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The road to Valedictorian in an EMBA

Ana-Maria Huțan, Manager of the Sales Management team of Holcim Romania, graduated as Valedictorian the Executive MBA program of the Tiffin American University.

Ana-Maria Huțan is one of the pioneers of Holcim Romania, having worked at the company’s sales department for 12 years, shortly after Holcim Group entered the Romanian market.

 “When I came in the company, we were seven or eight employees in Bucharest, in the headquarters and we were working in a very small building. Judging by the job title, my first job was the same with the one I have now. Instead, in what concerns the content, back then I was doing only 10-15% from what I do now”.

In addition to the coordination of the Sales Administration team in Romania, Ana-Maria also plays an important part within the Holcim Group, being involved in a Europe-wide project, requiring approximately 80% of her work time and involves long travels abroad.

Despite the busy work schedule, she decided to follow an older dream of hers attending an Executive MBA, which she completed as Valedictorian. The opportunity appeared within Holcim Romania, which introduced in the motivational matrix of employees, since 2006, the access to MBA-type programs for those members of the team whose performances constantly exceed expectations. By relying on the personal involvement and motivation of the candidates for this kind of courses, Holcim offer its employees the chance to attend the best programs on the market.

 Ana-Maria had to choose between three universities, the final option being determined by the teachers. “I believe that what differentiates the Tiffin program from other programs of this type in Romania are the teachers who are at the same time practitioners as well, possessing management experience, hence the practical orientation of courses. The biggest challenge, but also the most useful for me as a professional, was to apply all the concepts taught in the daily practical activity. Nothing from what we learnt in classes remained in theory. At each step we were asked: “How does this help you in your activity?”

But this is not the only place where benefits come from. Such a program also represents an opportunity to meet people from different fields, thus benefiting from multiple perspectives on the discussed problems.

The main change she felt after graduating the program consisted in a better understanding of the overall picture. “It is like when you have all the pieces of a puzzle, but you cannot imagine how they will look together, which is the overall picture. This is what you gain after an EMBA. You understand how the pieces relate to each other, how they combine, why they influence one another and in what consists this influence. It is a state of mind. Once you understood this way of thinking, you cannot get out of it. It is as if until now you have seen two-dimensionally and suddenly the 3D vision is revealed to you. You enter a completely different world and there is no going back to what it was before.”

Attending an EMBA program is a job in itself, some would say. It requires the same effort and dedication as any professional activity. And if we double this effort, perhaps we can get an idea on what it means to graduate as a head of class. How to get there? Undoubtedly, with many late nights. But, more than time, the quality of involvement counts. “I am a perfectionist. And this is applied to everything I do, be it about my activity within Holcim Romania or on the execution of papers for EMBA. There are people who stop when what they do is “good enough”. But for me “enough” is never sufficient. I have not handed over any paper of which I was not satisfied; maybe not entirely satisfied, but at least satisfied. I preferred to work on it until morning and to leave directly to the office. I believe in things well done all the way.”

In what concerns the right time for attending an EMBA, Ana-Maria believes that the most appropriate time is to have contact with such a program after acquiring a certain professional experience. Only this way you can understand the discussed issues and you can take full advantage of the program benefits. Otherwise, passing through such a program is just a theory placed on top of another theory, with no practical basis.