Finished study at EFRI and the year of completion: Foreign Exchange, 2004.
Current work position: CFO at Own.Solutions Group
"Don't run away from challenges, accept them and put them in the function of your growth and development."
1You are building your career in the field of finance. Why finances, what attracted you to that?
Why finance? I have to say I didn’t really dream about working in finance during my studies. I actually thought I would never work in finance 😉 However, as it happened, I just found myself in finance and decided to develop professionally in that direction. I would say that my attitude during my studies was distorted by the incorrect perception that working in finance is repetitive and boring, however just the opposite. This is very dynamic and challenging especially nowadays if one considers that it is currently one of the most progressive industries. The financial sector is constantly improving and growing, thus offering new challenges and new directions for professional growth and development. It requires a high degree of problem-solving skills and analytical skills that are a real stimulus for me personally. Finance is interdisciplinary related to many branches, which allows you to upgrade professionally, not only through finance, but also through all those branches that are related to it, such as law, sales, procurement, logistics, communication, marketing, HR, etc.
I was lucky enough to work in companies that allowed me that diversity as well as challenges in business on a daily basis which kept me doing this for so long.
2How did your professional path go, from graduation until today?
Upon completion of my studies, my professional path begins at Phoenix trade. It is interesting to mention that I first encountered Phoenix trade at a 4th year course lecture, Business Environment of the Company, where the business owner was a guest lecturer. The topic of the lecture was the development of the company from its establishment to its growth into one of the largest exclusive distributors in Croatia for drugstore goods. It was very interesting to hear how the creation and construction of such a company went. After graduating, when I saw this company was hiring, I applied for the job without any doubts and finally got the job of Assistant Manager, and after a year and a half I was promoted to Business Process Manager and remained in that position for 6 years. This job enabled me to work with international companies, get an insight into their way of doing business, improve foreign languages, as well as develop a number of other skills. This job brought with it a great responsibility, given that I conducted all negotiations with key customers in the Croatian market and was in charge of the smooth process of procurement, sales and logistics.
At one point, and this is happens to all of us, I had a need to change job and environment and seek new challenges that led me to TTO Thermotechnik and the position of Head of Accounting and Finance. A significant experience in the career of every financier, including mine, is working in the finances of a manufacturing company, given that the complexity and interdisciplinarity encountered in such an environment really raises knowledge and skills to a higher level. This job required an understanding of the entire business process in order to make timely and adequate decisions and suggestions to the owners to improve the business. After two and a half years, I was promoted to CFO, and during this period I significantly improved my decision-making and people management skills. I also worked on EU projects that opened a whole new segment, both in thinking and in the experience of preparation, project implementation and monitoring.
I am currently employed as the Chief Financial Officer of FinTech Group Own.Solutions which consists of 5 companies in 4 countries (Croatia, Ireland, Switzerland and the Netherlands). With the new company new challenges came, as well as new knowledge, but also a better salary 😉. The Group operates in two segments: eServices and eMoney business. Recently, among other things, I worked on the project of obtaining a license to operate the Electronic Money Issuing Institution at De Nederlandsche Bank for the EU market and at the FINMA supervisory body for the Swiss market. The environment and the whole team is extremely stimulating and brings challenges and satisfaction on a daily basis. Working in the service sector has opened up new areas for my professional development
3What makes you happy and motivates you in your job? Which part would you point out as your favorite?
I am looking forward to new challenges and new knowledge, working in an international environment with people who are experts in their fields, a dynamic environment and an excellent working atmosphere.
I am most motivated by a job well done, considering that I am a person who is oriented towards achieving goals. The satisfaction that comes after a successful project is the biggest 'hype' for me, as Generation Z would say today. When you spend some time on a project and when you watch from the front row when that same project comes to life, you feel like a small child with a long-awaited favorite toy.
4How do you think studying at EFRI has influenced your career and approach to work?
Since I have been working in my profession since day one, it says a lot about how much influence EFRI has had on my professional path, as well as the fact that I met my first employer at EFRI.
My Faculty enabled me to learn about economic concepts and gave me a broad theoretical knowledge that I later applied and upgraded through my work in the private sector. Since I worked as a demonstrator in three courses during my studies and was the deputy representative of the fourth year of the EFRI Student Union and participated in several projects, I got a good sense of responsibility for the assigned tasks and organization of my own time. And that is what EFRI made possible.
5As our former student, you participated as a guest lecturer at events organized by EFRI. How do you see the ALUMNI EFRI community you are in and in which direction do you think it should develop?
First of all, it was an honor and pleasure for me to participate as a guest lecturer in the Career Week at EFRI and to convey to the students a part of what awaits them after graduation.
Given that today, in addition to higher education, and knowledge of at least one foreign language, networking is a great comparative advantage, I believe that we should work on better networking of current and future ALUMNI, which will open new opportunities for individuals and the whole community. We should also work even harder on organizing guest lectures by experts from ALUMNI, workshops and enabling students to participate in real projects in cooperation with companies where former EFRI students work. It is necessary to organize quality internships for senior students, counseling, mentoring, etc. So there is work for everyone.
6What is your advice to other alumni, present and future ones?
I would tell them that learning does not stop on the day of graduation, but marks only the beginning of lifelong learning and investing in yourself and your professional growth and development. Embrace your mistakes because they are an integral part of the learning process, and only by understanding them you will progress. Do not run away from challenges, accept them and put them in the function of your growth and development. Keep in mind that knowledge is one of the most important resources today, and once acquired it stays with you forever.