Adela Mehic-Dzanic moved to Austria six years ago with her husband. They started from scratch, learning the language, applying for jobs, and building a network.
After working in telecoms sales and as an Internet of Things (IoT) consultant in Vienna, a moment of serendipity then brought her to WU Executive Academy’s MBA in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. The school came across her LinkedIn profile and sent her a message that they thought she’d be a good fit for their innovative MBA program, and she accepted.
“That’s where it all started,” she explains. “I had wanted to do an MBA for quite some time; it was always on my list.”
After graduating from the program in 2019, Adela has seen her career accelerate to a new level. The MBA in Entrepreneurship & Innovation was the catalyst.
The MBA in entrepreneurship builds your network
Adela is now driving business connectivity through the IoT in her role as head of connectivity service providers with tech company, Mavoco, in Vienna. It’s a role she moved into straight after the MBA. The degree opened the door for her to pivot away from her bachelor’s and previous master’s experience in telecommunication and electrical engineering.
“For me, coming from a technical background, I knew I wanted to go more into the business side of things. For that I realized I needed an MBA,” she says.
Adela wants to start her own company in the future, which is why she jumped at the chance to join the MBA in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. It was an opportunity to build out her network, and gain the knowledge of her peers on which she can draw when it comes to launching her own venture.
The cohort on the 18-month, part-time program over the last three intakes has averaged 12 years of work experience, four years of leadership experience, and 56% international students. Students come from IT, manufacturing, engineering, finance, pharmaceuticals, energy, and more—all of which broadens your perspective.
“The MBA helps you adapt as a businessperson in this global and digitized world we live in. It gives you a solid foundation to build on––whether that’s in marketing, sales, finance, or entrepreneurship.
“I wanted to build out my network within Austria, as I knew I wanted to stay here, and that network now spreads across Germany and Switzerland, too.”
The MBA hones your entrepreneurial skillset
Students are placed into groups of four or five people when they start the program—the model of groupwork on the MBA develops your ability to analyze how you work with other people on a more intimate basis.
“Wherever you end up working you’ll be working with people who are polar opposite to you, and you need to be able to listen, compromise, and support,” explains Adela.
Everything she learned was grounded in practical experience. During the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Bootcamp—part of a second-year specialization—students get access to entrepreneurs, incubators, and accelerators like WeXelerate or Talent Garden; there are also opportunities to work with local startups and international companies.
They also have the opportunity to pitch to an audience of venture capitalists, managers, professors, and students during the program’s Demo Day.
A big highlight for Adela was a trip to the US as part of the intrapreneurship innovation module. Students learned how business is conducted in the US, whether US companies are risk-averse, and what drives their business decisions.
“It’s very different to Europe, which was really useful to learn and experience,” she explains, “especially when I think about how my own business ventures might best infiltrate that market.”
Nikolaus Franke, the academic director of the MBA in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, says the program takes the approach that learning business theory in the classroom simply isn’t enough.
“Entrepreneurship and innovation aren’t armchair philosophy––it’s about getting something done,” he explains. “The real learning takes place when students apply this knowledge to practical problems. It’s done through practice.”
The MBA in entrepreneurship strikes the balance between theory and practice
There is such thing as a “theoretical entrepreneur”, which Nikolaus believes isn’t the most efficient way to learn about entrepreneurship. In the same way 100% practical experience doesn’t work either.
It’s a balancing act of learn and apply, learn and apply.
“All teaching on the program is interactive in nature; content is not just presented one way, we encourage discussion,” Nikolaus explains.
“A specific element of this MBA is the inclusion of at least one practitioner in every module, which basically means we provide a top-ranked practical expert overseeing the module content as well.”
Due to the part-time nature of the program students are able to apply the module content to practical problems they face in their real working lives. The MBA’s final thesis involves a practical problem that students must solve using the methods and concepts they’ve learned.
This is all happening amid constant peer-to-peer discussion, a key takeaway for professionals on the program.
“What I hear from most students at their graduation is how they underestimated the value of peer-to-peer learning. After all, our students may share an entrepreneurial mindset and have a lot of potential, but they come from very different industry backgrounds, cultures, and education.
“By the end of the course, the peers you meet always prove to be an incredibly valuable network graduates can draw on for years afterwards.”
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WU Executive Academy - Vienna University of Economics and Business
Vienna - Austria