Date: 21.03.2024

During each semester, MBA students of VŠE work with companies on selected real business problems and then have the task of recommending a path and individual steps to their successful solution. This semester, the workshop was organized with CE Industries. 

The holding was represented by three representatives:

Anna Matoušková, member of the Board of Directors and Group Human Resources Director, as well as a graduate of the MBA program,

Jiří Rabiec, member of the Board of Directors and Group Chief Economic Officer,

Jan Zázvorka, CFO for FMCG.

The students were given two main problems to solve:

  • Financial and strategic management of the holding company and specific proposals for possible investments or divestments, including possible valuation of such operations.
  • Effectiveness of investments in development and training of holding company employees with a focus on top management development and succession planning in the company.

The role of corporate workshops in the MBA program is to enhance the ability to apply the knowledge and skills acquired to the situation of a specific company.
Thus, a detailed introduction of CE Industries as a company that is on the one hand very young and dynamically developing and fulfilling the vision of its founder Jaroslav Strnad, on the other hand, it groups a number of long-standing, traditional companies.
Equipped with this knowledge and detailed information, e.g. about the company's finances, the student teams set to work. Throughout the day, they were able to benefit not only from the presence and support of Anna and Jiří, but also from the coaching of Vojtěch Oplestiel, the programme director, and Richard Brunet-Thornton, the programme's academic advisor.

After the day's work, the student teams presented their recommendations, which were then evaluated by representatives of CE Industries.

Anna Matoušková: "The format of the corporate workshop at the VŠE had a real 'out of the box' benefit for us, allowing us to look at our strategic issues through the eyes of other, experienced managers and MBA students. Personally, I most enjoyed brainstorming on the topic of return on investment in employee development and training programs, and thank you for the suggestions on succession planning."

Jiří Rabiec: "From my point of view, it was a great opportunity to confront our internal considerations about the strategic direction of the holding company with people who had only publicly available information about our activities and who are at the same time diversified in their fields of expertise."

And what do the students themselves have to say about the workshop?

Gary Ward: "The workshop allowed us to draw on our diverse professional backgrounds as well as the knowledge and skills we had gained during our studies. As a result, we were able to help one of the Czech Republic's most prominent entrepreneurs and his new companies to solve their complex challenges."

Michal Janda: "The workshop gave me a pretty detailed insight into CE Industries' activities in the rail transport, raw materials recycling and energy sectors. The interaction with board members was particularly enlightening, offering real insight into the business challenges and opportunities in these sectors. The opportunity to develop meaningful staffing strategies along with learning about the different perspectives of my fellow students was very rewarding. It not only broadened my perspective but also highlighted the importance of knowledge sharing and teamwork in solving similar problems in addition to a rather limited time."

Bruno Losseau: "Participating in the workshop was the highlight of my MBA studies so far and was really intense. We had only a few hours to develop our presentation, we were under pressure and had to create a team structure and functioning such that every team member contributed to creating a valuable solution for CE Industries. This experience was rewarding and allowed us to apply the knowledge we gained in a real and very complex environment. This is a testament to the program's commitment to not only educate, but also to truly prepare us for the various challenges in the business world."

Václav Kňourek: "Participating in the corporate seminar was an experience that gave me a good insight into the strategic thinking of a successful company. Workshops like this one present a unique challenge; they are based on real data and situations and offer me beneficial lessons. Perhaps the biggest challenge for our student team was the need to adapt to changing conditions, despite a week of preparation prior to the workshop. Effective communication and flexible team leadership were essential to our success in solving the problems CE Industries set."