MBA Alumni Success Story

MBA Alumni Testimonial
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Meet with Brian Bystričan, MBA 2023.

He is the youngest person ever to attend the MBA program at IUM and has been an entrepreneur since he was 17. His professional expertise focuses on product development and manufacturing.

He operates a family-owned company that assists global companies and industry leaders overcome technological challenges associated with their products.

Additionally, he manages a company offering a full range of digital services, including AI and software development. Bringing these companies together positions him as a valuable partner for a wide range of businesses.

What have you done since you graduated from IUM?

At the beginning of my studies, I set a goal to bring our business to an international level. This goal was achieved shortly after I graduated when we began expanding into new markets. It is just the start of this journey.

However, it is incredibly motivating to see a small family company from Slovakia offering services to global companies and solving technological challenges they could not resolve elsewhere. 

This serves as momentum for companies to develop economies, showing that everything is possible and that even a tiny company from Eastern Europe can significantly impact worldwide.

However, there is an even greater personal accomplishment for me beyond what I initially aimed for. During our program, we had a very strong cohort of exceptional individuals and industry experts. Becoming close friends with these amazing people was not difficult, and there is no better feeling than working on something significant with friends or people you admire. For this reason, I am particularly proud to have started a collaboration with my classmate. One of the most important reasons people attend this program is to network, hoping to do business with those they meet. 

MBA Alumni Testimonial

We made this a reality and probably even exceeded the initial expectations. Even more gratifying is that I have started working on this project with someone who has become very close to me. I am talking about Ilie Pana, who needs no introduction because I firmly believe most people know him well for his incredible business successes. 

My passion and pride in this achievement come from Ilie, who is a huge inspiration to me, both in the business world and on a personal level. His accomplishments with his businesses can inspire and motivate many. He is someone I truly look up to and admire. It is a remarkable achievement for me to work with such an entrepreneur, person, and friend, helping him to make his products great. I am grateful to have worked with and called him my friend.

Why did you choose to study an MBA?

As my father told me when I was deciding whether it was worth attending this program, the world is a big place, and an entrepreneur should think worldwide. It is a common mistake for many entrepreneurs to close their minds and not see the bigger picture. I was doing quite well before starting my MBA program, but I knew there were so many things I did not know and countless opportunities I could not even imagine. 

Monaco attracts businessmen from around the world, so I thought this was where I could learn and begin to understand business on a different scale. Another fundamental reason for me to pursue an MBA was the networking opportunities, which is probably the number one reason why people tend to pursue this program.

What are the strong features of this program?

One of the university’s biggest advantages was the opportunities it offered within the principality. The people running the MBA program did an outstanding job in this regard. For example, we had the chance to become CREM members, which would have been difficult to achieve without the university’s support. This was a significant benefit for me. There were also many other events and networking gatherings where the university provided us access. Not only did the university do an incredible job with these initiatives, but they also introduced us to these people and organizations in a way that was an excellent icebreaker and often opened many doors. This was useful for me and helped me reach my goals for my journey in Monaco.

Another strong feature of the program was the diverse and well-selected cohort. You could really see that the director did a great job choosing the right people for our program. The cohort was geographically diverse, which offered many advantages, but more importantly, it was diverse in terms of background. I believe there was no single profession represented twice in the class. This created an interesting and useful environment, as you could learn from classmates. This is what makes an MBA different from other programs. You have a professor explaining concepts in front of you, but then you have industry experts sharing their experiences on the same topics, which I think makes education incredibly effective and enriching.

Last but not least, I greatly respected most of our professors. They taught me things I probably would not have considered important on my own. They always supported their teachings with case studies, which often sparked new ideas for me, and I applied many of these learnings in my businesses.

Why should an entrepreneur do an MBA?

Businessmen need to evolve constantly, both personally and professionally. This is especially true nowadays, as the world changes rapidly, and we must adapt to these changes, learning how to use modern technologies and tools; otherwise, we risk falling behind our competitors. I have always believed in my ability to learn independently, often faster than I might in a university setting. 

However, it is also true that I might not consider some topics important on my own, and I would probably focus on becoming better in my industry. The structure of educational programs can challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and explore topics and markets you would not usually consider.

Once I became open-minded to learning the subjects offered at IUM, I discovered many new pieces of information that provided direct or indirect opportunities and innovations for my businesses. A fundamental aspect of this program is the information you gain from your cohort. By presenting case studies from your company during class workshops, your classmates can help you see your business from different angles. 

In my case, this helped identify many improvements we could make. I don’t think entrepreneurs often get so many chances to be surrounded by industry experts in one room—people you can trust, who can share ideas and help you overcome challenges to strengthen your business. Looking back on my MBA journey, I see significant advantages to attending an MBA program as an entrepreneur, even though I was not entirely sure about it at the beginning.

Are entrepreneurs born or made?

That’s a great question. Many people argue that entrepreneurs are born, not made, because you must have strong people skills, charisma, and other key traits. Indeed, some people are naturally gifted with qualities that give them an advantage in entrepreneurship. However, I believe these natural traits aren’t enough to guarantee success as an entrepreneur; it takes lifelong effort and learning. Many people have a gained perception of entrepreneurship due to social media. They see it as easy money, filled with travel and luxury. However, that’s just a facade presented by some influencers on social media. 

The reality is that being a successful entrepreneur is highly challenging. You must handle immense stress daily and continuously improve your business to stay ahead of the competition. There are no real breaks for entrepreneurs. If you’re truly committed, you work through holidays and solve endless problems. It requires a lot of discipline and determination, qualities you develop over time, to face all the challenges and push through the tough days. From what I have experienced, what drives entrepreneurs is their “hunger“—everyone is motivated by something different. 

For some, it might impact the world; for others, it is about providing for their family and employees. The motivation doesn’t really matter as long as it exists. However, when you become satisfied and comfortable and lose that hunger, you start losing; sooner or later, the competition will surpass you. Moreover, in my view, this is something that you cannot be born with, but it is something you build up during your life. So, in conclusion, I firmly believe that no matter who you are or where you come from, you have to work on becoming an entrepreneur.

What did you enjoy the most in your IUM journey?

For this response, I will not dive into business matters because what I enjoyed the most, without a doubt, was friendship. You can be the wealthiest person in the world, but without family and friends by your side, the world would not be a good place for me.

During this journey, my friends and I have been surprised at how quickly we formed such strong bonds that will undoubtedly last for a long time. Friends can truly enhance any journey you embark upon. The fact that in Monaco, you meet like-minded individuals with whom you can discuss business and personal life takes this experience to a whole different level.

I am delighted that even after this journey has ended, we continue to embark on new adventures, travel the world together, and engage in business ventures. If I gained nothing but these incredible people I met only in Monaco, it would still be the best choice I have ever made.

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Updated 7 May 2024