stemberger

Mark Stemberger

Former CEO, Tomplast, Slovenia

CIMBA MBA, Clemson University, 1996 CIMBA Executive Certificate in International Management and Strategy, 2013

Jack Welch wrote in his memoirs that the only way he let his subordinates progress was through continuous education, coaching and growing intellectually and mentally their own subordinates. This means that unless you bring your own down-line reports up to your standards and level and then some, you cannot grow yourself. As the practice shows, this thinking is not applicable only in GE or Fortune 500 companies, but also in much smaller companies, worldwide. And numerous succession challenges all over the world testify time and again that poor succession planning and preparation (as well as execution) are cause to many a company demise. Or plain company stagnation which eventually translates into a company downfall…

I chose to grow the personally handpicked managers in our company (Tomplast group, Slovenia) to grow and empower through ECIMS programme by CIMBA. In fact, I decided to attend the same programme as well in spite of my own MBA degree, which I completed on Clemson University, South Carolina in 1996 (at the time organised by a CIMBA predecessor). Since the world had not stopped evolving in the meantime, so has the body of managerial knowledge vastly expanded in the last (nearly) 20 years, which more than justified my re-entry as a graduate MBA into an executive MBA programme. Next to verifying what was new and what changed in the realm of managerial education, I personally guided and coached the team of 3 top managers from our company throughout the executive programme. And they benefited by far and large more from this programme because of my personal coaching and mentoring approach, as we were able to literally translate acquired knowledge immediately into our own business environment, over night! And our knowledge base expanded from module to module.

The ECIMS program opens the door to management education to anyone with an open mind and open heart. Ideally, someone should have adequate middle or top management experience to get the most out of the program.

Our professors in this program, all of them practitioners and international consultants with immense management and functional knowledge, shared their experience with us in a way that simply cannot be replicated through the course books or on-line education. Most of the subjects were presented with a myriad of real-life experiences and stories from our professors which students hungrily consumed (and probably retained for life). Classes have an emphasis on analysing a case-studies; in our case we went through an imaginary (or not!?) case study of an Italian furniture manufacturer who had strategic challenges. We went subject by subject, from module to module, to build a body of knowledge of our own; then we built a successful strategy which enables the company to enact a successful turn-around strategy.

The ECIMS program concluded in Iowa City, Iowa, in the US with its campus that is on the par with the Ivy League universities (not only the physical campus, but the professors as well!). Our management team, none of whom had ever been to the United States before, thoroughly enjoyed the intensity and rigour of the final week study in the US. To top it off, we visited two furniture companies in Iowa, which weaved in perfectly with the curriculum which started in Italy and finished in Iowa. The week culminated with the presentation of the turn-around strategy for the company in front of a cohort of many professors and visiting students.

I completed my goal: I refreshed my own MBA knowledge and enabled my team to come up to the speed through an hands-on executive MBA program, which was useful, practical, fun, applicable and became etched into the minds of our top team. The team felt respected, appreciated and awarded with this education (and trip to the US). And they reciprocated with a new level of motivation and vigor at work, and, not surprisingly, a new set of skills and knowledge.

If you are still considering whether to go for the programme (ECIMS) or not, I can vouch that you will be able to get from your team much, much more than before. And faster than you dare to hope! And you will see the returns on their education already from module one onwards. And these returns will continue to add value to your company, day in day out, for the years to come!

Profile: 

Mark Stemberger is a 1996 graduate of the CIMBA MBA program and has had a productive career including his most recent position as CEO of Tomplast, a plastics company in Slovenia. He agrees with the approach that Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, took when managing employees. In his memoir Welch describes that the only way he let his subordinates progress was if they continued learning and if they coached and grew their own subordinates. With that approach in mind Mark decided to refresh is business knowledge by participating in the CIMBA ECIMS program in 2013 but not by himself…he brought three of his top managers into the program as well. “I was able to coach and mentor them through the program. As a team, we were able to literally translate acquired knowledge immediately into our own business environment, overnight! And our knowledge base expanded from module to module. I refreshed my own MBA knowledge and enabled my team to come up to speed through a hands-on executive MBA program, which was useful, practical, fun, and applicable. The team felt respected, appreciated and awarded with this education and they reciprocated with a new level of motivation and vigor at work, and, not surprisingly, a new set of skills and knowledge.”