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

“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.“

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.

“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.”

“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

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

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

“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”

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

“For the first time in my life I was surrounded with only the smart and intelligent people who are way smarter than me”

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)

“COTRUGLI 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.”

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

“What was once learned knowledge, became intuition, and what was intuition became second nature.”

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.

“I had the opportunity to explore the latest business trends, apply the newest management tools and techniques.”

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

„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.

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

“The knowledge gained from COTRUGLI Executive MBA program helped me run my business efficiently and to help our customer solve their problems in organizations. “

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 Board / PRESS GLASS d.o.o.

“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.”

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.

“My COTRUGLI MBA experience has gone beyond my expectations.”

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

“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!”

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

“Amazing new colleagues who became good friends, international team of lecturers and motivation for life-long learning in the field of management – COTRUGLI MBA opened my eyes to different world perspectives; it was like reading a book which was hidden from me, forcing me to rethink my position in the world of business, for the better.”

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.

“COTRUGLI was exactly what I have needed at that point to fill me with appropriate business practices and knowledge how to handle special cases. It has filled me up with all the confidence to be able to face all challenges which came with the new position.”

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

“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”

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

“I vividly remember all the lectures, dynamic discussions and eye-opening “aha!” moments.”

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.

“MBA program provided incredible experience, the one you take with you for a life.”

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

“COTRUGLI Business School brings you practical cases with top-ranked international lecturers who are not only good lecturers but good managers as well.”

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.

“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.”

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.”

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

“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”

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.

“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.”

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 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 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

“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..”

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.

“It was useful to see how an engineer, person from human science background and economist approach solving the same task.“

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 Marić Arambašić

Sanja Marić Arambašić

Director of Residential Sales / Optima Telekom d.d.

“New theory and examples through case study’s I’ve heard in every class, opened my mind and still have an influence today in my decision making.” 

Enrolling at an MBA has been a wish of mine for a long time and COTRUGLI was an obvious choice as I have heard many good things about it. Naturally however I was wandering if it would meet my high expectations and be worth of time and money invested. At some points it was tough and strained both my personal and business life but looking back I can say it was one of the best choices I have made.

My entire career I had been in the telecommunication industry in different positions in Sales. All the way from sales assistant to managing, leading internal and external sales channels and building sustainable partnership ecosystem. Due to my increased responsibilities over the years I wanted to further my knowledge and managerial skills to maximize my pre-determined career goals.

Telecommunication industry is very dynamic. In the last decade we have witnessed many new opportunities and challenges with expanded connectivity, smart technologies but in a way, I also consider it a closed system to work in. While I was pursing going to MBA it was important for me to be part of a classroom of high-level professionals and unconventional thinkers of different backgrounds to explore myself in that diverse environment.

COTRUGLI Business School was a best choice because I wanted a program with world-class professors where I had the privilege to enhance leadership, interpersonal and critical thinking skills. The most beneficial for me was knowledge gained in areas of Finances, Strategy Management and Personal Development. Since I’m working and living in two cities one of the big advantages for me was a program structure with weekend modules which enabled me to navigate my personal and professional life even better.

After finishing Executive MBA my career has taken a leap. I’ve become Sales Director for the Croatian market. Thanks to the program, professors and my classmates who I shared experiences with and gained knowledge from I am now in position to teach others, communicate for success and build high performance teams.

Personally, however the biggest reward for me were people and the journey itself. Every professional development is intrinsically linked with personal growth which I gained from this once in a life time experience.

Sanja Rossi

Sanja Rossi

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

“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.”

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.

“I believe I can successfully work in this totally different cultural and business environment, due to knowledge and experiences obtained during the COTRUGLI EMBA program.”

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

“To get to the next level, rapid growth in this regional environment was needed and COTRUGLI became my catalyst towards excellence.”

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 Trupec

Tatjana Prenđa Trupec

International Expert / WB, WHO, EC

“Even though I had a lot of management experience, my success and self-confidence in actual tough situations, I attribute to formal knowledge I gained at COTRUGLI.”

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

“It was a difficult decision to change my job, but I accepted it with full self-confidence that I am sure, I wouldn’t have without COTRUGLI.”

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.

“It was like back in school, so many interesting topics I knew so little of.”

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

“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 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

Vesna Filipović

Vesna Filipović

Owner and Manager / Elementa Communications

“Looking back, that year of MBA program helped me reach my professional dreams and made me happy to date.”

2010 was the crisis year for professionals in public relations and marketing with most of us working extraordinarily profitless in these industries. In doing so, I saw no opportunity for professional and personal development. With the help of half COTRUGLI scholarship, I decided to quit my job, at then well-established Public Relations agency, and take a year off from work to focus on getting my MBA. Personally, this was extremely difficult decision to make, because I moved from being an PR adviser to unemployed MBA Student. Looking back today, I know this was one of my best life decisions.   

During that one year as MBA student, I learned a lot of useful and applicable knowledge through real life examples and contemporary classes held by top professors. Since I received my master’s degree from the Faculty of Political Science, most of the economic concepts were new to me, but through teamwork and quality lectures, I managed to master them in a fun and interesting way.  What impressed me most, were the students at the school. Everyone attending MBA program was smart and wonderful professional, friendly and willing to collaborate even if they were from different countries or professional backgrounds. That is why I can say that apart from great professors and quality school, I really learned a lot from students themselves. MBA program was a unique opportunity to ask questions to those who knew the right answers.   

After graduating from the MBA program, I made decision to tackle what matters to me in life.  I took a leap of faith and opened my own Public Relations agency, started a family and found a perfect and happy work life balance. For last seven years, my company ELEMENTA communications, which focuses on communication consulting and education, has secured my job career in the profession and quality time for the family. Looking back, that year of MBA program helped me reach my professional dreams and made me happy to date. 

Vinko Berković

Vinko Berković

Compliance Officer HT Group

At the beginning of my carrier I found out that knowledge gained at Law University is not enough to conduct my everyday tasks. I had to understand the business processes so I can really .  I had to learn. So, I try to soak up the knowledge and experience of any colleague willing to share. 

As a corporate lawyer, I built experience through various job roles in several leading Croatian companies. I always tried to broadener my knowledge, so I can be better in what I do. During my carrier I have been appointed mediator at several institutions and an Honorary Judge and arbitrator at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. He is certified internal auditor for multiple ISO standards. I become also a member of the Lawyers’ Club of the Croatian Employers’ Association and a member of the Presidency of the Association of Corporate Lawyers.  

Then I received an opportunity to be a part of Cotrugli MBA. MBA show me that old saying: „I know that I know nothing.“ is true. The learning journey started and what a journey it had been. Two years of intense learning, growing self-development and building connections that will last for a life time.  

I finally get that holistic, comprehensive, end to end picture of business I have been searching for. Not only that, but I started to connect the dots and see interconnection between departments in some company and the logic behind. Most important staff still hadn’t come from great, exquisite, international teachers and tutors, but from my fellow colleges. Interactive, up-to-day and interesting lectures were mixed with socialising and networking with now-friends from whole south-east Europe.  

Now, when I’m reminisced, with a smile on my face, I strongly believe that MBA (the knowledge I gathered and way of thinking I adopted) direct me to the position where I am today. Now, as Compliance Officer I’m helping to create transparent and high ethical corporate culture in HT Group (part of Deutsche Telekom Group), a company that is creating the foundations for the digitalization of Croatia, leading to better opportunities for all of us. 

Learning is growing!

Vlatka Šrajbek

Vlatka Šrajbek

Head of Finance Services, Statutory Reporting and Tax / GlaxoSmithKline

“COTRUGLI Business School EMBA program has equipped me well for all challenges that are yet to come.”

Executive MBA program at COTRUGLI Business School was a transformational experience.  

When enrolled programme I had 16+ years of experience in different industries, mostly services, ranging from real estate and facility management to accounting and tax advisory. Working for different local, regional and global companies from early age, gained me valuable and diverse experience. 

So, I already experienced both great success and a painful failure, followed by business stabilisation after restructuring, when my drive for constant learning and commitment to personal development have brought me to COTRUGLI. 

Why COTRUGLIProgram covers the needs of middle and top executives and gathers people from SEE creating unique networking platform. That was just what I needed, after working few years in Adriatic region as a CFO of a major International service company. I decided to enrol COTRUGLI as I wanted to widen the horizon and give my profile additional dimension. 

At the same time when I started the program, I took new challenge of new job and joined company in different industry. That was tough but gave me the opportunity for exponential growth and application of newly acquired knowledge. 

The program fulfilled my expectations. I consolidated my existing knowledge, learned many new things and improved various skills. But the opportunity to share experience and learn from peers on a real examples and case studies, makes this program so attractive. 

The biggest impact program had on me is in the area of leadership skills. Boosting my awareness of myself and of my impact on other people surrounding me was the biggest eye opener 

Confirmation for this I received in three consecutive years being recognized as Personal Leadership Ambassador by my peers and managers. 

I have discovered my passion for leadership by development of people, so I created Finance Acumen Training in SEE regionThis form of leading without an authority is a best example of a personal leadership one could be recognized for. 

My passion for lecturing and teaching was also recognized by Vern University where I hold lecture in Business Communication module. My passion for continuous development pushed me to enrol a Certified yoga teacher’s training as mindfulness is one of most precious virtues. The benefits of mindfulness are very much needed in today’s dynamic environment. Finding a purpose in a life makes also leadership meaningful. I have discovered mine in combination of mindfulness and leadership. 

I am truly grateful to all my colleagues who have unselfishly shared their experience. Many thanks also to our teachers; most of all to prof. Mike George, prof. Davide Sola and prof Anthony J. Evans. I must point out also Terence Tsea guy who can explain the most complex finance in a very simple way and to prof. Nicolas Kfuri for rounding this journey with Advanced Management Module. 

At the end I would conclude that COTRUGLI Business School EMBA program has equipped me well for all challenges that are yet to come. I added to my experience the capability of running a business on a global scale. 

I developed my leadership style and continued to work on my inner strengths.  

If my story inspires at least one person to go for a personal development and to enrol the program, I would be really happy as I have positively impacted one life – someone’s whole world. 

Zvonimir Zdunić

Zvonimir Zdunić

Chief Executive Officer / Agricultural Institute Osijek

“Open minded discussions during and hanging up around after classes kept me clear-headed and approachable to new ideas and business possibilities.”

With an academic background including both PhD and Associate Professor titles in the field of plant breeding and genetics, I was appointed to the CEO position of the public research institute ten years ago. Being at the top position of an academic but predominantly self-financed and market-oriented institution for some time, I realized I should acquire more knowledge regarding managerial economics, strategic management and brand positioning. Thus, despite of significant academic achievements, an insufficient level of near-market education was a primary “culprit” when I decided to enroll an executive MBA program at COTRUGLI Business School 

 

The two-year program of COTRUGLI study provided me with paramount business knowledge and skills such as interpretation of financial documents, creation of adequate market strategy, embracing changes as well as negotiation process rules. These know-hows are all essential nowadays for reaching better off in any industry. MoreoverCOTRUGLI helped me to close the gap between theoretical academic and more practical, hands-on knowledge. Such completed and implemented attainments eventually paid-off in more than doubled production and sales at the institute. So, from my own experience, it is the COTRUGLI Business School where the rubber meets the road! 

 

Here I also wish to give a credit to exceptional lecturers that were carefully selected by the COTRUGLIVast of them justified their top reputation by conveying their widely useful and concrete proficiencies to us. As a professor myself, I was highly influenced by their “focus on actions rather than theory” approach. Such moment of impact significantly boosted my own performances in academic environment. 

 

In addition, and apart from pure education  this journey meant a lot to me in terms of introducing whole network of people from various industry branches. Open minded discussions during and hanging up around after classes kept me clear-headed and approachable to new ideas and business possibilities. 

Željko Bak

Željko Bak

Head of Product / Lemax

“Every new learning MBA experience was filling me with energy and I was looking forward to transforming this knowledge into value for my company and my team.”

For many years I was listening to my senior colleagues and mentors talking about their MBA experiences and how it changed their personal and professional lives for better. They were remembering their experiences with special kind of passion and that got me curious over time even more. So, I decided to put MBA on my willdo list. I was aware that getting through MBA program will not be an easy undertaking, so I did not rush it and was waiting for good opportunity.

I always considered myself a „product person“, fascinated by any kind of product that was showing original problem solving and innovation, so I directed my career to always be near product topics and I was for years, but in a role of expert. 

I joined Vipnet in 2011 and got opportunity to form and run small product development team. Clearly, I jumped on this opportunity and started my transformative journey from product expert to manager and leader. In late 2014 I was offered to run whole Product and Device management team in Vipnet and at the time I considered it great privilege and opportunity. I was thrilled I will be working with team of fifteen product experts and accepted this challenge. Very soon I realized there is a gap in my knowledge and skills, so I started to seek advice from my past mentors. One of them asked me – “why don’t you consider COTRUGLI Business School”, and so I did. 

I remember day of scholarship competition and how I was so pumped and determined to win it. I applied and won one of 6 executive MBA scholarships for 2015 and my learning MBA experience stated. 

It was truly lifechanging experience. I remember my excitement when every new module was nearing. I was looking forward to talking with fellow students, exchanging ideas, working together on practical tasks and applying newly acquired knowledge. I discovered I have passion for finance, marketing, economics and that personal development and developing others is crucial to succeed in business – new areas that my engineering mind did not consider much in the past. 

After every module, most of them lasting 3 or 4 and some of them lasting even 5 consecutive days, I was not tired but filled with inspiration, energized. Every new learning MBA experience was filling me with energy, and I was impatient to share my new knowledge with my team at work and apply new techniques and ways of looking at things on everyday business situations. I was looking forward to transforming this knowledge into value for my company and my team. 

One of things I learned and started practicing was – we set vision for ourselves and design how things will unfold, that focus and setting priorities are important, that commitment and teamwork bring great results, that friendships are valued above all else and that learning never stops.  

Today, I lead product team at Lemax, company that will transform how tourist companies globally do their business and I got opportunity to be in the middle of this great story that just started to unfold. 

I am convinced COTRUGLI experience led me to here and helped me be a better business professional and a better person. I am thankful to COTRUGLI professors and faculty for all experiences so far and recommend my friends and colleagues to set off for this lifechanging learning experience wholeheartedly. 

Željko Špoljarić

Željko Špoljarić

Senior Manager for Finance Partners EMEAR/ Cisco Systems Finance International Dublin, Ireland

“Executive MBA improved my ability to see things from “other people” position and better understanding of their actions and motivations. It made me better manager in general.”

They say that the best thing you can do for yourself is to become an Entrepreneur and start your own business. Well, that might be true, but when you are working for the officially “the best employer in the world” – Cisco Systems, like I do, it does interfere with one’s motivation to start your own business. However, the best employer also wants to have the best employees, so if you want to stay there and move up in your career, it is crucial to keep working on your set of skills, knowledge and improving yourself continuously. The best way to do that, is to enrol into the Executive MBA program.  

I started my COTRUGLI EMBA at the age of 52 and lot of people asked me: Why now, at your age? Learning is the lifetime process, and we never stop learning. Coming to certain age people fall into the false feeling they know everything. That is usually because they have limited themselves into their “comfort zone” and in there, they usually do know almost everything, but there is so much more to know and learn outside of their “comfort zone”. This knowledge gives you a feeling like stepping out to the balcony from crowded room with stale air, seeing the whole world outside and taking a big breath of the fresh air. It makes you want to see more, do more and learn more. It gives you a boost of energy because it works two ways: it gives you knowledge and skills but there is another, not less important, benefit. Like a smile, learning works both ways. When you are in a good mood, you smile, but when you are feeling down, if you force yourself to smile in few minutes you will feel much better. Learning is usually connected to young people because we all learn while we are young, and less so when we get older. But if you continue to learn in your mature years, you will feel rejuvenated, re-energised and full of confidence to take any challenges put ahead of you.  

My Executive MBA helped me significantly to see events, numbers, people I work with and opportunities from various perspectives which gives me better grounds for making decisions, to see the “bigger picture”. It improved my ability to see things from “other people” position and better understanding of their actions and motivations. It made me better manager in general. 

Take my advice: At any age, enrol and learn, you’ll never regret a single second of doing it, plus you’ll meet there some of the best people in your life. 

Zoran Turković

Zoran Turković

COO & Board Member / 24sata

“Two most valuable takeaways from COTRUGLI Business School are: learning never stops, and leadership is all about humility and helping your people grow. If you follow these rules, results will come.”

Let’s go back 20 years. It’s the end of 1999, I just started journalism college, and at the same time working as a young journalist in the most prominent national newspaper Večernji list. A couple of months later, Croatia is in political turmoil, the opposition comes to power, society is changing, and my only dream is to cover these events as a journalist. 

As years passed, my career shifted towards management in 2005. I took the role of executive editor in the new national newspaper 24sata, in 2009. I was back the Večernji list as a deputy editor in chief, and four years later, I left the editorial (content production) and shifted to business as a Digital Development Director.  

After the first couple of years in management, I began to realize that everything I knew about leadership and business in total, I learned on the go, by myself, and that is not enough. It was time for the next big step. I joined CBS Executive MBA in 2011, and it really helped me improve my knowledge and skills but also inspired me, opened new perspectives, and gave me a chance to spend time with really amazing, smart people. By listening to them, I grew as a person and as a leader. 

CBS prepared me for the next level, and soon after graduation, my career continued in the role of Digital Media Director at 24sata, and four years later, I was asked to join the company Board. 

Two most valuable takeaways from CBS are: learning never stops, and leadership is all about humility and helping your people grow. If you follow these rules, results will come. 

Zrinko Kamber

Zrinko Kamber

President of the Board /Medora hotels and resorts Podgora

I have over 30 years of experience in tourism, mainly in management positions, and my specialty is hotel sales, marketing and revenue management. After years of working in the management of various hotel companies, I felt that the highlight of my career was working as a board member of Valamar H&R, the largest Croatian hotel brand. 

However, after leaving the VHR, I began my independent consulting career and, upon the recommendation of a previous generation colleague, enrolled in the Executive MBA program at COTRUGLI Business School in order to gain additional knowledge and fill in the gaps and create the necessary “networking”. 

The experience with the EMBA program for me was another confirmation of the importance of lifelong learning and improvement, but also the importance of interconnectedness with the management structure of the most respected companies in the region. Great professors and a great atmosphere have greatly contributed to my extra personal development and confidence building. 

As good things usually does not come alone, even before completing the COTRUGLI EMBA program, I received a very challenging offer from my current employer, a firm that was in a very difficult condition at the time and needed to be revitalized and returned to the tourism market in the short term. I accepted the offer because the shareholders gave me full confidence and discretion. Therefore, I had the opportunity to realize the vision of creating a new, modernlyorganized hotel, which over the next few years will become a recognizable hotel brand and a respectable employer and partner. 

In this part of my professional career, I have fully realized the true values ​​of business success. The satisfaction of being creative in a creative environment, the dedication and compactness of the team, the speed of realization of accepted ideas  which is in my opinion far easier to accomplish in smaller, flexible companies and environments. 

That is why, at every moment of your life and career, it is important to choose the team you understand the best, create a motivating work environment, and persist in stimulating new ideas and acquiring new knowledge. The experience gained through the COTRUGLI EMBA program is invaluable to me in this regard. 

Alan Žunić

Alan Žunić

HR Manager  KING ICT d.o.o.

“Working, brainstorming and making decisions in teams made of individuals with different backgrounds was challenging, yet I loved this part the most!”

Prior to my decision to join COTRUGLI’s Executive MBA program I have been working in Human Resources for many years, taking part in lots of educational programs due to my constant need of developing my knowledge, skills and competencies. At a particular moment of my career I was reaching out for a program that would help me gain leverage in overall business areas, combining Strategic decision making, Finance, Accounting, Operations management, Marketing, Sales and many more – all in one specific Program. 

Here came COTRUGLI and its Executive MBA program into the picture. The program offered world class lectures at the leading business school in south east Europe and it was a unique opportunity to gain an overall business understanding. 

The program was a two years intensive journey and a challenge in managing the balance between family, work and school. Looking back at those times I can only say it was all worth it. During that two years I have learned a lot about the business and myself. Taking part in numerous modules helped me to gain valuable insights of specific areas they covered. Working, brainstorming and making decisions in teams made of individuals with different backgrounds was challenging, yet I loved this part the most! Today I can say that I have a significant better understanding of the interdependencies between business areas and how my role can contribute to align them. 

At last, I have made friends for life. We were working hard but also had a huge amount of fun. One of huge the benefits is that I am now a member of COTRUGLI family, a place where you have a network of intelligent and successful people which support each other. When we get together it’s like being among friends and I am proud to have the privilege to call myself a COTRUGLI! 

Žan Teršek

Žan Teršek

Logistics & Purchase Manager and Adriatic Sales Manager/ Špica International ltd

“All the lectures were well planned, performed and interactive, where the students were in the centre of attention. “

Nowadays, when companies are more than ever focused on getting competitive advantage through lowering production costs, better IT systems, know-how, knowledge and connections employees have and bring to the companiesSo, if you want to be the one, companies want and are willing to give them important and well-paid jobs, you have to be prepared to step on a lifetime learning and improvement pathAnd one of the best schools, which I highly recommend you include in your path, is COTRUGLI Business School.  

I applied to CBS as one of the youngest students with less than 3 years of working experiences in the lower and middle management as Sales Assistant and Logistics and Purchase Manager. The lectures were held by world wide’s most experienced professors in their field, from whom it was a joy to learn.  

Since the students and professors were from multiple countries, we gain knowledge and experiences from different perspectives. All the lectures were well planned, performed and interactive, where the students were in the centre of attention.  

Just few months after completing CBS, I was promoted to the Regional Sales Manager position, where I am responsible for the sales of 5 subsidiaries in Croatia, Serbia, BiH, Montenegro and North Macedonia. The Return of Investment (ROI) was extremely fast, since my salary nearly tripled after completion of CBS. For the end, I encourage you, to absorb as much knowledge and experiences as you can, with an important disclaimer à do not forget enjoying life. During and after classes we surely did not forget that. And the most important fact, friendships from CBS are forever! 

 

Braslav Jadrešić

Braslav Jadrešić

CEO IABI d.o.o.

“My personal development has grown to a new level. I discovered whole new world of new ideas, business tactics and views of the business world.

After 17 years of work in the company which is Croatia’s biggest producer of wheat flour where I worked as head of logistics department and assistant executive manager as well as member of Supervisory Board, I decided to turn a new page in my life. I founded a company whose core business is trading with wood and wood products (after all, my profession is forestry since I graduated Faculty of Forestry, University of Zagreb). My decision to leave the former company was not overnight but was the result of long thinking and analysis. Great help I got from COTRUGLI Executive MBA program. Two years I spent in COTRUGLI Business School was wonderful and rich experience. Not only that I have learned new trends in business areas such as marketing, leadership and financial management, but I also improved my business skills. Furthermore, which I have to emphasize, my personal development has grown to a new level. I discovered whole new world of new ideas, business tactics and views of the business world. Beside the above mentioned about COTRUGLI Business School and MBA program, I must point out that acquaintance with people I have met, from my colleagues to professors and school employees, is priceless. I can’t count how many great experiences I have with them during the program, and even after. Therefore, when I draw the line, I can definitely conclude that COTRUGLI Executive MBA program has improved and enriched my life. 

Boris Babić

Boris Babić

Owner, Vedeera

“COTRUGLI opened up a new perspective, setting the path toward the entrepreneurship, self-awareness and openness to new ideas.”

Five years ago, 2014th to be exact, I decided to pursue the COTRUGLI MBA study. At that time, I worked as Solution Architect at Ericsson Nikola Tesla, but my ambitions were much bigger. Fortunately, the company have acknowledged my ambitions in pursuing the leadership path, so they made decision to sponsor my COTRUGLI MBA study.  With such support from the company, decision to start MBA study was easy to make 😊 

COTRUGLI MBA had influence on my professional and personal life in great deal. COTRUGLI made me think differently  broader. It opened up a new perspective, setting the path toward the entrepreneurship, self-awareness and openness to new ideas. At the same time, I enjoyed my study and had great time, working with people from different backgrounds, from high ranking government officials and business owners, all the way to experts from non-profit charitable organizations. Working together with them, on various case studies, have broader my views and at same time made us more connected and closer to each other. That made a good foundation for the friendship, that will last for the life time, with many of them. 

Today, I work as global manager at Ericsson and now, I’m the one who seeks for new talents and new potential leaders. In similar fashion, I want my leaders to learn, grow and experience the transformation that MBA study can bring to their life and their careers. I’m very proud that this year, the first generation of new leaders, that are working for me, are finishing the COTRUGLI MBA. Makes me happy, to watch them transform and grow, as persons and as the leaders, as they go throughout the study. As their study is closing to an end, our ambitions are growing bigger and we are ready to take more challenges, enter into new business segments, that those very same people will lead. 

I also must say that, COTRUGLI have sparked the idea in me, to start my own business, pursuing my hopes and dreams. Encouraged with new acquired skill and knowledge, me and my colleagues have founded startup company for video production, called “Vedeera”.  

Today we are working on development of new solutions, based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, for one of the highest lucrative segments in financial sector. I must say, we are very excited, and we have big hopes and dreams. 

David Labinjan

David Labinjan

Head of Corporate / Banka Kovanica d.d.

“The investment in COTRUGLI program was more than successful with an increase since then in revenues or salary but more than that with a life changing connections, strong friendships and an unforgettable experience”

 As a banker I asked myself where is the best way to invest after the worst financial crises hit the world in 2008? In „knowledge “of course since you can be sure that will not depreciate, will not change the price and in time the ROE will be double digit if not triple and nobody can steal it from you. 

After almost 7 years I can admit that the investment was more than successful with an increase since then in revenues or salary but more than that with a life changing connections, strong friendships and an unforgettable experience. 

At the time I attended the COTRUGLI MBA I was part of a multinational bank leader in the Croatian market. COTRUGLI showed me that the dream of tomorrow can be the reality of today with the right attitude and the right connections. After the 12 months course, full of energy and ready to implement what I learned I decided to step up out of my comfort zone and to do a radical cut in term to change the residence/city moving in the Croatian capital Zagreb and change the bank moving in one of the smallest bank in the country owned by an Italian corporation. The bet was high but worthy since as supposed in a smaller organization the characteristic of the individual can emerge faster than in a big competitor. I got the chance in my twenties to feeand taste what does it mean to be a manger in an environment where the age is rewarded maybe more than talent. It was not easy at the beginning but also thanks to the knowledge learned at COTRUGLI I get it up and soon increase the members of my team as also my position in the bank. 

For the last two years I have the privilege and honour to be the Head of Corporate in Banka Kovanica d.d. member of the group Cassa di Risparmio della Repubblica di San Marino. I am surrounded by a team of young and talented professionals who I try to motivate and keep positive on a daily basis. The bank is small in Croatia but high-speed and high-performance and most important very customer oriented. In the corporate segment, we decided to focus on short-term working capital loans. When a client takes a long-term loan, the key to the decision is the price, even the smallest difference in the interest rate, but in the short run, more important than the price is fast delivery. It is critical to success, and Banka Kovanica d.d. can secure short-term funds in less than 48 hours. 

Our motto is: we take small businesses seriously! 

At the end I will recommend COTRUGLI business school because not only changed my professional life but most important I met on COTRUGLI my wife and now we have two amazing kids together. So, what to say more? 

Ivana Gorički

Ivana Gorički

Senior Credit Underwriter and Reviewer Specialist and Corporate Credit Risk Management / ADDIKO BANK HRVATSKA

“Extraordinary professionals from different sectors made me think outside of the box, rethink about myself and I started seeing things from a different point of view which enabled easier cooperation and more productive meetings in my workplace.”

Ever since I started working, I am a part of financial industry, the banking sector respectively. All the positions required excellent knowledge of Croatian corporate sector and the ability to synthesize a lot of different data trough communication with internal and our external clients in order to make the best decisions. However, being a banker in today’s world isn`t just that. Banking industry is going through a process of massive change as it moves towards digitalization. While bankers have started to embrace the technological revolution, there are still challenges that need to be overcome. In a digital world main competitor in banking sector aren`t just other banks. Our main competitors are telecom companies, IT sector and FinTech’s that are successfully challenging our decisions and strategies. 

Hence, besides my constant willingness to learn new things I believed that MBA program could make an additional push in my mindset in order to embrace the challenges mentioned. Meeting excellent professors with broad international experience supported by Cotrugli team and having the best colleagues made this two-year journey a life changing experience. I got to know extraordinary professionals from different sectors that made me rethink about my ideas, my view on things and my stands in general. They made me think outside of the box, rethink about myself and I started seeing things from a different point of view which enabled easier cooperation and more productive meetings in my workplace. 

We did a lot of brainstorming but most importantly, we become friends along the way. We had a lot of fun working on our case-studies in dedicated teams and we always learned something new about ourselves trough these interactions. This makes you open your mind for new challenges trough practical work on real life situations, but the best thing is that you see how important teamwork is and that sometimes it is worth it to thrive on someone else’s idea rather that your own which is a common compromise that you have to accept in big teams such as mine.   

Nevertheless, one of my favourite take-aways is the Leadership module that is primarily oriented on reconsidering your own self-worth, self-management and self-awareness so that later you could use this as a tool for empowering and inspiring others. Namely, by learning and getting to know yourself you can improve your relationships in both your business and your private life. And I would say that this is a most challenging part of our life-long learning process that never ends. 

Ivana Gracin

Ivana Gracin

Director of Quantitative research department / Erste&Steiermärkische Bank d.d.

“It made me to re-think myself, my ways of anticipating situations and solving problems and styles of collaboration and decision making.”

In 2012, I was officially promoted to Team Lead and back then I was the youngest Team Lead in Erste & Steiermärkische bank d.d. where I still work. I have always been guided by the thought that it is important that you always know what your strengths and weaknesses are and that constant work on yourself is inevitable for success. I knew I was given the opportunity to grow and develop the team, but also me as a manager and I do not miss opportunities, so I took it. On one occasion, I read a quote from Jack Welsh that said: “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. ”I liked this quote very much and I decided to go in that direction and it is still my lodestar. 

From the very beginning of my career, I have been working in the sphere of strategic risk management, which involves knowing the broader picture of the functioning of the economy and banking as a whole, but also at the micro level. However, I needed to continue learning and understanding business as well as developing myself. So in 2013 I enrolled in the COTRUGLI MBA program. 

Great colleagues, excellent program, top-class international lecturers, hardworking environment, intensive teamwork with managers and potential entrepreneurs from all over the region made the person who I am today. It made me to re-think myself, my ways of anticipating situations and solving problems and styles of collaboration and decision making.  

Today, I am the Director of Quantitative Research department, which involves Data Science, leveraging it to enhance the Bank’s business processes and integrated risk management, which results in defining the optimal level of risk that we are willing to take without questioning the sustainability of the Bank’s business model. On a daily basis, we operate in cooperation with absolutely all organizational units of the bank. This brings with it challenges, requires constant adaptation to situations, people, and not infrequently requires compromise solutions, of which we are not always in favor. When I took on today’s role, I faced several challenges. Mastering the technical preconditions for understanding and doing this type of work was only one of them, however, as the biggest challenge would highlight people, i.e. managing excellent talents and a concentration of high IQs, but sometimes also very strong egos. 

Every day requires from me to work with different people, negotiate, discuss, and deliver solutions and decision. The MBA program has given me great tools to act in this role. It taught me ways to get the best out of people and how to reach my goal and that it is not a defeat if it wasn’t immediately the way I initially imagined it. To be clear, it is not always a success, but I can definitely see the progress with respect to before. The program taught me that you’ve got to crack a few eggs to make an omelette, which has also become my favorite life quote. Everyone who wants to succeed in life and achieve something has to face some sacrifices or mistakes. 

I am happy that I was given the opportunity to work with top experts, some of them today I can call friends, to acquire new professional knowledge and skills in order to perform excellence in strategic activities and to establish the ability to keep a level head at all times, nurture and grow a team, evaluate opportunities and risks and also deliver innovative new solutions to challenges. 

Ivana Kovačić

Ivana Kovačić

Country Head of HR/ Wiener osiguranje Vienna Insurance Group d.d.

“Whether you are trying to change your workplace, salary, industry or start your own business, this experience is a motivation that I would recommend to everyone as the best boost to fulfill your wishes!”

COTRUGLI meant for me stepping out of my comfort zone. The feeling of accomplishment and the education and skill sets gained by earning this degree improved my confidence as making the way through my business world—and my life. By earning this degree, while also balancing work, family, social life, and other personal commitments (and not losing my sanity :) I found an immense sense of reward and personal achievement. 

With top international lecturers, the program gave me an insight into the latest international business trends, the latest management tools and techniques as well as encouraged me to improve my business, teams and collaboration. 

There are different ways you can establish credibility in your company and in your industry. But the academic version of street cred in the business world is for sure the EMBA COTRUGLI degree. To earn the COTRUGLI degree, I had to attend classes and study sessions, complete assignments on time, and push myself to work through complex coursework and all of this while continue to work. It takes a level of self-discipline that may not be naturally, but sure cultivates with time and effort while working through the EMBA program. 

During that time, equally important is that I came into contact with faculty and fellow students and alumni of the program who begin to form and add to my existing network of colleagues. This includepeople both within my industry and outside of it. The program also increased my exposure to diverse perspectives on global, social, and business issues as collaborating with students whose backgrounds, experiences, and career goals differ from mine. 

Much of the knowledge and hard and soft skills I gained from Cotrugli is valuable and I immediately applied it in my industry and job thanks to widely applicable qualities like leadership, critical and analytical thinking, creativity, and communication. Unlike career-specific advanced degrees like a teaching credential or a faculty degree, EMBA COTRUGLI helped me to easily change the industry and offered me a new possibility to grow. During that time I switched to the financial industry within my career path as HR Manager, both in and outside of Croatia. Today, I am still in the global financial industry within the biggest CEE insurance group.  

Whether you are trying to change your workplace, salary, industry or start your own business, this experience is a motivation that I would recommend to everyone as the best boost to fulfill your wishes! 

In short, the EMBA program is as profitable as we invest in it. In the business world, either you develop into a competent business expert or your competition overtakes you. 

 

Mario Štefanec

Mario Štefanec

Chief Commercial Officer and Board Member, Rasco

“Thank you, CBS, for the inspiration, colleagues and knowledge that helped me to get where I am today.”

I’ve started my business career almost twenty years ago as a young computer science engineer in the Croatian branch of a prominent international ICT company. I have never dreamed life will take me where I am today. However, my business path did not happen by chance, it was steered by the decisions I took.   

The first important decision I made was to change the industry I worked in and the town I was living in some six years down my career path. I was again working in the branch of a large multinational company but in a role with somewhat different responsibilities than before. Very soon my focus completely switched from ICT to business. My engineering education and background prepared me well for tackling business challenges, but I was missing a number of skills and business-related experience. Hence, the second important decision I made was to get a formal business education.  

Flexibility of the COTRUGLI Business school, its location, international accreditation and Experience MBA program I went through convinced me that COTRUGLI was the best choice for me. In two years of the EMBA program COTRUGLI staff took me through all the relevant business processes, skills and areas, from HR, Leadership, Marketing and Sales all the way to Accounting, basic and advance Finance. Lectures, business cases and exams were interlaced with networking opportunities and meeting colleague student from different companies and business backgrounds. Truly rewording, but also demanding two years of my life. 

Just before the graduation I made the third big decision that took me where I am today. Again, change of the industry and position, from young ICT engineer thirteen years down the road I ended up heading sales and marketing organisation, this time in the Croatian, privately owned company. I instantly got an opportunity to use all the skills and knowledge COTRUGLI kindly provided. Today, six years after graduating from CBS, I hold the position of Chief Commercial Officer and Board Member of Rasco, one of the largest professional road maintenance equipment manufacturers in Europe. Croatian company that stands proud shoulder to shoulder to its international rivals, sells its products in more than forty markets worldwide and is not afraid to set new standards in municipal market segment.  

Thank you, CBS, for the inspiration, colleagues and knowledge that helped me to get where I am today. It is yet to be seen what tomorrow will bring. 

Marko Bucalović

Marko Bucalović

Purchasing Analytics and Operations Manager / A1 Hrvatska

“Crafting technology background with these new learned aspects made me a true professional framing all domains into well balanced picture.”

During my work experience I came to know different aspects of technology, finance and business overall. Changes, frequent changes, intense changes, come quite natural to me with constant new challenges. Decisions lead the way through these changes. 
 
One of such decisions was the one to enroll to COTRUGLI MBA and it was surely the decision well-made and one changing my professional stance as well as personal approach to many things in life. 
 
What has changed? 
My background originating from technology and mainly IT in an telekom company although making me very open and curious still created very limited view to broader domain called Business. COTRUGLI Business school gave me comprehensive overview of business through various aspects such as Sales Management, Marketing Management, HR Management, Leadership through various real-life examples, simulations, concepts and tasks. Crafting technology background with these new learned aspects made me a true professional framing all domains into well balanced picture. 
 
But this was not the only change. Thanks to professors such as Mike George and soft skills trainings reaching to self-exploration made me realize more than business. It made me understand what makes me fulfilled. And for that I am truly grateful. 
 
In my today role as a Purchasing Manager it is surely COTRUGLI MBA school, their professional team and a generation of excellent minds and friends that ensured myself getting here. It is each of these ingredients and all of them that made a difference. 
So thank you all once again for the ride of the lifetime. 

Maša Pocrnić

Maša Pocrnić

Strategic Deals Business Development Director CEE region / Oracle Hrvatska d.o.o.

“MBA enabled me to grow on the personal level. So, when an opportunity to change my role came across, I grabbed it because I was confident enough that I can own it.”

After spending over 18 years in Legal profession, I have recently chosen a new career path by taking on the position of Strategic Deals Development Director for CEE in Oracle Croatia. While most of my colleagues by profession still do not understand why would I trade a position of Legal Director for a Business role, all my COTRUGLI friends do, and let me explain why. 

Being a typical Gemini, and Philomathhave always craved for gaining more knowledge and experiencing new opportunities, because this feeds both my brain and my soul. So, my brother, who is also COTRUGLI alumnus, did everything to persuade me to join COTRUGLI MBA program and after couple of years I’ve finally caved in and started my Executive MBA journey as a scholarship winner 

Although a bit intimidated at first to be amongst the best of the best, I soon realized that one’s profession and background are not important. What matters is whether you are able to see the broader picture, whether you’re resolution oriented and whether you are able to adapt to diverse individuals and be a team player. 

The reason I have started the Executive MBA as a Corporate Lawyer, was to gain more insight into business reasoning and decision making, as well as to get an overview of how a Company functions as whole. But what I‘ve obtained in the end was so much more. Not only I have become acquainted with the Company’s daily challenges, but I have also gained knowledge about different markets & industries, marketing & sales processesstrategy & finance. 

MBA also enabled me to grow on the personal level. Throughout that journey I have discovered that I have natural leadership skills and that my ability to easily adapt to different personalities gives me the necessary edgeSo, when an opportunity to change my role came across, I grabbed it because I was confident enough that I can own it. 

Albert Einstein said: Education is not the learning of the facts, but the training of the mind to think.“ and this is exactly what COTRUGLI professors and your fellow students provide to you throughout the MBA program, by constantly challenging you and placing you outside your comfort zone. 

In todaymodern digital environment where change is the only constant, it is not relevant whether you are a lawyer or an engineer, but how quickly you can adapt to the new circumstances and how fast you can learn and develop new skillsIn order to prepare yourself for this era of change, Executive MBA program provides you with great set of tools.  

For me there are two things in life that never go out of fashion, little black dress and education!  

Nikola Katana

Nikola Katana

Product Manager / Belupo d.d.

“Intense training, learning, lectures and exams, as well as rich social life with my colleges, brought a great deal of, not just knowledge, but also confidence in my life.”

As a pharmacist working in a pharmaceutical company, in the sales and marketing department, I was constantly aware of the lack of knowledge and experience in economic, financial, analytical and decision-making areas. At the time I wanted more than just a sales representative job, and since I was conscious of the lack of the above-mentioned skills, I decided to enrol in COTRUGLI Business School program. 
 
Many colleges and friends were sceptical about the decision. They doubted the usability and profitability of such a venture, and I am happy to say today that I think that they were wrong. 
 
That one year of intense training, learning, lectures and exams, but also rich social life with my colleges, brought a great deal of, not just knowledge, but also confidence, in my life. All of this required balancing my work, this education and my private life, which was not always easy, but looking back it was definitely worth it. All the modules were different, some required very serious teamwork, and in others we were „solo players “, but all were useful and educational. And we must not forget, that all this is just the beginning, maybe the most important thing of all is networking, meeting new people from all kinds of business areas, that we would probably never meet otherwise, and some of these contacts will last for a lifetime. 
 
All of this knowledge and new experience encouraged me to even try to build my own company and my own business. Unfortunately, that effort failed, but I was not discouraged by this first failure, since it brought new experience and I am sure that sooner or later I will try again, since, although terribly strenuous and tiring, that is what I truly want. 
 
Apart from that, my business career took off from then, now I am product manager for cardiology in Belupo, a quite responsible role, and I am enjoying every day of it, trying still to improve myself and by doing so also to improve my company. 
 
In the end I would like to say that the investment in additional education is usually a good idea, and investment in education in COTRUGLI was definitely a great idea. I truly believe that the education should never end, and that this is more and more true as the time is passing on, since the competition today in the business world is tougher and faster than ever before. Keeping pace and trying to do even better is conditio sine qua non today, and schools like COTRUGLI make that possible. 

Saša Pavlaković

Saša Pavlaković

Director of Real Economy Corporate Sales Department / Hrvatski Telekom

“The whole process of acquiring new knowledge is driven by top professors who encourage collaboration and do not provide instant answers but ask questions and offer methods to analyze and select the best solutions.”

Before deciding to enroll in the COTRUGLI MBA program, I already had 10 years of experience in several companies in sales positions. After all these years working in similar positions, I felt the need to develop further, and thanks to the support of my manager and Croatian Telecom, who regularly invests in various employee training programs, I decided to step into the “mystical” MBA world. With the first modules everything cleared up very quickly and it became clear that my new colleagues became my new best mentors. Their enthusiasm, different industries they came from, experiences and different approaches to solving business challenges became my everyday life. The whole process of acquiring new knowledge is driven by top professors who encourage collaboration and do not provide instant answers but ask questions and offer methods to analyze and select the best solutions. 

I enrolled in MBA as a key account manager, and one year after graduation I accepted long-term projects, became a sales team leader, and three years after that I was promoted to Director of Real Economy Corporate Sales Department. The knowledge, techniques, and lessons learned in addressing various business challenges have enabled me to more easily and quickly master the path of operating tasks related to managing sales activities and developing a client strategy to the position of providing strategic direction, leadership and focus for the entire department. 

Adding MBA business education to an already overburdened life-work balance brought with it new tasks in the part of time management, but after mastering this task it became easier. Soon after, aligning business life with new goals in the private realm, such as completing several marathons, was no longer an overwhelming obstacle. Sharing experiences and connecting with a team of people with similar preferences but different industries has become my lifeline when I need advice where I am usually only one phone call apart from making the best of my decision. 

Being exposed to such an “onslaught” of the enthusiasm, ideas and minds of both top professors and colleagues is something I would always recommend to every person who is eager to receive, absorb and use new knowledge, experience and personal progress! 

Uroš Mlakar

Uroš Mlakar

Export Sales Director / BLAŽIČ d.o.o.

“It is not just networking… we are a community of so many interesting and positive individuals.”

Always actively looking for new challenges and exploring new ideas is the basis for life-time-education and personal growth. It is the only way to keep up and be on-top of fast changing business and social environment. 

Routine was always something I was avoiding with all effort. I need constant change, new knowledge, new surroundingscolleaguesfriends, new business partners and clients and new business opportunities 

Hence, MBA program was on my to-do list for quite some time since I had a feeling, I can get all those things in one place. And I was not wrong. 

Working on domestic market as a sales director for 6 years already, building the system from scratch, the time came to go forward. As our company was growing intensively, and we were already looking toward potential export markets, an opportunity arose for me to enroll in Cotrugli Executive MBA program, through an “MBA challenge” organized in Ljubljana. I grabbed the opportunity and got it. I also got the full support from my company, which was crucial to get the most out of theoretical part of program and transferring it to our real business. 

It was a life changing experience as I like to say it in one sentence and what every individual can expect from this program is that it will open your mind even further. Ones mindset will broaden if only you are prepared to grasp and objectively accept all the knowledge and information presented by the faculty and even most important from your colleagues. I must say it was the best team of so many different individuals that I ever meet, and I loved working with every single one of them, since all were full of ideas and different but positive perspectives. We became not just colleagues, but friends for life. With some of them we also became business partners, since we started and managed a small business together as a derivate of our final graduation project. 

Region we are all working in is relatively small, but also quite strong. Mixing nationalities from our Balkan region, working also with Serbian generation, cross modules with older and younger generations, was one of most important and smart things Cotrugli has offered us. Through this we all received a powerful network of colleagues and friends from all important business segments and all over region. This is something that cannot be “priced”. 

What was my most important takeaway from all of this? It is hard to say. Today I am managing successfully a fast-growing segment of export sales in our company. We are present all-over European market and we are also entering overseas markets already. I personally achieved this with a sort of personal ease and calm. Nothing can surprise you. You easily cope with different tough situations every day. You have all the answers in your pocket. You simply have the upper ground on every situation and every interlocutor. This are the foundation that COTRUGLI Executive program strengthen for me. I have a full control over myself and over business development topics. 

Years go by quickly, but knowledge and friends stay. Following alumni activities keeps me in touch with all that was so positive and unforgettable. It is not just networking… we are a community of so many interesting and positive individuals. 

Zorica Kulaš

Zorica Kulaš

Director of Residential sales / Iskon Sales / Iskon

“New theory and examples through case study’s I’ve heard in every class, opened my mind and still have an influence today in my decision making.” 

 

When you are growing in one company for 10 years, like I was, next natural step is to find out what’s out there in business world.  At that time, I was Head of Residential Sales Iskon Internet with countless reorganizations and new roles behind me, so I just wanted to learn more about business management beside my company.

I was curious, wanted to see different strategies, presentations, hear challenges outside known market, get to know different companies and of course, eager to learn new things.  COTRUGLI was perfect mix of something new, old and borrowed.

New theory and examples through case study’s I’ve heard in every class, opened my mind and still have an influence today in my decision making. Good old classics of entrepreneurship are always nice to hear, to remind yourself and practice more what you already know in theory.  Borrowed part was my favourite.

I was fortunate enough to be in a big EMBA group, so I borrowed from COTRUGLI a few amazing people who became my dear friends.  Last month I was at the wedding ceremony in Slovenia, to one of my colleagues from the group. That’s what you can take from COTRUGLI, but you need to treasure it and bring back to Academy at least once a year, on our reunions.

Don’t get me wrong, you’ll be tired as hell after hard working week, and you will be crazy about so many literature and assignments that you somehow need to squeeze in your already tight schedule. But when that working weekend comes, you enter in a different world and beside learning, having fun and gaining priceless experience, you have a chance to hear international professors, to debate with amazing successful people, to work in a teamwork, to listen different perspectives, cultures, regulations… All that in just one weekend with COTRUGLI.

It will be hard, it will be demanding, it will be moments that you will not like (just like in business) – but it would be tremendous learning process – about yourself and successful people around you. Most valuable lesson for my personal growth: detach. I was growing up professionally in my company and the hardest part of my learning process was to detach.

Now, when I’m Director of Residential sales, I remind myself every day that detach is good for company and for me. Richer for knowledge, friends and amazing experience, I’m staying to grow few more years in Iskon.

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