Despite long distance between Kunshan and Shanghai, Michail arrived in time at the China Centre. It was already an evening time. We began our interview immediately. Michail came from Greece. It was the fourth year for Michail in China. We wonder how he came to China and study the MBA with the UoM?
不如从头说起，从他和英国的渊源开始。很简单，Michail一直相信英国的教育水平，于是高中毕业后，他只身来到英国求学，在威尔士大学就读计算机工程。本科三年，印象中，威尔士几乎天天下雨。我好奇来自阳光充足的希腊的他，是如何适应的。他笑说，刚开始确实有些不适应，不过他一直相信，只要坚持，困难总会被克服。2001年本科毕业后，他不满足，于是申请到Glasgow的大学，连续拿下两个硕士学位：MSc. in Electronic Business, 以及MSc. in Business in IT Systems. 佩服于他的求学精神，还佩服他的眼光，要知道在2001年，电子商务仅刚刚萌芽，Amazon已崭露头角，但还远非今日之势，阿里巴巴在国际舞台还名不见经传；而在线支付则更多是一个概念性的产品。Michail已嗅出其潜力。
Let’s start from the right beginning. Michail believed in the quality of the British education. Therefore, he went to study in the UK and graduated with BSc. (Hons) in Computing from the University of Wales. In his memory, it was nearly raining everyday in those three years. I was curious how he got used to that weather, while he was from a sunny country. He said it was really challenging for him at the beginning, but he believes that is up to ourselves to make things better. Upon graduation, he decided to continue with his study and completed two masters: MSc. in Electronic Business, and MSc. in Business in IT Systems under a scholarship, respectively from universities in Glasgow. I respected that he had such a foresight on e-commerce. As dated back in 2001, e-commerce just came into its first steps. Amazon was known then, but far less popular than nowadays. Alibaba was even less known especially on the global market. Online payment was more a conventional product. However, Michail had realized its potential for future transactions in every business sector.
Upon completion of all the study, Michail had to go back Greece to serve the military obligations at Greek Armed Forces. Despite all other hardship, he found out that his way of thinking could not match with his acquaintances and he had a big culture gap with his peers in the army. In addition, he believed his professional career should start from the place he used to be as a student. While he was so used to British way of thinking, then he immediately went back to the UK upon completion of the national service. He still remembered that he took all his luggage and drove his car all the way from Greece to London, in the UK. It was in 2005. He later worked for an insurance company in Portsmouth. However, after only one year, he had to go back to Greece due to family reasons and postpone his plans for a later stage.
He was working in IT companies in Greece until 2008 when the financial crisis took place. Greece was impacted heavily. Michail made a decision to join a new sector, rather than IT or financial industry, which could teach him lessons on how a business could survive under the most difficult economic conditions, so he switched to the FMCG/Food industry. He accepted the challenge to join the global leader of hard-discount in retail as an Area Manager and to run up to 6 supermarkets in the wider area of Midlands and North Wales. He was in charge of negotiation, logistics, operations, audit, IT, HR, budget control etc. Besides, the Group also offered him intensive trainings. He learnt a lot during those two years. In 2010, the Group had a bigger plan for Greece market and Michail applied to take this opportunity. Michail was in charge of developing the business network by opening new stores. However, the Group unexpectedly decided to withdraw completely from the Greece market and all its Greece employees were dismissed. It was not hard to imagine what a big strike for him. However, Michail didn’t give up. He soon started up a company with his brother to advise on financial solutions for SMEs in Greece, as they had realized the big demand in Greece then.
Their company has been established successfully and stably until today. It was in the middle of 2010 when he received a challenging invitation from a multinational company in manufacturing sector. So he decided to be involved at this new industry, as he predicted that this company will develop fast after the financial crisis. Kleemann offered him a job to be responsible for sales and business development in African markets. In 18 months, he successfully developed 7 new markets and in the meantime, Kleemann’s global markets went from 75 to over 100. The year of 2013 was a turning point for Kleemann when the export volume exceeded domestic market, as well as for Michail in his career path. He became the Best Performer and therefore assigned a more important task to open up the Asian & Pacific markets. Kleemann set up a subsidiary company with a brand new factory to serve the ASEAN markets, including China market. Michail was in charge of the sales, marketing and business development of ASEAN markets. Despite a heavy workload which required him to travel almost every two weeks, he was satisfied with every progress he’s made. His work was paid off until 2014 when the first order came from Thailand. More orders followed up and a wide network of clients have been established. So far, he has established the brand to 17 new markets in ASEAN territory.
Back to 2009, he already had the dream, but was constrained by his limited free time. His MBA dream was postponed until 2015. In 2016, sales volume was increasing, and everything was already on track. Michail hoped to realize his dream of studying the MBA. After comparing several international business schools, he chose AMBS to start his Global MBA study. The MBA course fitted well his requirements: blended learning with well-designed offline workshops, on International basis; authentic British education and professors. Of course, he had a special emotion towards Manchester where he used to live and work.
Michail对于自己有着清醒的认识，对于学习，有着强烈的追求。他是big fan of life-long learning，始终相信‘活到老，学到老’。他也在不断实践着自己对学习的热爱。就读期间，他还另外安排时间就读了一个两个月的关于物联网的线上课程。Kleemann曾提出愿意出资供他就读曼商，换他两年的工作合约。虽然时间不长，但他还是拒绝了东家的提议，因为他不喜欢被禁锢的感觉，只相信自己的命运必须紧紧攥在自己的手中。Michail一直在思考自己下一步要做什么，他求学也是为了给自己更多地可能与资本。ＭＢＡ的理论基础与对金融、制造业、ＩＴ、运营等的实际工作经验，加上对中国机会与实力的坚信，他认为必须做点什么。他看好工业４．０，他想做一些和这个有关的事情。
Michail is a big fan of life-long learning. He also took an online course on IoT during his MBA study to support his vision for the new era of Industry 4.0. Kleemann used to propose to sponsor his MBA study, in exchange for a two-year contract with him. However, he turned down this offer as he insisted to control his own fate. He was always thinking what the next step to take. His experiences in finance, IT, manufacturing, BD and operation, as well as his study in MBA led to his belief that he must do something new. He believed a promising future in Industry 4.0 and China’s strong competitive advantage in this area. He hoped to further expand the possibilities of Industry 4.0 in conjunction with EU, China and Asian emerging markets.
最后，Michail说，Nothing is Impossible。
It was going to the end of the interview. Michail said his belief in ‘Nothing is Impossible’ could also inspire wider Alumni. In spite of all the hardship in the past, he never gave up his pursuit to study. He also believed that the study with AMBS would give him not only knowledge but also more resources, deeper involvement within global business environment, entrepreneurship skills and a wider alumni network. He had a dream to start up his own business in order to blend the 100% of his knowledge and realize his value, under the objective that his company can make people’s life easier, efficiently manage resources in a harmonious way and protect the environment with side business activities.