In the modern, dynamic world, we often have to change our career path at a specific moment – sometimes the change can be quite radical. Perhaps the profession chosen years prior no longer matches one’s interests and needs, or one simply wants to try their hand at a different field and tackle new challenges.
Such is the adventure of our respondent, Tiko Magradze, who first set out on her diverse career path in the medical field and is now pursuing business management.
Tiko has accumulated around 15 years of managerial experience as a result of cooperation with large companies operating both on the local and international market: Tiko’s roles, the scope of projects and tasks varied each time.
After her continuous professional growth, Tiko returned to her studies: she is now pursuing MBA at the NYU Stern School of Business in the USA.
Forbes Woman talked to Tiko about her career path, experiences and challenges, as well as many other interesting topics.
Tiko, since we are conducting this interview remotely and due to geographical differences, we would first like to ask you about the New York experience: what makes it stand out?
Perhaps we all agree that time is a priceless thing. One needs to grasp, distribute and use it optimally with more care than any other resource.
Here, in New York, that is felt with an incomparable intensity: on the one hand, you have all the opportunities, access to information, the right contacts, you are in the perfect place, and on the other hand, time flies by, events change and shift in a blink of an eye, and with that, the priorities take on a different meaning – it is unimaginably difficult to achieve a predetermined goal in a specific period.
New York pushes you to learn to let go of unnecessary information, contacts and obligations and focus on the priorities. Here you work on developing the right habits, making optimal decisions, and, in case of slipping up, one learns to get back on track as soon as possible and to continue pursuing the goals.
The main reason for you being in the US today is related to business education. However, I would like to ask you about your previous experience: you have switched fields from medicine to business: what led you to this choice and what difficulties did you encounter along the way?
When I was first preparing to enter the university, other fields were never considered. I knew from age 5 that I wanted to become a doctor. However, after graduating from Tbilisi State Medical University, practising in clinics, passing the licensing exam and working in the field for a few months, I decided to pursue improving my knowledge in medical management.
This new field offered me a radically different perspective of development which was on a much bigger scale with more versatility and hence more interesting for me.
Things that have followed have largely determined the next steps in my career (and beyond): for 15 years, I worked in several local and international large companies on various projects in different directions, both in terms of startup and business development, project rehabilitation and company management, taking on the role of commercial, operational, executive, general director.
„A decision made at a particular time may have seemed right at the time, but time has altered priorities and needs“
At the same time, I never stopped working on further developing myself: The logical continuation of this process is my current studies undertaken at New York University’s Stern School of Business, Executive MBA program.
I share my knowledge and experiences as much as possible in the form of business consulting, training, mentoring people and business owners who deem that correct, timely and effective development is of utmost importance.
What advice would you give to people who find out that another career path becomes more appealing than their previous choice and how can they ease into the process of transitioning between careers?
I have developed some important guiding principles at different stages of my life when faced with obstacles, change of plans, or making a decision to start something new; I will try to share some of my thoughts:
First of all, I think one should never be angry with oneself for making a wrong choice – a decision made at a particular time may have seemed right at the time, but time has altered priorities and needs;
It is important to know why you want the change you seek: whether it is to improve one’s economic situation, to start one’s favorite activity, to acquire a trendy profession or to achieve a global goal of some sort;
„All doors are open when one knows what they want and are ready to work hard to achieve the set goals“
I think you first need to research the job market to get an idea of where you stand with your knowledge, experience and skills. Oftentimes, it is a sign of desperation to grab all the available education, training, and certifications instead of focusing on developing the skills needed to master a certain field;
Networking, advice and recommendations from professionals have the greatest power;
Moreover, I advise people in a similar situation to find a mentor – an ideal way to move in the right direction;
After that, one has to do everything in order to achieve the goals: age, geographical environment and economic opportunities are all unimportant: all doors are open when one knows what they want and are ready to work hard to achieve the set goals.
Tiko, you have a diverse work experience that combines different managerial positions – from today’s perspective, which was to you the most interesting experience?
I indeed had to work on a lot of various projects, in different companies and roles, and I think that each and every one of these experiences have shaped who I am today.
When working in a management position, the most important thing is the value you bring as a staff member to the company: the more diverse your experience is, the greater is the value. What you take away from the company is quite important as well: how you later manage to enrich your knowledge, the mistakes you learn from and how the previous experience will shape your future work standards.
It is impossible to develop by working for the same company (or even in the field) after 15 years of work. It only feeds to creating a comfort zone and provides one with more or less stable income: however, this is completely detrimental to the goals, ambitions, and desire for improvement. At a certain point, one tends to find themselves stagnating with virtually no way out.
„I think the biggest reward and indicator of success are the positive recommendations that a previous employer passes on to the next one“
I have been given extraordinary opportunities several times during my career – I have worked on successful, unsuccessful, startup and rehabilitation projects, in different countries performing different roles.
I would single out the “Gldani Mall” project that was carried out under extreme management conditions; also, the first entry of “Carrefour” into the region; several innovative startups; business consulting activities and large local trade networks In the direction of digital platforms, the work of which I contributed to at different stages in my career.
I think the biggest reward and indicator of success are the positive recommendations that a previous employer passes on to the next one.
Your resume mainly combines work in commerce, logistics and operations. How do you see your own role in these capacities – what is your professional identity in this direction?
Certainly, I worked in several directions taking on different roles; in the end, each of them serve business analysis, planning and development.
Fortunately, it turned out that each role during my career was a logical continuation of the previous one and a solid foundation for the future. This is certainly a part of the planned career development, although the regional market does not leave you with many choices, and I was really lucky that I was able to work fully in all these capacities and gather relevant experience.
I always tried to find time to share my experiences and be involved in various projects in the form of trainings, lectures, coaching. I pursue this activity to this day and in the future I plan to contribute to the business development in the similar way.
It is a proven method to have good experiences with all components of the supply chain, the global vision of the business, its positioning in the market and, in general, indicators of success, prior to providing consulting services.
Today, I position myself as a business analytics, strategic planning and development consultant, mentor, trainer.
To summarize briefly, my mission is to correctly analyse each idea, project, corporation and find the most optimal, profitable and effective way of its development.
Tiko, please tell us about the experiences you shared with particular projects in the early stages of development.
I was a manager and consultant of several innovative projects at different times including logistics platforms “Marbi”, “Cargon”, e-commerce “Vendoo”, medical professional platform “Medu”. Currently, I am a business consultant of one of the largest innovative platforms in Georgia; there are quite a few startup projects (including the ones by female entrepreneurs within the Starta program) where I give trainings and provide individual mentorship.
Nowadays, in the world of innovation, it is very difficult to invent something that does not already exist on the market. The main goal is to find and properly develop an element within a specific idea which will make the end product interesting, competitive and appealling to the customer on the market.
For me, startups represent a field that require a huge amount of emotion in addition to professionalism. It is a multi-step process of creating an idea, a project and a corporation from scratch and it is impossible to achieve without the right team, positive energy, many sleepless nights and great commitment to work.
Currently you are pursuing studies at New York University’s Stern School of Business – what different experiences and perspectives do you get at the university?
NYU STERN Business School is among the top universities in terms of business education. They have a strict selection mechanism and are mainly focused on selecting leaders and professionals with different experiences and fields who think out-of-the-box, so that they can integrate the acquired knowledge into practice and bring concrete value to both the university and other members of the cohort.
„I am studying at the very heart of innovation and business development, as I am in daily communication with managers, owners and representatives of the top positions of the largest companies.“
The teaching process is adjusted as much as possible to the schedule and informational needs of working professionals and fully reflects the development trends of the latest events in the business world.
Of utmost importance are the contacts, clubs and associations, which provide an opportunity for additional discussion with professionals in a specific field, access to the latest information and the opportunity to meet face to face, hear about the experiences of a various business fields or a government institution representatives.
What advice would you give to young people with global goals?
Until now, opportunities in terms of global activities have been a luxury available to the lucky few. Today everything is much more easily accessible and hard work has become the most important basis for success.
It is possible to study in any country of your choice with relevant funding, a scholarship, and a specific plan for further career development. Pre-planning can be done remotely.
Today is the perfect time and place to present and execute any goal globally. With an effective PR strategy of the right product, one can sell it in any country without additional costs, need for representatives or legal formalities.
There are a lot of investors on the market who are interested in a particular field or a startup and they are approachable online with much more ease than before.
There are competitions for startups, which is an interesting experience and a way to correctly and objectively evaluate your own project.
Additionally, trainings are always available in the specific field, which help the development of the project and the acquisition of specific knowledge.
There is a willingness, a need, and a market – researching it and finding niche projects make the integration easier than ever before.
„I think what one must consider is that global goals require global thinking; success is the result of tremendous work, and victory must be shared with everyone participating in achieving the goals.“
What plans do you have for the new decade? Are you planning on returning to Georgia?
I have a lot of plans, but the priority as of right now is receiving quality education.
The learning process is quite time-consuming and difficult as I have to process a lot of new information, the evaluation system is strict, and the schedule is predetermined. In September, we will embark on a study trip to Berlin, where quite interesting working meetings will take place.
After returning to New York at the end of the year, I have several interviews scheduled with major international consulting companies.
At the same time, I work remotely in Georgia and continue to provide consulting services for several projects.
Most of my family and friends live in Georgia and they are not planning on moving here. Moreover, I work together with my partners on a rather interesting innovative medical project, for the development of which I will have to pay visits to Georgia quite frequently.
That is why Georgia will always have an important place in my upcoming plans.