personal development and getting stronger for all challenges that dynamic business environment like logistics bring.

As a woman in, unfortunately, still ‘man industry’ that transport is, EMBA program gave me a possibility for sharpening skills from my economical education background and for coping with daily challenges in transport as well as being prepared for strategic decisions. With lots of practical and interactive parts of modules EMBA program gives the students a tool applicable in their jobs but also in every day’s life.

EMBA program gave me a change in perspective and learning how to adjust approach for reaching the goals. I have learned a lot about digitalization from modules but especially from colleagues due to the big variety of colleague’s profiles who in my generation came mostly from IT industry.

Very important part is that some of the colleagues became my good friends with whom I kept the contact after the program is over.

Nikolina Topić

Nikolina Topić

CEO, founder / Prokotip d.o.o.

As an economist and a certified business designer with a wide range of managerial experience and diverse international education, I believe that lifelong education is the key in the modern turbulent market.

COTRUGLI lecturers from world-renowned colleges have provided me with a wider perspective on business and introduced me with market trends of different industries. I improved my organizational skills, channelled my creativity towards my career and, through a large team project at the end of my MBA, realized the importance of contributing different profiles within the project.

In addition to professional education, I’ve also met some amazing colleagues who are extremely successful in their careers and with whom I have continued contact.

Prior to my MBA I worked as the Head of marketing as well as the Assistant director for Finance and Sales. COTRUGLI MBA program enabled me to recognize the need for innovation consultancy on the Croatian market. The need for constant improvement of the clients’ business resulted with starting an innovation consulting company PROKOTIP – a company whose market has been progressed in the last year and we can see a positive competition contributing to the development of a new branch of the economy.

I thank COTRUGLI for the initiatives the School is launching and all our associates who have recognized innovation as a key market driver. I believe that creativity through the introduction of innovation in all parts of the business can improve the Croatian economy and retain human capital in Croatia.

Nino Beneta

Nino Beneta

Managing Director Export, License & Business Development EMEA & APAC / Molson Coors Beverage Company

I strongly believe that a diverse set of experiences often leads to success, whether we are talking about careers or projects. My journey in beer started in 2007, as a Trainee of Zagrebačka brewery in Croatia, during the time in worked in several commercial areas, when in 2011 I decided to join COTRUGLI Business School MBA program through the scholarship application opportunity.

Working and studying wasn’t always an easy task, however I found working in group MBA project interesting and useful, as it really captured some of the underlying principles of every successful teamwork: open conversations, challenging each other, building on ideas and sometimes disagreeing, but committing to progress the work together!

I also found studying in an international environment very enjoyable as different cultures and backgrounds emerge different ways of thinking, whether coming from lecturers or colleagues.

Perhaps a coincidence, but not long after graduating the MBA course I joined the international division of Molson Coors, primarily focusing on development of brands through partnerships in Russia and Ukraine, later Eastern Europe and as of recently in Europe, Middle East, Africa & Asia -Pacific. It has been a great and diverse experience which still excites me.

One principle we always valued during COTRUGLI studies, and which I still find true today was: Work Hard, Play Hard – business makes sense if you are doing it with people who you like to have on the team, and with who you have fun with!

Nino Štambuk

Nino Štambuk

Head of business strategy / RTL Croatia

Some things just stick with you no matter how much time has passed.

When those things also drive positive change – then you can consider yourself a lucky person. That has been the case with my COTRUGLI experience. I still remember it like it was yesterday – great teachers, insightful lectures, engaging colleagues, and days packed with fun. You should expect the same! Nothing less.

I learn how to work diligently through problems. How to multitask and prioritize. How to think in a structured way, and to efficiently communicate ideas. I learned things on Sunday, and I successfully applied them on Monday. I´ve started my career back in 2004. I was 19 years old student, with zero experience, in the newly founded RTL newsroom. It was a stroke of fortune. I applied for MBA eight years later, while I was still on the grind through the journalistic nightshifts and weekends. After attending COTRUGLI business school I started to grow faster than ever.

Today, I´m shaping the overall company strategy of RTL Hrvatska, with special focus on the digital transformation. I´m far from being over, but for sure, none of this would happen without the foundations that were laid down during my COTRUGLI years. I expect nothing less from you. It is simple. First, you learn and then make it stick. Rest will come.

Oliver Šarić

Oliver Šarić

Business Unit Director / Johnson & Johnson S.E. d.o.o.

Executive MBA came at a very thankless time of my life, in the year when I was changing position within the company, got a second child and entered a private business related to tourism. However, there is never a ‘right moment’ in life, one must dare to take the risk and the effort always pays off.

Now when it’s all over, I must admit that the time dedicated to COTRUGLI Executive MBA was an excellent investment and as a result of it, I established great networking, several true friendships, gained additional knowledge and expertise and of course got a diploma!

When concept of MBA is concerned, what I liked the most is a diversity of professions. We had a group of people from a different field of occupation and exchange of a various business views on the same topic was a great experience for me. It was useful to see how an engineer, person from human science background and economist approach solving the same task.

Two years of my life, I spent with a people who wanted to learn and advance in their carriers, but also to have fun and we all know the saying ‘What would life be without fun’!

Considering my university education at the time when digitalization didn’t affect us as today, it was also valuable for me to have an education set in a way to cope with solving of business problems in accordance with year to date technological achievements and current market trends.

Not of less importance for extremely busy people with families is flexibility of COTRUGLI Business School when modules are concerned.

From the person who was a bit skeptical regarding this ‘journey’ in his life, I became the one who is now truly recommending it and can’t wait for some additional COTRUGLI Masterclass.

Oliver Šarić

Oliver Šarić

Business Unit Director / Johnson & Johnson S.E. d.o.o.

Executive MBA came at a very thankless time of my life, in the year when I was changing position within the company, got a second child and entered a private business related to tourism. However, there is never a ‘right moment’ in life, one must dare to take the risk and the effort always pays off.

Now when it’s all over, I must admit that the time dedicated to COTRUGLI Executive MBA was an excellent investment and as a result of it, I established great networking, several true friendships, gained additional knowledge and expertise and of course got a diploma!

When concept of MBA is concerned, what I liked the most is a diversity of professions. We had a group of people from a different field of occupation and exchange of a various business views on the same topic was a great experience for me. It was useful to see how an engineer, person from human science background and economist approach solving the same task.

Two years of my life, I spent with a people who wanted to learn and advance in their carriers, but also to have fun and we all know the saying ‘What would life be without fun’!

Considering my university education at the time when digitalization didn’t affect us as today, it was also valuable for me to have an education set in a way to cope with solving of business problems in accordance with year to date technological achievements and current market trends.

Not of less importance for extremely busy people with families is flexibility of COTRUGLI Business School when modules are concerned.

From the person who was a bit skeptical regarding this ‘journey’ in his life, I became the one who is now truly recommending it and can’t wait for some additional COTRUGLI Masterclass.

Sanja Rossi

Sanja Rossi

Brand activation consultant / Motorsports, Spain founder and owner / ROSSI CONSULTING

An MBA was a best investment in myself!

Even the most challenging journey begins with a single step. While the phrase may have become a cliché, it actually describes my career trajectory after I finished MBA exceptionally well.

Before joining COTRUGLI I was working in Croatian Telekom as Corporate Sponsorships and Events group leader where I was responsible for developing and delivering the top creative concepts for corporate events. But my biggest step was crossing the boundary from a national team to an international one at Deutsche Telekom HQ in Germany, which I did after I finished MBA.

As I always felt at home working with cross-cultural teams. After finishing MBA, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and to change it for something I had very little ideas about. So, I took the plunge and applied to become part of the Strategy and Performance Mgt. Europe department in DT Germany.

Together with my diverse team we worked on executing the long-term strategy to transform and unify the DT organisation throughout Europe.

Living and working abroad has really broadened my horizons. For me it was a great chance to discover my strengths. It also made me more confident, motivated and able to adapt to change and new challenges.

My story shows what kind of opportunities for growth and development become available when an individual decides to embrace change and take that first step into the unknown.

Beginning of 2019. I took another very brave step when I decided to follow my dreams. I left my job and moved to Barcelona, I founded my own company and started working in completely new industry – motorsports industry – as a brand activation consultant building the innovative immersive experiences for moto GP events all over the world.

I just returned from two months project in Southeast Asia where I was working on MotoGP Thailand and Moto GP Malaysia 2019. Working in other countries is such a rich and challenging experience that teaches you flexibility, resilience and the ability to adapt to new situations and be creative in solving problem it is unique and ultimately a rewarding life experience.

Curiosity about technology coupled with a desire to learn help me discover some new talents, I just released a VR game for Asian market and again learned that anything is possible.

Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it with use. Be brave!

The most important thing I gained with an MBA is a big-picture perspective. It gave me a broad perspective of the business world, how the economy works, and I gained important analytical skills you need to understand how every element of the business contributes to its overall performance. When it’s time to step up to a leadership role, you need to have that wide view on how your business functions and what is happening in your industry. Through the COTRUGLI program, I was not only navigating economics and marketing but also team-building skills including problem solving, teamwork. An MBA program is like a meeting of the minds. Being surrounded by ambitious professionals means not only will you be more driven to do your best, but you could be

meeting your next business partner. And something incredibly valuable is that you learn a lot from each and every person. MBA was a learning and a maturing experience. And Yes, the MBA is going to be stressful, but it’s going to be incredibly worth it!!

Sebastjan Lipovšek

Sebastjan Lipovšek

Asia Operations Director / Iskratel d.o.o.

COTRUGLI Business School help me to Moonshot my career. Although I was very lucky at the start of my career and was able to gain a lot of knowledge and practice thru it, which led me to position of managing subsidiary of German Facility management company in Slovenia. I was looking for a way to “refresh” my management knowledge as I see black holes in it, no matter how much time I devoted for self-learning.

The revelation came in form of COTRUGLI Business School scholarship selection process in Ljubljana. I was excited with the energy of the COTRUGLI students and graduates, as well with the qualifications. The event was prepared so well I knew what my next step shall be. What have also surprised me a lot, was an opportunity to attend their regular meetings in Ljubljana, so I was eager to start the journey. Unfortunately an event in private life has stopped me for a while, but I was decisive to enroll and finish the school.

And I will never regret my determination and decision! Although it was hard to balance all private and business activities with school, I was always hardly waiting for next module: First to meet again with my colleagues or better to say lifelong friends, with whom you can always exchange opinions openly and who has supported me in hard times. Second to listen to great lecturers, who were always prepared for discussion and has shared their knowledge with you for free. Third to get insight and understand new trends and tools those are happening in the world and how to apply them in our everyday life. And last but not least to have fun. Although lectures required a lot of concentration and seriousness, we have had fun all the time. If lectures in our schooling system would be like this, I would be permanent student.

But the lecture of Mike George has really influenced me and has pushed me to rethink my future career. With the help of amazing colleague I was able to follow my passion and land current position in Taiwan, covering also China. And I believe I can successfully work in this totally different cultural and business environment than ours, due to knowledge and experiences obtained during the COTRUGLI EMBA program.

Stephanie E. Trpkov

Stephanie E. Trpkov

Energy Sector Consultant / World Bank Grou

I have lived several lifetimes, the most impactful turning point being the choice to move to Croatia by virtue of marriage in 2003. Armed with two degrees which turned out not to be acknowledged in Croatia, and a negative professional starting position where a total lack of networks was just one of many barriers, the options were to tackle the challenges or accept defeat and move to the UK, where my degrees would be immediately accepted. Defeat was unacceptable to me, and as doors kept closing in Croatia, a window opened in Slovenia.

The opportunities in Slovenia eventually led to various projects in Croatia. However, despite a varied experience in business including managerial roles, my background in biochemistry meant that I was locked in one perspective, unable to lead effectively, due to knowledge gaps in finance and economics. To get to the next level, rapid growth in this regional environment was needed and COTRUGLI became my catalyst towards excellence.

The integrated skills acquired from completing an Executive MBA program at COTRUGLI Business School made me confident in the value I bring to my peers and adopted society. I also gained valuable friendships and contacts. Based on my EMBA experience, I aced the job interview at the World Bank Group and got hired to work on major strategic projects, even before formally graduating. Now I am an established World Bank consultant specialised in strategic industry transition, specifically in the energy sector. I am also an entrepreneur, a member of several expert committees of the EC supporting high tech SMEs, and an expert contributor to the UNECE sustainable cities agenda. Choosing COTRUGLI was a leap of faith that fostered my personal development in ways I could not have predicted.

Tatjana Prenđa Trupe

Tatjana Prenđa Trupe

International Expert / WB, WHO, EC

For 15 years, I was working as a consultant and manager in different companies, on different positions, settings and even different countries, but as I am computing engineer, I was always perceived as technical person and not manager knowledgeable in economy and management. This was the reason why I started EMBA at COTRUGLI Business School.

My first month in school accidently coincided with starting my position as government official leading Croatian Health Insurance Fund (CHIF) where, during 4 years, I had the opportunity (and responsibility) to lead 2400 people, 3 billion EUR budget and supporting Minister of Health in managing health system in Croatia. Luckily, I was gaining a lot of very useful skills and knowledge in COTRUGLI school and having support from teachers who were there to answer any question I had. Also, I had support from other students, some of them still very good friends of mine. When I look back, management part of my experience in CHIF was interesting and easy – managing people, teams, budget, operations, strategizing, every-day communicating with media, designing and implementing reforms, negotiating, fighting, presenting, debating, reporting etc. Even though I had a lot of management experience, my success and self-confidence in actual tough situations (which I had almost every day), I attribute to formal knowledge I gained at COTRUGLI.

Currently I work as an international expert in Armenia, Austria, Spain, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Serbia, Russia, Albania etc., leading, organizing, advising, teaching, managing, communicating etc., and for all that I very often browse through my COTRUGLI books. Also, I started my PhD in Health Financing on the University of Maastricht where they acknowledged my EMBA COTRUGLI diploma as prerequisite.

In my experience, every investment in education always pays off. Learning just never stops.

Tea Crkvenac

Tea Crkvenac

CEO / Avola Solutions

After technical education and several years spent mostly working on technical positions, I had the opportunity to lead a department in an IT company. I accepted that challenge but soon I came to a conclusion that I missed the wider picture of business with my current education and experience level. So, I was very excited to be able to enroll to COTRUGLI.

Two years spent at COTRUGLI was an exciting journey. It was sometimes very hard to manage everyday business requirements with my family and school obligations and from time to time I caught myself asking is it worth it? Now looking back, COTRUGLI was an amazing mix of meeting great new people, making friends, learning and fun.

Three years ago, I was presented with an opportunity to change my job. It was a difficult decision to make but I accepted it with full self-confidence that I am sure, I wouldn’t have without COTRUGLI. I continued to base my work on feeling, cherishing relationships and good working environment. Every single thing I learned during my time at COTRUGLI, helped me to lead the team, motivate them and at the end, completely transform the company. The transformation included both changing people’s mindset and changing the business focus to make company more agile and profitable in years to come. The transformation resulted with a company that cherishes a relaxed working atmosphere, where people respect and support each other and where the teams are working closely together on the path of fulfilling the new business objective. Two years after we decided that the company should focus on IT security, we received a status of the best partner in Croatia from our biggest vendor. I am very happy and proud for us. It was a result of lots of hard work, focus on quality and people relationship. It is a big motivation for team and me, to achieve even better results in the future. Except from formal education I got during my time at COTRUGLI, some lectures and lots of great people from my generation as well as some friends that believed in me, helped me to change myself and reorganize the company. Nobody can succeed alone therefore I am very happy to be surrounded by some amazing people.

“None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” – Mother Teresa

Tvrtko Dolić

Tvrtko Dolić

Head of Sales and Marketing / Alkaloid d.o.o.

I always believed in continuous education and always believed that the University should not determine what you will do for the rest of your life. Close to finishing Medical University in Zagreb I discovered that my education could also be useful in other areas, not just in hospitals… I discovered Pharmaceutical Industry.

On my first interview in Roche I simply said I finished the university and I want to work and learn and have an open mind. I got the job. Soon after I was introduced to Sales training, later in Marketing and later in Leadership. I was intrigued by those topics and wanted to learn more. As my professional network grew, I discovered MBA and naturally, COTRUGLI.

Immediately I applied for the scholarship, however I was not even invited to assessment day, but I did not give up, as I believed in myself and reapplied again the year after. Not just that I was accepted in assessment, but I won the scholarship which for me was an amazing achievement.

The MBA program started. For the first day it felt right. It was like back in school, so many interesting topics I knew so little of. As the journey through COTRUGLI was lasting I felt like a kid in a toy store. Everything was interesting and I wanted to know more. More important other than pure lessons, I met amazing people and learned more by connecting with them. We ended up as a great generation. I feel all my colleagues advanced with the knowledge we gained, myself included. Close to finishing I transferred to an international role and my career only grew since then.

My only regret is that due to the work I was involved I could not utilize the continuous program for Alumni’s, something I need to work more on to find the time and develop further.

Vanja Pajić

Vanja Pajić

Project Management Consultant & Senior Healthcare Adviso

It was my passion for learning that first drew me to COTRUGLI Business School but the MBA program I took gave me so much more – it connected me to an exciting new environment full of interesting and intelligent young people with different backgrounds and professional goals.

Most of my COTRUGLI classmates – myself included – were at the very beginning of our career paths when we entered the MBA programme. Seven years later, we are all accomplished professionals, trusted experts and invaluable decision-makers in our respective fields.

During our MBA studies, we have broadened our business-related knowledge and gained the experience needed to give 100% in every professional situation. More importantly, we also grew in understanding, tolerance and trust in others. Often, it is not the content of learning – but the values that you gain from learning and the people you meet on the way – that are the most crucial factors in becoming a professional.

From being a junior project manager in the civil service to starting my own business as a senior healthcare consultant for various European and international organizations, my career was shaped by the values I gained from COTRUGLI.

Building my business around services that people really need – and doing it well, is something that stayed with me since my days at COTRUGLI. The MBA program’s high ethical standards of doing business the right way, not only towards your clients and shareholders but also towards a wider community, still echo clearly in my mind as I try to stand by them in every possible business situation.

Looking back, COTRUGLI MBA program gave me the confidence to create my own path in the world of business. It gave me the tools to plan, implement and evaluate every business decision on my road to financial and personal success. It did so in an enjoyable way, always meeting my professional needs exceeding my personal expectations.

Years after graduating from COTRUGLI, the feeling of being a part of possibly the largest growing community of business professionals still inspires me and gives me that extra motivation to always give my very best.

As classroom lessons translated to business knowledge, and colleagues became friends and partners, so we too grew as persons. Because of that, COTRUGLI is a school where ideas are become reality

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