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Alumni Stories · Strategy - Leadership

A once in a life-time experience for TUI’s Alexander Majarek

A participant discusses Strategic Thinking, an IMD Global Leadership in the Cloud program
February 2017

 - IMD Business SchoolWhen Alexander (aka Sascha) Majarek enrolled in one of the ten IMD Global Leadership in the Cloud programs, he says that his expectations were high. “But the learning experience outperformed my expectations.”

Challenge

A recent promotion to an expanded role at TUI Group, the largest leisure, travel and tourism company in the world, brought Sascha Majarek to IMD’s for eight-week program on Strategic Thinking.

“It was the perfect fit.”

After eight years at TUI Austria as CIO, 18 months ago he was appointed Commercial & Service Integration Director for Infrastructure Management and Service Delivery at the TUI headquarters in Hanover.

At this point in his career, he felt that he needed to complete his two MBA’s in Business Administration from the Vienna University of Economics and Business and from the Carlson School of Management of the University of Minnesota with strategic thinking and innovation. His former boss, an IMD alumni, recommended that he investigate the programs at IMD already some time ago.

“We need to invent and move to the right direction.” His new role requires the skills that Sascha was looking for at IMD.

Approach

Majarek describes the program that he completed in November 2016 in the following way:

“It all starts with basics like using a Business Portfolio Analysis and a Business Model Canvas as well as other quite basic – but still crucial – methods and integrating them into a well-founded SWOT analysis. This leads to the application of “big moves” which are either improving the top or the bottom line. The next steps are outpacing moves which can be targeted either at the value proposition or at the value delivery system (and which lead to a system of continuous improvement). It continues with learning how to decompose and reinvent value propositions and further work on the value delivery system. It finally culminates in finding smart moves and a smart focus where all the parts come together.”

Processes aside, Sascha valued the exchanges that he was able to have with peers from a large international environment, many from business areas far removed from any that he has ever known.

“What I really appreciated were the peer discussions around team assignments that allowed me to look at things from different perspectives. It was interesting to exchange thoughts with people from so many different sectors.”

“You end up seeing things that you wouldn’t otherwise.”

Impact

Majarek appreciates the singularity of IMD’s GLC program: “You don’t have to travel or leave your job. There’s also a very comprehensive live session of questions and answers where you learn a lot.”

He says that in terms of remembering what he learned, “it’s like it was yesterday,” and that the entire program has remained very vivid in his mind: “It was a once in a lifetime experience.”

“We covered a lot of ground in those eight weeks and there were so many valuable insights and key learnings for me. Most of the content was explained in a way that makes it easy to relay it back to leadership teams in the business. Which I’ll definitely do.”

He also gives credit to Lisa Duke, his IMD “learning angel”. “She gave me a great deal of motivation with her invaluable feedback and the hints where I could dig deeper at times.”

“I can highly recommend this course to everyone who wants to get a clear(er) understanding of how strategy development works (i.e. if done properly) based on facts and figures. It’s not just some “magic” where you need to have a talent for. Once you break it down to its parts, it’s much easier to find and do the right things.”

Find out more about Strategic Thinking.

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