Nicole Schillinger (Class of 2008) worked as a Director in the Pan European Equities Sales team of Barclays Capital, having started her career in 1998 at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell as an equity analyst covering utilities and capital goods stocks. Based in Frankfurt and Munich, she advised German institutional investors on their equity holdings as well as on strategic asset and sector allocation. Her expertise lies in company valuation. Nicole was inspired by what she heard at TRIUM and this formed the foundation of her current role. Nicole is an expert in reputation and business ethics and holds seminars and keynote speeches on business ethics and corporate sustainability.
What first attracted you to TRIUM and what were you most looking forward to and hoping to achieve?
I had also been admitted to several of the established, already ranked EMBA programs and had to choose between newcomer TRIUM and the usual suspects where I would basically repeat my business administration studies. TRIUM’s high average experience and age, the spectacular unconventional CVs of TRIUM’s alumni and the (then) unique exotic locations like Shanghai or Mumbai just thrilled me. I did not hesitate and skipped the other school’s admissions so get well prepared for issues of the globalized world at TRIUM.
How has TRIUM influenced your perspective on business and life in general?
Since TRIUM, I will never ever struggle in Business to get along with any kind of nationality. The intense group work and projects with people from all over the globe taught me that my German precision is not the only possible approach to a task or problem. Understanding cultural differences and relax about certain habits is the key to establishing a good business relationship. Prof. Larry Zicklin’s ethics course as part of the NY module actually triggered my interest in what I am doing today.
If you could design a TRIUM module which city / country would you host it in and what would be the main topic focus?
I would host an Arctic module on a research vessel. Surrounded by the melting “eternal” ice a sustainability focus would suit best: Why ESG (environmental social governance) measures are rather a blessing than a curse for modern companies.
If you could book any guest speaker for an event, who would you choose and why?
Tough question. Depending on their respective availability I would love to meet Elon Musk to hear more about to his entrepreneurial inspiration, but also to learn about his motivation to revolt the fossil fuel industry. In case he cannot make it I would invite Donald Trump, being the latest result of voters’ anger against the establishment. I would love to have him interviewed with out-of-the-box-thinking questions by our liberal, visionary, and thoughtful TRIUM alumni cohort.
TRIUM is known for having a connected alumni community. In your opinion what makes the TRIUM community special?
All kinds of nationalities, races, ages, professions, characters. It couldn’t be more heterogeneous. This is what makes the TRIUM community particularly exciting.
What inspired you to step out of a career in banking onto this new path?
Shrinking margins and increased regulation make the industry a less fun place to work. But, I have to admit, having a little kid increased the wish to have more flexibility and also to do something which is more constructive and more meaningful.
You are an expert in reputation and business ethics and have your very own website dedicated to this. Tell us more about that?
The speed at which news spread around the globe has increased tremendously, forcing corporates to react on bad news within a steadily decreasing time window. Business ethics or the values a company lives up to are one of the most important drivers of corporate reputation. Warren Buffett once said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” To me, reputation management should be implemented across the whole value chain and not only within the communications department, as reputation can make up to more than half of a company’s value.
As an expert in reputation and business ethics what are your top 3 pieces of advice for TRIUMers?
- Hands off of toxic managers.
- It is all about managing and exceeding expectations.
- Never act against your values.