Zdenek Turek

 

Nationality: Czech
Work country: UK
Graduated: 2010
Job: ceo, Citibank Europe plc

The programme made me realise the speed and magnitude of change that’s happening in business – and how to cope with it. 

Why do you think the INSEAD EMBA is so relevant today? 
A year ago, when I was promoted to my first Europe-wide role, one of my traders emailed me, “Welcome to the new emerging market!” INSEAD isn't just focused on the major emerging markets like Asia and the Middle East. It is embedded in Europe too - and...seismic change is coming to this region.

Did the programme deliver what you wanted it to?
I was looking for two things. First I wanted to upgrade my knowledge on the latest trends in finance, management and leadership. Second, and perhaps more importantly, I wanted to go beyond my myopic single-industry view. I got both of those things, plus a lot of fun and friends.

Do you have any favourite memories of the programme that you’d like to share?
I have many. Building strange objects in the Fontainebleau Forest as part of the Leadership Development Programme was a surprise and great fun. Visiting companies in Singapore and Abu Dhabi was fascinating. Then there are all those lively discussions, where students were challenging each other and the professors.

What is the main lesson that you took away?
The programme made me realise the speed and magnitude of change that’s happening in business – and how to cope with it. Also it enabled me to benchmark myself effectively. The more senior you get, the less feedback you get on your real strengths and weaknesses.

Are you still in touch with your classmates?
I’m in regular contact with 15 to 20 classmates. The nice thing about being in London is that there are quite a lot of us here, so it’s easy to meet up.

Would you do the INSEAD EMBA all over again?
Yes… except for statistics! I wish someone had told me how much work that course would be.

Do you recommend the programme to others?
Very actively. Citibank has sponsored several people through INSEAD and I gave speeches about INSEAD at career events in Moscow, before I moved to London.

What recommendations do you have for the next ten years of the programme?
I like it as it is, so I don’t recommend radical change. But I think that there are more and more programmes coming through as competitors. INSEAD has a strong brand now, but it will take more and more effort to maintain it. I think the school will have to use its research and alumni stories to differentiate itself more clearly in the decade to come.

And where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I like management and the financial industry, so I see myself continuing on the same path. Maybe one day, I’ll do something more entrepreneurial, but for now I am happy to be part of the truly historical changes that are building up in banking, and in the financial services industry overall.

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