Stephanie E. Trpkov is an entrepreneur, director of Intech Ventures d.o.o. and a longtime consultant at the World Bank in competitiveness and energy. Besides, she is an expert advisor at the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) to develop innovation projects.
With a career focused on low-carbon transition, digital transformation, and smart cities, the European Commission selected her as a leading expert for two of the four Croatian cities within the “100 Intelligent Cities Challenge” initiative (Rijeka, Velika Gorica, Osijek, and Split), namely for Velika Gorica and Split. She completed biochemical engineering and the Executive MBA program at the Cotrugli Business School, and Poduzetnik magazine interviewed her on that topic.
How did you decide to enroll in MBA studies?
As my profession is in biochemistry, although I ran an engineering company in Nigeria and lived in America and England, I always lacked knowledge in finance and economics. When I came to Croatia and started working in a consulting company, I was assigned foreign clients, and I started working with senior management. That “hole in knowledge” would always appear there.
As I was responsible for Southeast Europe, I did not understand the mentality and way of doing business in that area, so I decided to enroll in an MBA. Although the first choice was LSE (London Business School), I decided to enroll in a regional MBA, and back then, Cotrugli Business School was the best choice. In short, I enrolled in the MBA because of the desire for knowledge in finance and economics and getting to know the culture in the business of Southeast Europe.
The most important value that an MBA study has?
The importance and significance of integrating different perspectives in the project. On the MBA, we were all different and yet similar, but again all with different views. It is very important to know how to integrate this and respect the other side’s vision.
Knowledge or networking – which is more important?
Knowledge is the key to everything. Networking is often seen as a tool for meeting people for personal gain, which is wrong. If you have no knowledge, you will not know how to network either. Networking means connecting with people so that you can bring them something valuable and preferably benefit from joint activities. Networking is a skill that must be learned. If a person has no knowledge, he will not be able to network, and everyone will run away from him. The key component of MBA studies is knowledge – knowledge about oneself and society, and networking is a consequence.
Why is it good to be a member of an association like MBA Croatia?
Even as a child, I learned that if it makes sense to do something, I have to do it great. That is my life motto! Being in search of excellence is something that drives me to this day. The projects I do can’t just be good; it’s not enough for me. They have to be great! That is why I am in the MBA Croatia Association – because of the constant search for excellence that the association and its members promote.
About MBA Croatia Association
Once a month, the MBA Croatia Association organizes interesting lectures by top lecturers from Croatia and the world on various topics. So far, they have hosted representatives of almost all industries and participants in all social events. From scientific lecturers (such as astronomer and educator Korado Korlević) to lecturers who participated in the organization of the world’s largest projects (Boris Sakač on IT at the Olympic Games), directors of the largest and most successful Croatian companies or foreign diplomats and ambassadors in Croatia.
At the beginning of all programs, the first business lecture was given by Dr. sc. Saša Petar. After that, various topics were presented in the lessons: from comparing economic plans of political parties to intellectual property in music, which Miroslav Škoro and Nikša Bratoš discussed.
Over time, the interest of members to share their knowledge with a small group of people increased. Hence, several times a year, the association organizes the MBA workshop, an internal seminar only for members. There are many benefits that only members of MBA Croatia enjoy, including a free subscription to certain magazines.
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