2022 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Andrzej Antoszkiewicz, University of Oxford (Saïd)

Andrzej Antoszkiewicz

Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Age: 43

“A global citizen and multidisciplinary leader who brings change where it’s needed the most.”

Hometown: Ottawa, Canada & Warsaw, Poland

Family Members: Agnieszka (wife) and Ada (daughter) – the AAA team!

Fun fact about yourself: I was the first ever intern at the Canadian Space Agency. I did it by pestering the Canadian Industry Minister and eventually he caved in. It was a success and the Canadian Space Agency made it a real program open to high-school students inspiring hundreds of young boys and girls to pursue careers in space. Bonus fact: I also own 2 Obama NATO Summit Chairs. They were gifts from the Host Countries for the Summits which I led the organization of.

Undergraduate School and Degree: BSc and MSc in Engineering – both from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. Queen’s was an incredible institution which taught me to become a lifelong learner. I also had the privilege of serving as the President of its Graduate Student Society.

Where are you currently working? I’m at FIFA – the world’s football governing body – serving as globally as its Head of Planning, Innovation & Business Solutions. 

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Vice-President of the Quo-Vadis Youth Leadership Conferences, Class Rep in my EMBA Program, Mentor to aspiring female Diplomats.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Academically: Obtaining the top mark in my class on my first paper while thinking I did terribly (I was new to the marking scales at Oxford). Extracurricular: Founding the 5AM Club – and I’ve already said too much.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? There are two:

Leading the planning & delivery of 2 NATO Summits (2014 in Wales and 2016 in Warsaw) was an incredible personal achievement thanks to the hard work of tens of thousands of people who worked in concert to create truly unique moments in history. The experience taught me how crucial leadership is when you try to deliver extremely complex and global projects. I’m also grateful to my friend and leader, Ambassador Csilla Würtz, for believing in me and empowering me to succeed.

Leading the digital transformation at FIFA ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar allowed me to fundamentally change how the organization delivers its iconic tournaments and events. Throughout the process I helped define strategy, organizational transformation, and technology priorities, helping the organization become more efficient while fundamentally improving how we operate and provide services. I couldn’t have done it without the support, empowerment, and encouragement of my Chief Officer.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Two stand out:

Chris McKenna, who is my College Supervisor at Brasenose – took me under his wing and gave me an incredible introduction to the broader learning environment at Oxford. Professor McKenna has become a good friend and I can’t imagine an Oxford module without us meeting to discuss history, business theory, or life.

Thomas Powell on Strategy because he taught us that the best fort is one you don’t actually need to build.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? My mentor, the Honourable Peter Milliken, was an Oxford Alumnus. He instilled in me the value of the broader learning environment that only a university like Oxford can offer. I remember us discussing his formative years at Oxford over many a bottle of wine and the smile on his face when he would recall the classes, debates, and friends that he made along the way. He’s a wise man and his advice was spot on.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? I learned that your experience, much like the courses in an EMBA programme, is a toolkit – the more varied your tools, the more challenges you can solve. At work, it taught me to specifically hire new staff for my teams with experience in some of the fields we directly learned about in our EMBA courses. The team became more thematically diverse, and these individuals were invaluable during our final tests ahead of the FIFA World Cup.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? In late 2021, I was in Qatar for almost two months working on a test event ahead of the FIFA World Cup. At the same time, I needed to work on two EMBA modules and two assignments, all while also supporting my 7-month pregnant wife back in Zurich. What made it work was the support of my wife and the professionalism of my staff. We didn’t drop a single ball, delivered on our test event programme, and on 2/2/22 my daughter Ada was born!

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? The balance of work-life-study is key on and off campus. Make sure you plan your time well, but don’t be too rigid while on campus. Some of the most amazing learning opportunities are outside the classroom.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? That your job experience is sufficient knowledge to write EMBA academic papers – it isn’t. Get ready to learn some fundamental business knowledge.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Not doing it earlier so I could have already applied the learnings. Business school savagely serves up obvious answers to all of the professional challenges and errors you’ve made over the past decade.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? It’s a tough question since I admire everyone. Topher Morrison stands out for his positivity, curiosity, and service-mindset. Victoria Bright is incredible for her experience, knowledge, and art of debate. Tony Zamarripa brings fascinating insights and I also admire his ability to balance work and family life.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I wanted to experience Oxford as a regular student would. The modular structure allows me to do this while also continuing to work doing what I love. What makes Oxford so special is the ability to spend time on campus and realize that you are part of nearly 1000 years of history.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I’d like to end up as a Chief Transformation/Strategy/Operations Officer – which should, in fact be the same job if you get the right person – in a leading technology, consultancy or public-sector organization.

This may sound broad, but I believe that most companies today miss the value of being multidisciplinary while selecting their leaders. Relying on past related industry experience is overrated and stifles innovation in your leadership cadre. Academic research is now starting to confirm this as well. Companies should, instead, look for competencies and breadth of experience when making hiring decisions. By doing so they will benefit from the unique experience and innovations that these leaders will bring, and their competitors lack.

What made Andrzej Antoszkiewicz such an invaluable addition to the class of 2022?

“Andrzej is a true leader of people. He is able to share his strategic vision with literally thousands of people and take them with him in order to succeed on major global projects. He is a real asset to the EMBA class, sharing his strengths and expertise in leadership and people development at all levels in global, complex organizations. As EMBA class representative, he is a popular and respected participant in his cohort and brings forward ideas and suggestions with clarity. His seniority and unique professional experience working for NATO and now FIFA bring an interesting viewpoint and diversity to the EMBA classroom, sparking interesting debate.”

Kathy Harvey
Associate Dean, MBA and Executive Degrees
Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

DON’T MISS: THE BEST & BRIGHTEST EXECUTIVE MBAS OF 2022

 

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