Alumni Eve II - Interview with György Szabó, CEO of Sanoma Budapest Zrt.

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On November 28, 2013, the second alumni eve of the semester took place at IBS. This time György Szabó, CEO of Sanoma Media Budapest Zrt. was invited for a conversation with Péter Szakonyi. Mr. Szabó answered several questions regarding his career path and views on the present and future of the publishing and media industry.

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The first questions focused on his leadership experience, especially on the differences between Hungarian and Dutch leadership methods and business culture. Being polite, open, result oriented, searching for consensus and expecting critical remarks were highlighted in comparison to Hungary. Mr. Szabó was talking about how different approaches, different leadership methods can change the workplace environment and how different the viewpoints of various European countries can be. On the question what makes the Finnish successful, he underlined that it is mutual trust in which the trust towards the government also plays an important part. Questions also targeted Czech examples, where Mr. Szabó explained the biggest difference is in the spirit of the society. He argued that the Czechs do not have so much of a fighting spirit and do not bargain about prices, which in a way results in a sounder market. He also pointed out the more structural approach to solving problems, another aspect which makes a big difference in comparison to Hungary.

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On the question how he sees the future of the Hungarian media market, whether it is an optimistic picture or not, he expressed his concerns regarding the world media, and its diminishing due to digital copies. Finally, for the question concerning the top three features of a Sanoma employee the answer included being talented in the first place. A talented person, according to Mr. Szabó, is somebody who can come up with unusual ways of problem solving , which he mentioned as a top priority necessary in any field. Second, he pinpointed internal drive and motivation, which makes the employees do their work without strong, continuous supervision. As for the third, intellectual capabilities were highlighted.

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The second alumni eve, the second great personality to meet, the second evening filled with thought provoking questions and answers. This is how this evening could be best summarized in one sentence.

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