"To lead seminar discussions and motivate diverse and interesting students has been a breath of fresh air in my career."
Where are you from? How long have you been living in Hungary and what brought you here?
I was born in London, grew up in Canada, and am now Swedish, Canadian, and British. My wife and I have been living in Hungary for 4-1/2 years. We came here for a job that she was offered having followed my career for 20 years around Europe and Asia, living in a number of countries, and moving every 3-4 years.
What did you study and what is your special field of teaching?
My first degree was in Engineering at Oxford. After working for 5 years as an engineer in the oil industry, I did an MBA at INSEAD in France and have worked since then in Finance and General Management. I teach courses in Leadership and Management, Business Strategy, and Macroeconomics — these are the areas that best reflect my business experience and my interests, so I get to keep on learning while I am teaching.
What is the most challenging issue right now in that field?
The challenges in Macroeconomics are obvious with the huge financial and employment challenges the world is facing in 2020. The theories will mainly continue to hold true, but every time we go through a crisis like this, we learn how to adjust the practice to make for a stabler future. In Strategy and Organisational Behaviour, the theories are always developing and each generation of managers figures out how to adjust and succeed. For me, the biggest challenge is not understanding or applying the theory, but getting students to realise the need to engage and figure out things for themselves.
I also would like to ask you about your IBS experiences. How long have you been teaching at IBS?
I was asked to give a trial lecture at IBS 18 months ago and started teaching straight after that. I’ve really enjoyed teaching students at both the bachelor's and master's levels, with their different perspectives, priorities and life experience.
What is the most challenging part of teaching at IBS, that is teaching a really multicultural cohort of students? Are you used to it or did you have to face some unexpected challenges?
I’ve worked cross-culturally all my career and never worked in my home country. I really enjoy trying to figure out how people from different cultures think, trying to connect with the person, and trying to learn from them. I love that multicultural aspect of the students at IBS and have met people from countries I had not previously interacted with, which is great.
I know that teaching is not your sole activity. What other professional activities are you doing? In what ways do they help your teaching?
I also work in leadership development as an Executive Coach. This means helping business leaders think about their management and leadership skills in the midst of realtime business issues. It is usually one-to-one and I spend a lot of time working with people as they think about how to navigate their organization, how to motivate people from different cultures than their own, how to build their own brand and career path, and how to grow as people as well as managers. All of this fits in very well with the teaching subjects I focus on and I regularly find myself telling one group about what I am working on with the other group.
How could you sum up your IBS experiences so far?
It’s been a surprise. I was always comfortable speaking and presenting as part of my job, as well as teaching smaller groups in informal and non-profit environments. Putting those two together to lead seminar discussions and motivate diverse and interesting students has been a breath of fresh air in my career. I’m really glad I started teaching at IBS and feel I’ve gained enormously from it.