Faculty Interview with Jaka Vadnjal, PhD

Blog > Faculty Interview with Jaka Vadnjal, PhD
Jaka Vadnjal, PhD
  • Could you introduce yourself and the subject that you are teaching in a couple of sentences?

I am 56, I have an engineering background and I later did my MBA and PhD in the field of business. For the last 27 years I have combined real business with teaching and consulting. My last post was as the CEO of a bank, before that I was the dean of a small private business college. Now I am working on my own as a freelance consultant and educator.  I am teaching Business Environment and Entrepreneurship at the bachelor level and supervising on the DBA level.

  • Which skills are crucial to develop to be able to tackle the complex issues of contemporary times and help in their resolution?

The most influencing news are remote work and studies. We spend a lot of time in front of our computer screens at our homes. The ability to adapt to these new situations may be a core skill nowadays. But one has to be able to look at not only the weaknesses and problems of this new working and studying paradigm, but also focus on its opportunities. The world has become even smaller although we cannot travel. International teams are mastering their abilities to cooperate. Let’s squeeze the most out of it.

  • How has the pandemic redefined the way we work and study?

We do it from home. We lack socialization, but on the other hand we have more time that we can effectively use. Probably, more self-discipline is needed in order to get yourself to do things that you do not like that much, but are needed to be done. On the other hand, not going to work on a regular basis makes everybody a master of his/her time and the use of it is mostly dependent on that single individual.

  • Would you say that continuous learning is the new normal for professionals, regardless of their vocation?

Definitely. I would say that this is now going down more intensively in the last decade or two. On one hand, trends of specializations can be observed. Following this path, you need to stay competitive and continuous learning is about regular sharpening your axe. On the other hand, in certain positions like teaching, consulting, but also leading organizations, you need to maintain your range of knowledge and understanding of how the world is turning around.

  • What is the best career advice that you were given?

The best advice was from my father who was running his own small business. He said something like: “You should always pick-up jobs and work that is exciting for you. The worst thing that can happen to you is that you are bored at what you do because we spend so many hours working that doing boring things is really losing your precious time.’’

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and time with us!