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Aco Momčilović Human Resources Manager BILLA (REWE GROUP CROATIA) Croatia Executive MBA / 2008

I have enrolled COTRUGLI Business School due to a strong need for further improvement and because I wanted to be able to carry out my work more successfully and thus to enhance my career. Based on the information I had collected about COTRUGLI, I set pretty high criteria related to the quality of programs. When I look back, I am pleased to admit that my expectations have been more than fulfilled because the program is well thought out and the professors are even more impressive than I had hoped. Through the modules you get connected with global trends and events that are linked to our local opportunities and needs. Beside the interesting EMBA courses that have opened new horizons, it was my pleasure to meet high quality and interesting people who work in demanding positions all over the region. They have generously shared their experiences with the whole generation and therefore motivated me to give my contribution as well. Through informal gatherings, many of them have brought a great amount of useful information that went beyond any MBA program. When I started Executive MBA program, I worked at L’Oreal Adria as a Human Resources Specialist. With the EMBA completion and almost 4 years of experience at this position, I got a chance to advance in my career. Today I am an HR Manager at Billa, in charge of many areas such as recruitment, employee development and

Beside the interesting EMBA courses that have opened new horizons, it was my pleasure to meet high quality and interesting people who work in demanding positions all over the region.

career planning, government official relations, reporting and communicating with headquarters. The knowledge and experience I gained at COTRUGLI Business School gave me self-confidence to work at such a responsible position. I also became a vice president of MBA Croatia organisation that gathers all MBA students in Croatia and beyond. In conclusion I can say that the School enriched my life, giving me the best opportunity to achieve one of the most important things in my life – personal and professional growth and long-term quality relationships with people like myself.


Admira Mahmutović

Head of Hardware Management HRVATSKI TELEKOM Croatia Executive MBA / 2009

The key decision to take an MBA program was made earlier in my life when I decided to continue with formal and informal education. I have been constantly taking different courses on subjects I felt I needed development in and when I felt I had enough working experience it was time to take an MBA. The decision to take the Executive MBA program at COTRUGLI was made after an open module where I had an opportunity to experience the program. Colleagues who were participating were very interesting, the material was motivating and the teacher was open minded and encouraged interaction. After that first weekend I came to my office and had a feeling that I have learned a lot in those two days. The decision was final to take the COTRUGLI Executive MBA program. During the program there were hard periods as the combination of busy weeks in the office and busy weekends at COTRUGLI was very challenging, but after each module there was a feeling of new accomplishment that kept me going. I worked very closely with great colleagues and we were constantly helping each other. Now I can say that the combination of interesting modules and fascinating people around me were the keys of success. I have enrolled in EMBA program just at the point when I have accepted a new position within my company. The timing was perfect as the EMBA provided knowledge and information from people with more experience, which helped me a lot in my professional and personal development. My professional transition was less stressful with their help. The value that I have received is the information, people with their experience and the experience I gained through work and during very practical exercises during the modules. The most valuable knowledge is the one that you can apply immediately at work or at home.

During the program there were hard periods as the combination of busy weeks in the office and busy weekends at COTRUGLI was very challenging, but after each module there was a feeling of new accomplishment that kept me going.


Adnana Jabučar Skrobanović Sales Executive GRAND HOTEL BRISTOL SARAJEVO Bosnia & Herzegovina MBA / 2009

It was summer two years ago when I decided to continue with my education. I wasn’t sure what I wanted but I knew that it should be something different from the offers from the local schools. I was reading a newspaper and I saw the advertisement “I am MBA”. I heard about MBA from different people but I never taught that I could be MBA, not because I didn’t believe in myself but because I taught that MBA would never be available for students from Bosnia and Herzegovina. I sent my application and the rest of the story was my success. I was selected among more than 30 other applicants to get one of six scholarships. Right after finishing MBA, I got a job at Prime Communications PR agency as an Account Manager. The agency recognized the value of MBA and decided to hire me. Through my study I gained exceptional practical knowledge that I now use in my professional life. At the PR agency I have worked for different clients, from NGOs to different industries and MBA helped me understand the client’s needs, no matter if they came from sales, finance, marketing… we have learned everything! When I finished my MBA study I was happy and sad at the same time. I was happy for my success but sad because the adventure was ending. People that I met there were exceptional young people who shared their experience and knowledge with my colleagues and me. I have to say that except

MBA helped me understand the client’s needs, no matter if they came from sales, finance, marketing… we have learned everything!

great lectures I will never forget my friends from different countries - my dear Maša from Serbia, Mitko from Bulgaria, Maja from Macedonia and so many other dear persons. Today, almost a year after graduation I have to say that MBA changed my life, I moved to a new company and I am personally and professionally satisfied and I am constantly working on upgrading my knowledge.


Alden Bajgorić

Head of Bancassurance Department UNIQA OSIGURANJE SARAJEVO Bosnia and Herzegovina Executive MBA / 2009

After completing my undergraduate studies and starting my career in financial sector I was challenging myself with the question of further education. But‌ the time was never good since my career was progressing at fast pace and profitability of further education in business ladder was doubtful. Nevertheless, after getting more and more experience in management and leading people I found myself thinking about my personal development and not anymore thinking about better results and making higher salary rank. I wanted to develop my management skills to another stage and was eager to get more knowledge on organisational techniques, to differentiate between operational and strategic functions and to apply new knowledge to my job. Further education was again in my focus but the question of what type of further education was flying around. At the same time COTRUGLI Business School did the first presentations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After checking the web page I knew that COTRUGLI should be the right choice since their programme was defined around up-to-date understanding of fundamentals of business theory, supported by business cases and lectured by renowned lectures. Furthermore, the Executive MBA programme schedule perfectly suited my calendar and provided me with great potential for networking outside my home country. During the study courses and working with my colleagues on business cases and my final exam I recognised that I have reached my personal goal since I have developed my leadership style, critical thinking and business solving as well as my diplomatic skills. Furthermore, due to my increased knowledge my salary ranking came along, followed by other professional engagements and new entrepreneurship business opportunities. What to say in the end? I am extremely proud to be a graduate and a member of the COTRUGLI family.

Executive MBA programme schedule perfectly suited my calendar and provided me with great potential for networking outside my home country.


Amila Čović Trade Marketing Specialist NESTLÉ ADRIATIC Bosnia and Herzegovina MBA / 2009

Although my abroad undergraduate experience was one of the most valuable in my life, still there were omissions that I had to make up in years coming. After returning to my home country, all my business and student connections were left behind me, in the country I studied. They were no or of weak use in my home country, and I had to start from the scratch. This is why I decided I would do my postgraduate study in the region, where I want to build my career in, and that I would give my best to find the programme that would meet my high standards. MBA programme at COTRUGLI Business School offered all I needed at that time: regional connections from different industries, great teammates from my country, possibility to work simultaneously on my career and on my education since I did not have to take a year off to study, great references and renown lecturers, AMBA accreditation and scholarship possibility. All my expectations proved right: I have not just made very valuable business connections, but I also now have some lifetime

MBA programme at COTRUGLI Business School is refreshment full of great and smart young people, the opportunity with new ideas that give you a kick and courage to discover new business perspectives, and to stand boldly in the middle of them.

friends; professors did not teach me only business, but I learned a lot about myself as well; I have not become only better at what am I doing, but I am now also more confident and more self-aware in my every-day life, and this is what I find a crucial component for every progress. For me, MBA programme at COTRUGLI Business School is refreshment full of great and smart young people, the opportunity with new ideas that give you a kick and courage to discover new business perspectives, and to stand boldly in the middle of them. I would warmly recommend this MBA programme for everyone who wants to learn more, develop and explore, and who is ready to see life and business differently and more thoroughly–because MBA is all about opening new perspectives!


Ana Hajnal Finance manager ROCHE Croatia Executive MBA / 2010

My COTRUGLI journey started with the application form for a scholarship. Someone might say that it is just a filled application form but given the amount of emotional involvement I doubt that either one of the students may claim their indifference when they were approaching the building on the day of the selection process. We all brought our hopes and fears to the classroom. My first positive impressions about the School started already during the selection process. COTRUGLI Business School strives to be different, innovative and make a difference. I always had a strong drive for learning. Parents being blue collar workers never discouraged my desire to learn and grow. I used every opportunity to read, study, take lectures or learn from people with extensive experience. When I started my Executive MBA program it became clear that you can do efforts on your own but what you actually need is a well-thought, systematic and organized education program. You need a program that will broaden your knowledge across every discipline of business and management, sharpen your analytical skills and boost your confidence. And I experienced all that at COTRUGLI Business School! The collective professional experience of the participants and the team approach allows sharing diverse perspectives on various topics and truly enriches the educational environment. Professors and their teaching styles are another great experience. Their innovative way of combining classic business education with modern teaching methods, leadership techniques and global experience raise the appetite for learning. Often I have the feeling that the Professors have Plutarch’s words in their mind ‘The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.’ My COTRUGLI journey has not come to its end yet but I know I will miss it when it’s done.

You need a program that will broaden your knowledge across every discipline of business and management, sharpen your analytical skills and boost your confidence. And I experienced all that at COTRUGLI Business School!


Ante Livić

Director of the Centre for SME ZAGREBAČKA BANKA Croatia Executive MBA / 2005

The moment when COTRUGLI Executive MBA program was presented to me I knew immediately that I had to be a part of it. A few months later I was already enrolled in the program. On the very first module “Basic of Business Functions” I found that that teaching methods were very dynamic in terms of exercises that participants perform in groups. I was astonished by imagination and different approach that participants had when trying to solve a task. Working in groups with interesting colleagues through the process of brainstorming can really help you broaden your view and take a different perspective to the issues before deciding for an option. By the end of the module I was sure I made the right choice by joining the COTRUGLI Business School and by becoming a COTRUGLI family member. Great networking is essential in today’s business world, and this School connects managers and leaders from all sectors all over the SEE Region.

By broadening my horizons and gaining new knowledge at Executive MBA program, I am now in a position to help others to develop professionally and entrepreneurially.

My career started in one of the leading banks in the Croatian market, Zagrebačka banka, where I have been working since. The knowledge I have gained through the Executive MBA education helped me step up to the next level in my career. For a few years now I have been working as a Director of the Centre for SME in Zagrebačka banka, providing a banking services to clients and helping them grow their businesses. By broadening my horizons and gaining new knowledge at Executive MBA program, I am now in a position to help others to develop professionally and entrepreneurially.


Ante Sabljić

Risk Department Director PSA FINANCIAL (PSA-PEUGEOT CITROEN GROUP) Croatia Executive MBA / 2007

As I am a person who believes that in today’s fast-changing business environment one needs to be active in lots of various fields, after a research of available MBA schools in the region, I decided to enrol COTRUGLI Business School. After graduating, my COTRUGLI experience remained very positive and powerful. COTRUGLI is a little bit ahead of its time in our economy. But if we want to believe that our country is progressing in the right direction, it is certainly good to „take a peek” into the future. The power of COTRUGLI Business School is in the network of people who are very different in experience and knowledge, but very similar in the energy they invest in their work, in their motivation to achieve business and personal goals, in effort they put to solve certain tasks. Above all, what I find the most important, this network is concrete and ever lasting, so that after one graduates, he will always have this power available even when dealing with a completely original business solutions. Expertise that is offered at EMBA program is very diverse. The amount of knowledge that every participant gets depends only on the participant, his/her desire and motivation. Taking an Executive MBA certainly does not affect your business life only; it is something that concerns your private life as well. Every participant had a situation that needed to be adjusted to the program schedule; I became a father exactly on a lecture day. My private life was sometimes harder and sometimes easier to adjust to the program but luckily, weekend lectures were a winning combination for me.

The power of COTRUGLI Business School is in the network of people who are very different in experience and knowledge, but very similar in the energy they invest in their work, in their motivation to achieve business and personal goals, in effort they put to solve certain tasks.


Assia Marinova Business Development Manager BRIGHT CONSULTING Bulgaria Executive MBA / 2007

COTRUGLI Business School found me in a transitional moment in my life when I needed a new catalyst for growth - both personal and professional. And ever since this journey started in 2007, COTRUGLI has kept me actively involved and inspired to grow and develop. COTRUGLI proved to be a different kind of school in numereous aspects but most of all in the personal touch and close connection in its community. From the very start I felt I naturally belong here, surrounded by close friends to share my ispirational ‘a-ha’ moments throughout the program. If I have to be honest, the biggest learning happened in the car while we, the Bulgarian group, travelled for about 10 hours every month from Sofia to Croatia. We had a chance to exchange a lot of information, make sense of what we learned at the lectures, and reflect on what it meant for our companies and ourselves. Everytime we were coming back home after a module, we were loaded with energy and commitment to execute the new ‘revelations’. This energy and motivation triggered by every module was one of most practical benefits of the progream which I will greatly miss moving forward. For me COTRUGLI was also ‘vacation’ time as I often said to my colleagues. It was a time away from the ‘busyness’ I often created for myself at home. Along with having quality party time, it was also a time to reflect on the important things, rather than the urgent. It was a chance to see from a distance what was happening at my

From the very start I felt I naturally belong here, surrounded by close friends to share my ispirational ‘a-ha’ moments throughout the program.

company, what was my role in its development, what we were missing and what we were doing better than the others. This gave me the different perspective I was missing engaged in my daily routine at home. Most of all, COTRUGLI empowered me with a sense of direction and inspiration to continue the learning journey and create meaning for my life.


Berislav Sokač Sales Team Leader ORACLE Croatia Executive MBA / 2008

Executive MBA program is the challenge that students face between pursuing that “next big idea” and existing obligations to family, debt, etc. Every beginning is tough. But for me it has been a very smooth transition from an engineer to a business professional so far. I have learnt that the market decides what it needs and not people who create something just because they can. We had quite a number of lecturers from corporate world conducting teaching sessions. It was an altogether great experience to have world experts providing us with valuable insights relevant to subjects that we were studying. Do not expect to pass the modules without efficient efforts. The study was time-consuming and required high commitment. On the other hand, hard work also brought fun and enjoyment in the learning process. When I was discussing the management issues with classmates of totally different background, when I was working on group tasks with significant cultural differences, when I had to stay up to prepare for presentations of case analysis, I enriched my understanding of business; I learned from my colleagues’ thinking and experience; and I practiced how to perform myself in such a multi-cultural environment. All of this kept me excited about what I learnt and experienced throughout my EMBA study at COTRUGLI Business School. Today, I am employed as a Sales Team Leader at Oracle. Oracle is the gold standard for database technology and applications in enterprises throughout the world— we provide our customers with complete, open solutions integrated from the disk to applications software that meet their business needs and solve their business problems. I feel that EMBA program at COTRUGLI made this possible for me.

I enriched my understanding of business; I learned from my colleagues’ thinking and experience; and I practiced how to perform myself in such a multi-cultural environment.


Đorđe Mirković National Sales Manager Serbia and Montenegro UNILEVER BEOGRAD Serbia Executive MBA / 2008

After completing one year regional project in Bucharest I was back in Serbia as National Sales Manager for two divisions Food and Home and Personal care. I had several years of experience in this job and the team I have managed, selected and developed few years before was the same. I thought now is the right time to enroll Executive MBA program. Several criteria for finding the right EMBA were important to me. Besides the criterion on program quality, I needed MBA with lectures in Belgrade with less traveling as possible because my job already required lot of travelling. I did not want to stop my career for going on postgraduate program. I needed specially designed studies for working people wich did not demand frequent absence from the work. Well established regional MBA were in my interest as my job was linked with the Balkan and Adriatic region and I wanted to have similar networking. Ten years of working experience was behind me and I was looking to find similar people who share my interests and executive programs were more attractive. Regional networking, interactive lectures organized locally and program with accurate information were advantages of COTRUGLI’s EMBA. To try to keep some balance between business and private life

Well established regional MBA were in my interest as my job was linked with the Balkan and Adriatic region and I wanted to have similar networking.

I needed very good organization during studies. The rule that was set up from the beginning was to take an exam after each module attended. I was trying to get the most out of time I spent in lecture by active involvement, using and comparing experiences of other colleagues with my own and studying. I followed up lectures and prepared for exams. This system worked for me with less time consuming for lectures, enough time for networking and keeping balance in the life.


Dobrin Mirevski Business Development Director EOS MATRIX Bulgaria Executive MBA / 2007

As I said during our graduation ceremony, I do not regret a single centimeter of the fifteen thousand kilometers I had to travel to participate in the Executive MBA program of COTRUGLI Business School. It was worth each one of them. It all started a bit by chance – seeing the ad in the Bulgarian weekly newspaper Capital. Took off with a bit of a glitch – when I did not get the notification sms that I have won one of the scholarships. But went on in a seamless and fruitful way – to prove me right I have made the best choice I could have made. The Executive MBA program at COTRUGLI is not just about the theoretical knowledge in the books you have to read through it. For me personally it was mostly about sharing real-life experiences and expertise, getting from fellow students and professors multiple points of view to situations I was facing in my job at this time, about sourcing know-how and advice directly from the experienced faculty members. In a friendly, open and very supportive environment. When you add to these building a network of contacts throughout the region, becoming familiar with the culture of other countries, creating life-time friendships, setting up new business partnerships and having great time at the social events, you will get the full picture of what this programs gives you. Far more than just an academic learning experience. Being all that, the EMBA program at COTRUGLI changes in a way your life – both personally and professionally. Often very deep, to the root of who and what you are. I believe, for good.

I do not regret a single centimeter of the fifteen thousand kilometers I had to travel to participate in the Executive MBA program of COTRUGLI Business School. It was worth each one of them.


Dragan Pejčić Vice President ALTIS CAPITAL Serbia MBA / 2009

Before I even heard of the COTRUGLI Business School – and that was a few years ago – I did a great deal of research of business schools both in and out of the region. A major part of it included face-to-face talks with a number of recent graduates. Each and every of them – even those coming from the Financial Times top 30 MBA schools – listed networking with fellow students as the single, most essential value of the program. Having decided at that time to pursue the business career in my home country, I was in search of a local business school that would bring together teaching quality and networking opportunities. Luckily, it did not take me long to recognize both within the COTRUGLI MBA program. As one of the pioneers in the local MBA ‘market’, COTRUGLI combines excellent academics, state-of-the art curriculum and flexible class and exam schedules with brilliant students from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds. In a nutshell, it offers western-style MBA quality but with a strong regional

Less than a year upon my graduation, I look back on the COTRUGLI Business School experience with a smile on my face, pride in my heart and a host of fresh business ideas that keep coming out of my MBA.

focus. Most importantly, a year and a half of the MBA life means not only hard working but also funny social time that produces a wealth of business, as well as private contacts. It feels truly great to have top business people around you – at one moment, you are in the class discussing a complex business case, and at the next, you find yourself sitting with them in a pub and having fun as if you have known them all your life. Less than a year upon my graduation, I look back on the COTRUGLI Business School experience with a smile on my face, pride in my heart and a host of fresh business ideas that keep coming out of my MBA.


Elena Altimirska Managing Partner BUSINESS EFFECT Bulgaria Executive MBA / 2009

Starting and running own business for a psychologist like me could be very challenging task. When my partner and I decided to start up a consulting company, I didn’t know any of the basic entrepreneurial principles. Therefore, I needed systematic way to gain new business knowledge. I looked for very practically oriented Executive MBA program with good reputation and qualified professors. And that’s how I found COTRUGLI Business School. Let me use SWOT analysis technique to explain my experience at COTRUGLI’s Executive MBA program: Strengths: • All modules are very practically oriented and combine systematic review of theoretical principles with exercises and case studies; • Lecturers are outstanding professionals in their fields and provide not only academic knowledge but also live examples from their experience. Even in the fields which are my areas of expertise I could get insights and inspirations for my work; • Intense teamwork provides the opportunity to learn from the colleagues and share experiences about best practices. Weaknesses: • EMBA program is limited in time. However, what remains after the program are not only the acquired knowledge and skills, but also wonderful memories and good friends. Opportunities: • EMBA provides great opportunities for networking in the whole SEE region and COTRUGLI pays special attention to various social events – sport competitions, parties, informal meetings, etc. which is quite important for entrepreneurs like me; • COTRUGLI provides unique opportunity to feel the spirit of beautiful places in the region, where we had memorable experiences. Threats: • Combining studying with intense work and family life is sometimes hard to handle. But as they say: Where there is a wish, there is a way. I wish to all future students to find this balance and to grab all opportunities for 2 wonderful years of studying and living in COTRUGLI Business School way!

Combining studying with intense work and family life is sometimes hard to handle. But as they say: Where there is a wish, there is a way.


Emira Mešanović Mandić Directress CENTRE CSRPLUS Bosnia & Herzegovina Executive MBA / 2009

COTRUGLI Business School provides an excellent framework for managers from nonprofit sector who want to upgrade their performance by gaining skills from for-profit companies. I was about to enroll my PhD on the topic of Corporate Social Responsibility when I first met the enthusiastic CBS staff in Sarajevo. I was introduced to their program, opportunities and other benefits including scholarships given directly by the School. Although School has been on the rise I was truly impressed by their success they have achieved up to that period. Also, because of my career orientation I honestly valued their idea to offer scholarship to students as the part of their corporate social responsibility strategy. My own consulting firm has slowly penetrated the market of the multinational and local companies, yet my working experience was mainly related to nonprofit organizations. I was worried if I would be able to deliver the right service to clients from private firms. I was eager to obtain practical experience and to learn from real life case studies. For all these reasons I decided to temporarily give up PhD and to compete for COTRUGLI scholarships. Luckily I was selected among other can-

COTRUGLI Business School provides an excellent framework for managers from nonprofit sector who want to upgrade their performance by gaining skills from for-profit companies.

didates in BiH and with additional support from Whalen Family Foundation I became a student of COTRUGLI Business School. In a nutshell, COTRUGLI Business School met my expectations. Despite the fact that I traveled miles to participate in the classes it was worth it. I grew professionally and personally because lecturers were applicable in redefining my career but also changing my behavior towards my team, partners and myself. I want to mention that it was there that I met my husband who at the time also was a CBS student and today we have a beautiful son. COTRUGLI Business School was the right choice for me!


Gaber Kontelj General Counsel SIEMENS Slovenia Executive MBA / 2007

It was back in 2007, right after enrolment to the COTRUGLI Executive MBA program, when I expressed my great enthusiasm about the CBS team and the EMBA program. The good part of the story is that all my expectations of that time have become reality. Even more, most of them were exceeded. It is not just about pile of books we dug in, great experience we exchanged with colleagues, broad knowledge we gained about business, state of the art findings presented by the professors, it is about a life style. Once you entered the COTRUGLI Business School door you stay COTRUGLI graduate forever. It is a never-ending story. Each year new generations of COTRUGLI students come and they ask us “senior colleagues” for advice. It is like being a part of a big family where knowledge and experience are unselfishly shared. The decision to enrol the COTRUGLI Executive MBA program turned out to be the best investment I have made so far. The program built in a modular system enabled me to pursue quality family life as well as efficiently fulfil all tasks and duties at work. Nothing is better for a lawyer working in the corporate surrounding than the supplementation of his legal qualification with an MBA title. Siemens is a multinational company present in 190 countries which employs more than 400.000 people worldwide. At Siemens more than 600 lawyers daily try to show their best. Vast majority of lawyers have international working or studying experience, many of them are Ph.D. or LL.M. graduates. In such a competitive environment it is not easy to play a prominent role. Fortunately, my MBA course gave me the broad understanding of business and an MBA title gave me a crucial advantage in selection process (I joined Siemens in 2010) as well as at positioning in such a prestigious environment. Without CBS I wouldn’t have succeeded it.

Nothing is better for a lawyer working in the corporate surrounding than the supplementation of his legal qualification with an MBA title.


Irena Grofelnik CEO MONSADRIA LJUBLJANA Slovenia Executive MBA / 2007

Do you love to learn? Are you willing to constantly invest in your education and obtain new knowledge? I certainly am. Those motives brought me to COTRUGLI Business School. Since I always preferred straight-forward communication, greatly appreciated modesty and fairness, I was instantly attracted to the model COTRUGLI was offering; variety of professors and colleagues from different countries were definitely the right surrounding for me. Currently I lead team of 75 colleagues in hospitality business. And it is all about people. Training, coaching, leading, managing would never be the same without experts and courses at COTRUGLI Business School. Business environment is changing so quickly that only the most innovative are able to maintain the competitive edge. Nowadays, situational leadership requires simultaneous use of various leadership styles, which is often exhausting as you have to react skilfully in order to adequately protect the company and people. But I adore my job and constant challenges it faces me with. And when my batteries are low, meditation helps me to recharge and quickly get back on track. So it is not just about professional development, it’s also about gradual upgrade of your personal competences. Metaphorically speaking, it’s like

Gaining experiences is one thing but seeing things from totally different perspective is what makes the program worth every second of time and money invested.

two different worlds coming together - like jing and jang, like sunrise and sunset, like me and my self. I would never recognize the crucial importance of mentioned elements without participating at Executive MBA program. Gaining experiences is one thing but seeing things from totally different perspective is what makes the program worth every second of time and money invested. It was amazing journey filled with new projects and new acquaintances in high speed reality! Try it


Iva Čadikovska Senior Sponsorship Specialist VIP OPERATOR Macedonia Executive MBA / 2008

I believe in “moments” in life. Lots of lovely moments appeared in my life by know, showing me the right path and the opportunities. It’s a real challenge to recognize it, to catch the real moment in the real time, to accept it and to know how to handle what is coming. The COTRUGLI moment is exactly this! It helps to learn how to handle not only business issues, but the real things in life. It happened to me in 2008 when the school and the programme for the first time appeared in Macedonia. Professional approach and selection process; serious programme and candidates, really tough competition. It was very inspiring and challenging to make the first step. The rest of the story is history and I m really proud to say that I m a member of the first generation of students from Macedonia that joined the EMBA program at COTRYGLI business school. Two years of week(end) studies filled with lots of travelling, learning, books, materials, pre-readings, projects, team work, preparation of the group project and the business plan, exams….Each time I was looking forward for the next module to meet again with everybody and to learn something new. The unforgettable Borovec happened, the beautiful city of Ohrid offered unique experience next to the “white lake”, graduation ceremony in Belgrade… Magnificent time and moments for sharing. Many of the colleagues from the group became real friend. I feel the difference now. I m using the gained knowledge in my everyday activities; I take into consideration different views and perspectives on challenging tasks, I use new approaches when solving various situations. I am practicing leadership with every new project. I am inspired, motivated and I have better chances for further personal and professional development. The most important thing in life is to learn how to believe in your feelings and in yourself; to perceive more than you see, look, search. To discover who you are and to share your experiences; to be aware of the real magic of the enthusiasm and to keep reaching for the stars - because only the sky is the limit!

One must try to fulfill his/her own expectations. This is where everything starts – with your expectations! And Cotrugli is exactly one of the ways for achieving this...


Ivana Ćećez

Business Development Manager GLAXOSMITHKLINE Serbia MBA / 2009

I was in brand management for years in a well established pharmaceutical company. I was thinking for years about my further professional development including MBA programs but at that time schools that are providing MBA have just started with their programs in Serbia. I had limited information about COTRUGLI Business School but I took a risk. I was granted with scholarship with the first MBA program in COTRUGLI Business School at the moment when my career was in stagnation. Couple of months later I got new opportunity to excel my career in other pharmaceutical company in the new area. Going from module to module of MBA program at COTRUGLI Business School, I have started to appreciate more that at same time I have started a journey of career development in a new environment. I had opportunity to implement what I have learned at the modules the very next day at my job. That was a wonderful daily practice. It was especially useful in the development of my leadership skills. There is always a moment when you have doubts due to many obligations, deadlines that are killing you, that maybe taking a part time MBA was not the smartest decision that you have made. Even though I had one too, fortunately it was brief crisis without any consequences. I would always recommend COTRUGLI

I had opportunity to implement what I have learned at the modules the very next day at my job. That was a wonderful daily practice.

Business School as an example of a good mix of theoretical, practical knowledge, sharing experience and building network. Personally, I will benefit the most from improving my flexibility that helps me to move easily from one position to another. I am also very happy that as representative of the X generation I had a great opportunity to know better and understand the new Y generation which will for a long time be my subordinates, peers and once managers.


Ivana Galić Director CROATIA FILM Croatia Executive MBA / 2010

My career started with the most important project of Croatia film, Hlapić. My responsibility increased, and by taking over contracts with leading national companies and managing Hlapić, I was soon named executive director of Croatia film. Since advertising has always had an important role in Croatia film, I looked for additional marketing challenges in Spotstudio agency, where I was appointed director. Given that both companies are a part of the same group dealing with advertising, marketing and production, I believe the next step in my career is becoming a part of the Group’s Board. The rapid development and career progress in my case is the result of intensive work and learning. Passive monitoring has never been my choice. I have always wanted to be a part of the current that drives change. In this sense, the EMBA program at COTRUGLI Business School is the best choice for anyone who does not want to stop their career to study, but wants to enhance it and upgrade it with new knowledge. This was exactly my guiding principle when I was deciding on my further education – an approach that has enabled me to use new knowledge on a daily basis, to improve my managerial skills and bring a fresh perspective to my work. High-quality networking, open communication and availability of information and knowledge are the key factors which differentiate COTRUGLI’s EMBA from other programs. Apart from developing business functions in order to achieve better results, COTRUGLI Business School provides quality education in personal development, which is crucial to every manager during his career when assessing if he is on a path he wants to be.

High-quality networking, open communication and availability of information and knowledge are the key factors which differentiate COTRUGLI’s EMBA from other programs.


Ivica SrakoÄ?ić Marketing Manager FRANCK Croatia Executive MBA / 2008

In early 2008 I joined the Franck company at a position of a brand manager. Before Franck I had been working for a big international company and have gained a lot of specific marketing knowledge but coming to Franck required a completely new set of skills and knowledge. The Franck Marketing department was much smaller than the same department in my former company so as a brand and later marketing manager I had to deal with so many different things which I was not used to. I was an experienced marketing manager but I was lacking specific knowledge in some other areas of business like finance, accounting, supply chain management etc. I realized that best way to acquire those skills and knowledge was to apply to a business school. After a thorough analysis of many options, I have chosen COTRUGLI Business School. This was an easy choice because COTRUGLI had great reputation, very good lecturers and concept of Executive MBA program, which went very well with my business and personal obligations. The program turned out to be exactly what I needed. It filled the

The program turned out to be exactly what I needed. It filled the gaps in my set of managerial skills and I became much more rounded in other areas of business.

gaps in my set of managerial skills and I became much more rounded in other areas of business. It gave me lot more confidence and independence and, as a consequence, I became a lot more efficient and successful in my work. But maybe the greatest benefit of the program was the expansion of my professional business network, which now includes many new high profile managers from the region. We studied and had fun together for two years which bonded many of us in a way that we can count on each other whenever needed.


Jadranka Boban Pejić CEO BIOVEGA D.O.O.

Croatia Executive MBA / 2007

As Biovega rapidly grew from a small company to a medium sized one, my responsibilities multiplied accordingly. I was a “self-taught” entrepreneur and manager, (I graduated from the Faculty of Special Education), and that is why I felt the need to check “where I am, what I’m doing well, what I need to improve and how to raise the quality of corporate management.” All this together led to the decision to enroll the COTRUGLI EMBA program, and it seemed like a good idea to me to enroll one more person from my company, so I proposed that to my deputy Žana Hinek. It proved to be an excellent idea because during the education we complemented each other; we had the opportunity to exchange our ideas and perceptions, and to discuss many topics that we wanted to apply in Biovega. The biggest challenge that I encountered while attending school was the issue of synchronization of time for school attendance and the usual business and family obligations, and I felt the responsibility to make adequate preparation for attending the program. The school has confirmed many things I already tried at work; it has strengthened me in some of my efforts, but also opened up some new possibilities. Certainly I would like to mention that communication with my colleagues at school was extremely valuable to me, and I am glad that after school was finished we have stayed in touch with each other, and help each other when needed. Although I consider all modules interesting and useful, to me the most useful modules were related to strategy, leadership, HR and personal development, because I felt that I could immediately apply some things into everyday situations. Practical work in teams, discussions and assignments were my favorite part of education. The education at COTRUGLI has definitely strengthened my confidence and competence in the everyday business challenges.

Communication with my colleagues at school was extremely valuable to me, and I am glad that after school was finished we have stayed in touch with each other, and help each other when needed.


Maja Petkovska Program Manager, Certified Performance Technologist WORLD LEARNING Macedonia MBA / 2009

I once said that the COTRUGLI journey is worth taking for every person that wants to broaden his/her horizons in the world of business. When I decided that my know-how in performance improvement was ready to be upgraded, the only logical way to proceed was business education, a program that would allow me to share my experience with professors and study fellows and enrich it by learning from their experiences. The COTRUGLI Business School MBA program matched my criteria. Hence, I hopped on! My Macedonian MBA Dream Team was the first win for me! The mixture of our different backgrounds and areas of practice from the very beginning promised great learning experience. Merged with the international group of students and well-selected professors, the wins continued counting: the journey transformed into a very dynamic experiential learning; the network expanded; the friendships grew stronger and for life. The greatest win of all was that what I learnt globally – thanks to the outstanding professors and quick-witted students on the program, I could apply locally. The best practice I took away from the program with me is one of the most valuable tools in my consulting work with the organizations at home and inter-

The greatest win of all was that what I learnt globally – thanks to the outstanding professors and quick-witted students on the program, I could apply locally.

nationally. And this is not a personal gain only, but as a snow ball effect, my work is impacting the work of individuals and organizations, which by improving their performance are improving the mega systems, the societies, in which they operate. Next generations, if you are reading this: do not hesitate, join us! The MBA program at COTRUGLI Business School is an appealing journey! It will, for sure, influence you, your closest environment and the world in which you live and work.


Mario Martinek

Director LOGSYS/BIJELI SVIJET (WHITE WORLD) Croatia Executive MBA / 2010

My own experience confirms that COTRUGLI serves as a kind of incubator for developing companies and a meeting point for ambitious and proactive people. After completing EMBA program, I started two different projects with the colleagues I met at the program. Today, these two companies have been successfully operating for three years. The first project is Logsys, a unique company specializing in logistics, transportation and distribution, management and optimization of business processes. Company offers storage capacities in the free zone of the port of Rijeka, which is ideal for a regional logistics center. Our clients are companies engaged in distribution of goods, and they use the warehouse as a regional center where they can work on finishing the goods. We started the company after having spent a lot of time and effort in the business plan development during the program, but all the hard work paid off once the company was up and running. Another project is the White World (Bijeli Svijet), a company specializing in furnishing hotels and restaurants. In Croatia, the company operates as a strategic partner to the world’s leading white goods manufacturer, the American Whirlpool. We are very proud of the success the company has achieved in just a few years, fully equipping more than 50 restaurants and hotels in Croatia. As I said, I see COTRUGLI as a catalyst and a driver of change; the School can truly help develop a network of top leaders in corporate and public sector. In the end, it is only high qualified, self confident and socially aware leaders that can lead the country and create an environment which supports the development and growth of competitive, financially stable companies, which the society greatly needs.

We started the company after having spent a lot of time and effort in the business plan development during the program, but all the hard work paid off once the company was up and running.


Narves Behlilović BOSN I A & H ERZ EGOV I NA MBA / 2010

My professional career started in an Insurance company. As a young telecommunication engineer I worked in IT department and, at first, had only a few assignments. Gaining more and more knowledge, day by day, meant raising complexity and quantity of my assignments. In less than one year, my knowledge of IT was not any more sufficient for me to do my job properly. I needed more knowledge and more skills to understand the environment, assignments, and deal with them the way I wanted. During my studies, I have noticed that people worldwide who are successful in business, leaders, as a rule, are combining different kinds of knowledge in order to achieve their standings. This led me into search for the knowledge, which makes difference between leaders and followers. It was easy to find a common denominator – an MBA study. My choice was COTRUGLI Business School, for several reasons, and today I know it was a correct one. Meanwhile, I got a managerial position in the leading IT company in region - InfoDom Group. Time spent at COTRUGLI Business School, surrounded by young and ambitious individuals, professionals, from different backgrounds, discussing our everyday situations, was irreplaceable. A lot of experience and knowledge transmitted to us, from our professors, enlightened us and created desire for self improvement, showing us the way to achieve it. After the process of

This led me into search for the knowledge, which makes difference between leaders and followers. It was easy to find a common denominator – an MBA study.

“Cotruglization”, by becoming a member of COTRUGLI Alumni Club, one has a perfect base of contacts for further self development in business and life. COTRUGLI MBA program changed my life in a positive way and I see it as a very important part of myself today. If you feel you need to speed-up your life and business, in order to learn and achieve more, you have found the right way to do it – at COTRUGLI Business School.


Nataša Stojanović

ICT Manager for Serbia and Croatia UJEDINJENE SRPSKE PIVARE (MEMBER OD HEINEKEN GROUP) Serbia Executive MBA / 2010

Already early in my life, I knew what general direction I wanted my professional career to take. Information and Communications Technology appealed to me in various areas and on various grounds. One such a factor is the strong presence of change dynamics. ICT never “is”, rather we find it is always “evolving into”. Similarly, I experienced how my choice of challenges evolved during the last decade from a technological focus into the managerial challenge. Our industry needs both: skilled, experienced experts, working both with and on technology, as well as those whose focus it is to work with the people: colleagues, customers and business partners. My university background as an engineer had been a suiting basis for my career launch. But I felt it did not sufficiently fuel my skills for the new challenge I had chosen, which was managing a highly diverse, multi-national team of skilled specialists in a competitive industry, where ICT is the most tangible of all supportive business processes. Further, one has to reckon that in a mature, highly competitive industry, there’s a strong risk when choosing to evolve managerial or leadership skills through experience alone: time is lost on making the right, often crucial decisions. Here is where the EMBA program of COTRUGLI Business School made the difference for me: unlike any other program I evaluated, COTRUGLI is focusing on that perfect blend of knowledge I was convinced I needed for my next career step to be successful for myself and the company. Through new insights and fine-tuned skills, and by opening doors into a vast network of similarly motivated colleagues from many industries, COTRUGLI’S EMBA program has truly left me ready to face tomorrow’s challenges, confidently.

Through new insights and fine-tuned skills, and by opening doors into a vast network of similarly motivated colleagues from many industries, COTRUGLI’S EMBA program has truly left me ready to face tomorrow’s challenges, confidently.


Toni Lukanovski HR Director MAKEDONSKI TELEKOM Macedonia Executive MBA / 2008

My experience shows COTRUGLI Business School as a unique institution, where successful managers, together with young and strong potentials from the entire Balkan region, develop more challenging careers. The educational model of COTRUGLI Business School has provided me with an opportunity to learn from international experts, interactive studies based on the real life situations and using up-to-date top class materials. This method provides excellent opportunity for enhancement of creativity and entrepreneurship. Combined with the extraordinary network of successful people from the whole SEE region, COTRUGLI can be named as the best place for ambitious people - where new ideas are born, developed and new businesses are created. COTRUGLI Business School is creating a network of successful people, strong managers and top leaders in the countries of this region. Being a member in that kind of network is a big benefit for every student. On a business level, it was the experience that has given me a lot of practical knowledge and useful ideas. On a

For me, the COTRUGLI Executive MBA program is the lifetime experience, which has “opened new doors” and provided me with huge opportunities.

personal level I have had the chance to interact with extraordinary group of innovative, talented and intelligent individuals. As a conclusion, during the studies I got excellent professional knowledge upgrade and created unique friendships with other strong managers and leaders from the region. In my profession, it is a huge asset. For me, the COTRUGLI Executive MBA program is the lifetime experience, which has “opened new doors” and provided me with huge opportunities.


Tsvetomira Tsotsova Investment Manager INNIMMO INVESTMENTS Bulgaria MBA / 2008

COTRUGLI MBA is not about improving your professional skills by upgrading your academic knowledge. It’s a platform to exchange knowledge and experience, broaden your network of contacts and challenge your mind and skills to drive positive change in your business environment. The main benefit from my MBA degree is intangible. I have changed my mindset! Since enrolling MBA at COTRUGLI Business School till now there was a tremendous progress in my career. Starting my MBA two years ago I had been working as a financial analyst for almost 2 years. At that time I felt the need for not only progressing in my career but also becoming a driver of change for the Bulgarian market. I believed I was able to become one of these change drives with innovative thinking, current concepts and entrepreneurial approach that trigger the development of the markets. And the MBA program became the tool, my lecturers - the guides, my MBA fellows - the ones to exchange knowledge and experience and my colleagues – the ones to support me in achieving this goal. Of course, the core was hard work. The immediate benefit was the rush from lectures in the office to share experience and best case practices with my colleagues. The long-term benefits are new business opportunities that I discovered thank to my MBA program, the partnerships I gained and the investments I manage as a result of all mentioned.

The main benefit from my MBA degree is intangible. I have changed my mindset!


Tsanio Tsanev Manager Business Consulting and Software Solutions MAGIC SOLUTIONS Bulgaria Executive MBA / 2008

I was yearning to improve my educational background so I decided to continue it with an MBA program. I found out that COTRUGLI Business School suits best for me. I can say that starting the program was one of the most crucial decisions and actions I have made. In these unforgettable 2 years I have established very valuable friendships, I have improved my managerial and leadership skills and the most important achievement is that I have shaped and developed my personality. Within the modules, especially the case discussions, I have changed my managerial approach towards different aspects of the business environment. I will ever keep those wonderful moments during the class sessions where we discussed and analysed cases like we are in a real business situation. The interventions were so close to reality that it motivated me to give the best from myself and share it with the others. I have also improved my communication and presentation skills in more interactive and professional manner. This was one of the biggest challenges and I am very proud and pleased with the results. I was engaged from the very first beginning of the program and my will to explore and learn was increasing progressively. I was feeling that all my efforts are reasonable and will be rewarded.

I can honestly share that the knowledge I obtained and the experience I gained at the School are the most valuable impact on my personality so far.

When you see the same attitude all around you it increases your readiness to contribute in the name of the team. I can honestly share that the knowledge I obtained and the experience I gained at the School are the most valuable impact on my personality so far. Now I feel more confident and ready to share them to achieve the goal of a better society. Let us all do the same and only then our mission will be completed!


Valerija Marić

Assistant Executive Director for Accounting Division HBOR – CROATIAN BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT Croatia Executive MBA / 2008

With 19 years of experience in different businesses like non-profit organizations, telecommunications, hospitality, investments and banking, my professional life was a continuous learning process focused on accounting, controlling and finances. Starting as a basic accountant, my responsibilities increased over time from accounting to controlling and finances by managing these three areas again in different environments: from start-up companies to operational ones, from mergers and acquisitions to legal separations. Still, I had a need to learn more about business, so I joined the COTRUGLI Executive MBA program mostly because of its flexible modular program approach and courses that were held on weekends which enabled me to attend all lectures without being absent from work. The two year program was an intensive, hardworking, but pleasant journey with top-ranked international lecturers, excellent COTRUGLI team professionals and amazing student colleagues – managers and entrepreneurs from all over the region. By getting new knowledge from Sales, Marketing, Operations and Strategy Management I have definitely gained a new dimension of my professional development but I believe I’ve benefited the most in areas of self awareness, self understanding and self management for which I have to thank lecturers like Mike George, Marijo Bos, Ivica Vrančić and many others. By learning to manage myself I have improved my management with all other resources more effectively, accurately and with better creativity. This also enabled me to focus on the relevant and balance my professional life with my private life, which again, brought success in all areas. After all, life is not a contest but an interesting game and not a bunch of survival tasks but a creative workshop - learning never stops.

By learning to manage myself I have improved my management with all other resources more effectively, accurately and with better creativity.


COTRUGLI Business School - Success Stories  

I have enrolled COTRUGLI Business School due to a strong need for further improvement and because I wanted to be able to carry out my work m...

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