What stages in your life have had the greatest impact on you and why?
What impacted/affected me the most was the period of the after I graduated from University of Warsaw and started working in management consulting. It was a time of a rapid professional growth for me. I was able to meet company leaders, who found time to coach me one-on-one and enabled me to shadow them at work, by taking me to their customer visits and internal strategic meetings. In short period of time I was able to lead my own team projects and train younger colleagues. During 3,5 year career from Intern to Senior Associate at PwC I participated in over 30 business advisory projects for various industries, published more than 10 professional articles, and in the meantime graduated from post graduate and PhD studies and Warsaw School of Economics. Thanks to this deep-dive into business just after graduating I believe I made a “frog jump” in business consciousness, acumen, relationship building, and value creation.
Did you originally want to pursue a career in a different field? If so, why is it that nothing has come of your plans?
As a graduate of MA studies in Public Policies and Welfare I originally wanted to join National School for Public Administration, whose graduates were presented with firm, elite positions in national central administration. I was preparing to the recruitment rigorously for over 8 months, only to get dropped in the very last levels of the recruitment. However I don't consider that a failure. The knowledge and skills I gained through this rigid self-study period were proved useful during complicated recruitment process at PwC, through which I landed a job in public sector advisory practice at the company.
How and why did you come to work for PwC?
I left PwC 1,5 year ago to get more “hand on board” business experience in undertakings conducted by me directly, not from the advisory side. My journey with public sector, which I initially wanted to purse, hasn't stopped. After PwC I switched to Business to Government and Government Affairs function at Philips, where now I’m a manager responsible for B2G and GA in Poland and the Baltic States. My position was an innovation for Philips, when I first came in, which gave me a lot of space for unconventional approach in unlocking new markets and sources of growth for the company.
What has changed in your career as a result of your MBA degree? How did the program (state-of-the-art knowledge, skills, networking) support you in reaching your career goals? What concrete career opportunities (promotions, new responsibilities, etc.) have opened up for you?
I’m in the middle of the studies at WU Executive Academy, howeverI must agree with dr B. Scherzinger leading Competitive Analysis and Strategy here, who said that this subject will be one of the most important ones in our professional careers. For me it was not an exaggeration. Classes with dr B. Scherzinger were so practical that the day after I used the approach we discussed to create a strategy for business unit I operate in; currently I'm implementing it in the region I’m responsible for. I promote what I learn at WU Executive Academy in the company by organizing webinars for Philips' interns and trainees where I share with them both corporate-specific knowledge with selected insights I learned during MBA studies. By this I believe I transform the company to be more competitive and attractive for existing and future employees. And I have so much fun by doing it of course!
What was your biggest professional/personal success?
My biggest professional and personal success are successes of the people I support and develop and when I see how much they grew. I’m also very proud of advising start-ups, SMEs and running a blog for entrepreneurs and innovators I started it last year motivated by curiosity of what will happen. Both advisory and blog turned out to be a blockbusters without spending a penny for their promotion I can say it’s kind of personal success. But I’m convinced that greater success awaits me in the future.
What are your goals for the coming year? Your goals in general? Is there still something you absolutely want to do?
My goal for this year is to take couple of months of sabbatical leave from my regular work to travel to different places and cultures, enjoy the views and local specialties. Also I want to find time to write a book on business foundations.
What do you consider a “great luxury”?
The great luxury are the moments of indulging myself with a good book, while sipping coffee at the balcony at sunny weekend while exchanging views and comments on the most abstract phenomena with my wife. Great luxuries for me are moments when I don’t need to rush and can just enjoy myself with the world around.
What was the last book/movie you really enjoyed?
For me the best book ever is Count of Monte Christo by A. Dumas and for the movie it’s The Fountain by D. Aronofsky. I enjoy them fully every time I go back to them and so far nothing has beaten them even though I consume culture with insatiable appetite.
How would you characterize your philosophy of leadership? Has it been influenced by a leadership role-model?
I agree that in general leadership is about transforming any vision into reality. To achieve this transformation I find it's most important to communicate people their strengths, skills and potential in a way, that someday they start believing it themselves, demonstrate it and personally elevate.
How do you recharge your batteries when you are not pursuing your demanding career?
The best way for me to recharge batteries is paradoxically running long distances, including half-marathons and marathons, where I have the best undivided attention of myself for myself and time for deep reflection. Most of the best idea’s which ever came to my mind happened during the runs and I don’t go out running without notes making equipment like app on my mobile. I recharge greatly while swimming too, but pitifully I haven’t discovered how to jot down ideas popping up in my mind under the water. These recharges are for me the “energizers” and I like to do them before going to work. What I find refreshing afterwards is rock and roll, salsa or waltz I practice with my wife.
If you could change places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
Bond. James Bond.
Why would you recommend the Global Executive MBA/Professional MBA of the WU Executive Academy? What did you like the most?
I’d recommend PMBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation for all who find themselves entrepreneurial and would like to know how to precisely focus and leverage their potential to work out distinguishing results. The things I like about this MBA are unconventional teaching methods and very critical approach toward what is commonly thought about business. The thing I like the most is studying together with successful businessmen, start-uppers and mavericks from all over the world bringing different experiences and points of view; I find it the core principle of the studies, as it challenges your idea about business and make you see it different.
My motto in life…
Fortune helps those who dare.
I can laugh about…
Things, which most of people could easily classify as bad luck, punishment or hardship.
Shortcomings I am most likely willing to overlook…
Those, which I know that people give a try to not be perceived as a shortcoming.
I would spend my last money on…
Martini. Shaken, not stirred.
In 20 years I will…
I’ll be running Pilewicz Enterprises consisting of several well established businesses. I’ll enjoy traveling and book-writing parallel to working on business breakthroughs with people I’ll support and develop. At WU Executive Academy they say that there is only one direction… entrepreneurship and innovation!