When I think of people who are adaptable to diverse situations, one of the people that springs to my mind is Corina Chiorean-Stanciu. She started working in finance, then transitioned to manufacturing and then became the CEO of a marketing agency, G7. She then turned her passion of travelling into business and started Mola Mola, through which she organizes diving trips in Egypt.
Corina is one of our graduates from the RO5 intake, who had their last classes a few years ago. We’ve kept in touch over the years and it was great to catch up with her recently to discuss what where the challenges and opportunities in the changes she’s done, how has the MBA facilitated these transitions and what does she still apply, after these years since graduation.
A few years ago, you switched from working in an industrial company to a marketing agency. How did you find that switch? What challenges did you face?
Yes, I used to work for almost 5 years for a manufacturing group, a few of them as a coordinator of the finance division. It was a time of tremendous learning at the beginning of my career, much of it due to some inspirational people who trusted me to learn and experiment on their own business. I worked as a financial controller for the business lines of 3 factories, with hundreds of products. It gave me rigor and method, linking the concepts that seemed so vague in university to real life facts, with impact over the business and over some hundreds of people, ultimately.
While I was the group CFO I learnt even more from the general business exposure – a turnaround from an obsolete inherited business model to a modern manufacturing operation, able to compete on the harsh automotive and sports equipment industry, negotiations with unions, contracting financing sources for investments etc.
I switched to agency life, which is synonymous to frantic speed execution, short notice pitches, but at the same time, flexibility and predictability in delivering services on national level. At first glance, there is a contradiction in terms….how can a business be flexible and predictable at the same time? This is what intrigued me the most in the BTL advertising industry so I decided that it was going to be my next challenge.
Since in both industries I was running the finance division, it wasn’t much of a change in my activity per se, but it was more of a new setup, a new game board with different learning opportunities.
Do you think your MBA helped you in evolving to the CEO position? How?
Absolutely. It gave me confidence and transformed me, before anything else – a confidence that I was right to try and make significant changes for my life and for the life of the agency. This is how I had the courage to take a big risk and make a leverage buyout deal for g7, seven years ago. I made a high risk bet on us, the entire team, being able to make the turnaround of the business, but now I am very grateful for this.
The BISM MBA program gave me structure and business management skills. So, with some tools and guidance, I went on to test and see if what I learnt would work in real life business.
Tell us a bit about MolaMola. How did it start and what are you planning for the next period?
Mola Mola (https://www.facebook.com/MolaMolaExperience) is a safari diving trip activity, a new hobby for us. We organise these one-week diving holidays in Egypt on specially equipped diving boats, with PADI certified courses and instructors onboard, direct charter flights.
It all began as a personal escape trip of ours from the extremely stressful period of Covid, in the winter of 2020 – 2021. It started out as a pastime with friends, a curiosity and now it became a community of people with different backgrounds who share similar passions for the sea, boats, diving, traveling and great networking. There are many people in the Mola Mola community who previously met at BISM, by the way.
For this year we have another trip in 29th of October – 5th of November and for the next year, in April, we prepare a diving trip for children & their parents – certified courses under the water, exploration and fun activities onboard.
For the future we plan to settle business partnerships in other spectacular diving places too, like Mexico, Aruba-Bonaire-Curacao, places in the Indian Ocean.
How do you think the EMBA impacted your professional and personal life? Is there anything you apply now?
Everyday business life brought to me many questions. From the ones related to how you lead a team and properly manage the resources and activities of a company, to how you negotiate, how you facilitate teamwork, create purpose and a context for growth, or how you create a learning organisation. To all of these and so many more questions I found answers in the EMBA program.
As for the personal life, I was lucky enough to meet a lot of great people, both in my EMBA cohort but also in the community. I keep close to some of them and work together with some others. The ecosystem at BISM is very resourceful. There’s literally no domain from where you can’t find great professionals to turn to for advice in our community.
I also think the EMBA released a lot of my potential and gave me the tools to bring to life many of my dreams. It enriched my life and kept me in a highly skilled and warm community.
Which subjects in the EMBA program do you think made the biggest impact on you and why?
The most significant learning achievement that stuck with me was on how important it is for an organisation to create the context of values-based leadership. And we did it, after many iterations and a lot of learning, together with this great team of g7.
Many subjects were technically very useful and all of them applicable in the day to day business, but nevertheless I have a very clear memory about the critical thinking subject, taught by Radu Atanasiu – it helped me structure my ideas in proper arguments. If only critical thinking were taught in every school of the Romanian formal education system…
Then there was the storytelling with Cosmin Alexandru – so absolutely necessary when working with teams, business strategy with Florin Ilie, where I also learnt the importance of keeping in mind what your business is not going to be about, avoiding so many tempting decisions towards side lines of business. A good memory also I keep about the business ethics course, with Steven van Groningen, as in day to day business we never have ethical dilemmas over good versus bad alternatives. There’s always a bad versus bad decision to make and a struggle over managing its consequences.
Corina is part of our 600+ alumni community. If you want to join it, check out our business programs. Plus, check out more about our alumni stories and find out about the next intake of our Executive MBA.