Unser EMBA-Absolvent Rolf Zengaffinen im Interview

Rolf Zengaffinen, Head of Network Security Operations, Credit Suisse

What was your personal motivation to attend the EMBA?
I am passionate about learning new things  and ever since I had finished my studies, I continued acquiring new skills by attending a variety of courses. While working as an engineer with large international customers, I was faced with diverse responsibilities and acquired a good level of leadership experience. Later, as CEO of a start-up, I had the opportunity to learn both on the job and from the Board of Directors. I was, however, still eager to broaden my skills in the area of General Management.

That’s why I have decided to apply for the EMBA at University of Zurich. I had looked at other institutions in and outside of Switzerland, but the reputation and location were the best fit for me both privately and professionally.

How did the EMBA advanced your career?
The competences that I have gained not only helped me in my daily business, but it gave me confidence to apply for the job I am currently working at, a leadership position in network security at Credit Suisse. The EMBA network of peers from different backgrounds and industries such as physicians, entrepreneurs, bank employees, scientists, consultants, gave me a broad view of the corporate world. I was curious to learn more of the dynamics as I have previously always worked for small companies. This network of classmates continues to be a great benefit of the EMBA. We stay in touch and get together on a regular basis, for social purposes and to exchange ideas or to provide feedback to one another.

What competences from the EMBA could you apply to your current job?
There are lots of things I learned during the studies which were very relevant in my former position, and I can also apply them in my current job. Leadership, HR related topics, understanding large organizations, ethics, a general understanding of banking, knowing what executive boards and BoDs of large companies do, etc. The negotiation module at the YALE University was phenomenal and is always going to be useful for me personally and professionally.

How could you balance family, job and EMBA?
That was not easy. My children were 1.5 and 4 years old at the time. It was both a family and a company decision that I attend the EMBA. The studies required a lot of understanding from my wife and two kids as well as from my employees. Everybody helped me to juggle things and it worked out very well. I was learning mostly while the kids were already sleeping and sometimes on the weekend in the morning. It was an advantage for me that University of Zurich is located right in the city where I live and work. The module structure was convenient to balance work, family and studies.

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