Superprof or Universal Soldiers?

What kind of c-level executives businesses need

11 February 2020

What kind of c-level executives businesses need?

It was the topic of discussion at the presentation “Nowadays Business Education” organized jointly by the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine and MIM-Kyiv.

During the discussion, some participants insisted on having industry-relevant expertise while the others defended their preference of generalist managers from the variety of industries.

Oleksiy Vynogradov, MIM-Kyiv VP shared his experience.

I used to be a marketing director for MIM-Kyiv. When I was promoted and needed to find my replacement I was pondering about who we needed.  On one hand, we might have looked for a business education pro who had known the industry in and out but without managerial experience. On the other hand, we could have considered a person with extensive managerial experience, but the industry’s outsider.

I have been pro-managerial.

Moreover, I believe that appointing an industry pro a marketing director is not always a good idea. 

Usually, such a person is pretty much biased by previous experience. “We did this, we did that, the outcomes were this and that, etc.” In other words, any good idea could be killed because earlier something similar did not work. On the other hand, such a person has a set of recipes that used to work and that is why those recipes are still in use. 

However, the business environment, content, users, etc. are changing. Our teams are changing as well. So, the instruments which worked well do not do so now and vice versa.”

Apple is a good example. When Steve Jobs had faced the need to mass market Apple Macintosh, he invited John Sculley, the CEO of Pepsico. Two worlds apart. But at that time, computers were perceived as something high-brow and far away from “normal” people. John Sculley applied all his FMCG experience in the computers’ market and the rest is history. Apple’s success under him is good proof of my mangers’ bias.

If a person understands how to run things, it does not matter what he/she runs.

To put it differently, the managerial experience is more important than industry-specific. 

Business-education is one of the fast-tracks to such experience. It takes approximately a year or two to master managerial skills and get a comprehensive vision of a business. When such skills and approaches are developed they could be applied across industries.

 Oleksiy Vynogradov will talk about marketing and cash flows’ interdependencies at the first of 10 AmCham Business School “Marketing Hub” held jointly by MIM-Kyiv and AmCham.