Graduation Year: 1993 (MBA 1)
Vice President Marketing Russia & Belarus at Philip Morris International
LinkedIn Profile here
Looking back on your career, what was the most important decision you made (or didn't make) regarding your career path?
It’s difficult to identify one critical decision, as I already work for the same company for over 18 years. From the top of my mind, I recall three. Back in 1998, I refused a job to move from Athens to Dubai for another company, which paid 2.5 times more. For the next 3 months, I was wondering if I did the right thing! In 2004, I quit the company for … one day, as – after extensive discussions and a counter-offer – I eventually decided to continue with the same company, but in another job. Finally, in 2010, I decided to accept the offer and move to Russia in … Rostov-on-Don, rather than staying in Athens or trying to move somewhere in Western Europe. All in all, I understood that the most difficult decisions lead to the most rewarding experiences!
What’s the most important thing for recent grads to keep in mind as they start out their careers?
Have a long-term ambition, but be flexible in the way to get there. When you start your career, start getting concerned only if you feel you have stopped learning and enriching your experience. In fact, the greatest the challenge, the more you will learn and self-improve. Remember that good things, sometimes, take time to happen, so don’t get disappointed; if you deserve it, good things will eventually happen. Also, don’t try to manage your career on a continuous basis; it’s OK to negotiate or ask for something, but do this only, exceptionally, in critical times and in the proper way. Remember to try to help and give a good impression to the people you work with; the chances are that you will see them again in another job; perhaps as your boss! Finally, try to keep contact with ALBA and your classmates; you spent unforgettable times together and these, you will realize, they will never come back.
What made you choose ALBA for your graduate studies?
I studied and graduated during the 1st year of the school, in 1993. Having just graduated from Dept. of Economics of ASOEE (now Athens University of Economics and Business) I wanted to pursue an MBA and was considering the options. When I saw an announcement from the school in the financial press, I immediately decided that I wanted to be part of it. I very much liked the endorsement and involvement of multinational and Greek companies in running the school and the fact that the curriculum was fast-paced, taught by professors from abroad, based on case studies, presentations, project work in teams, etc. Therefore, I sent immediately an application, mentioning the possibility for a scholarship, which the school accepted. When I joint, I realized that I was participating in something bigger than a business school; I was part of a dream of a handful of amazing individuals who wanted to reform the Greek business environment and create a better generation of future business leaders. The team spirit among my classmates, the good times, the hard work - day and night - the fun and the emotions were beyond description. Part of what I do today for a living, but most importantly, part of who I am as person, I owe it to the school, its professors, its management and staff and my classmates. And this, I will always remember!
Share with us your fondest memory while studying at ALBA.
One of the most interesting times was when, we decided with some of my classmates to issue a yearbook for the 1st class of the school. We did it, as usual, as a team project (on top of all other projects). We asked and got financial help from various companies, wrote profiles for each other (actually, the more talented wrote … poems), took pictures and we got our yearbook issued. There were many other good times, which resulted in enduring relationships with some of the professors and classmates.