Maersk man on “what the Blue MBA means to me”

Academia, Maritime Education and Training, News, People and Places — By on September 15, 2017 at 11:35 AM

Brian Noe Kristensen.

Maersk man on “what the Blue MBA means to me”

By James Brewer

For the past two years, Brian Noe Kristensen has been handling an extra professional challenge alongside his job in the top echelons of the AP Moller-Maersk transport and logistics group.

His reward for his dedication to furthering his own skills in, and insights into, the fast-changing maritime sector has come in the form of graduation in the Executive MBA in Shipping & Logistics, which is known as the Blue MBA. The part-time course demanded intense study and meant global commuting from his current base in Mumbai to lectures and high-level analysis sessions at Copenhagen Business School on maritime questions of the day.

Mr Kristensen was one of the Class of 2017 who were congratulated by leading industry figures and academics at a prestigious graduation ceremony in August.

Partial view, Blue MBA graduation ceremony.

Having previously been head of Far East liner operations for the Maersk group, he has for more than 18 months been global operations process head with Maersk Global Service Centres, Mumbai. That is the name for the shared service centres of the Group. The GSCs have six sites: Manila in the Philippines; Chengdu in China; and in India Pune, Chennai and two in Mumbai. The organisation has a total of 10,000 employees in those locations. The sites in the Philippines, India and China handle the service delivery and business relationship management for AP Moller-Maersk business units.

One might think that a highly-experienced and respected executive like Mr Kristensen would possess all the acumen needed for his trade, but he has been appreciative of the holistic approach to senior management practice that is encouraged by the MBA programme. He has also enjoyed the contacts and comradeship of his fellow ‘students.’

“For me the most interesting part has been getting to know 40-plus other people that have been truly amazing,” said Mr Kristensen. “A lot of the inspiration has come from talking with this diverse group of people that saw the world from their own perspective.  I am used to taking training internally, but this was truly something different. The curriculum has been very useful, and it was good to go over some things I knew about.”

With most of the eight course-modules taken in Copenhagen (one is in Hamburg and one in London), that meant ‘commuting’ from to Europe Mumbai, but Mr Kristensen managed this by seeking to combine modules in Denmark with business meetings there.

At the same time as his ‘day job’ in the Indian commercial city and studying for the MBA, he had to balance his family life. Some aspects of the latter had to be put on hold temporarily: “I deselected Sundays… but stayed with my kids on Saturdays.”

Now the pressure has eased somewhat, enough to return to one of his hobbies. “I have just played golf for the first time in 22 months. I was very rusty, but I could remember some things,” he said.

Aspects of Mumbai – especially the hectic traffic – are unforgiving, but he says that being based in the metropolis to administer his business responsibilities makes for “a very interesting life.”

Irene Rosberg, programme director for the Blue MBA, said: “We were delighted to welcome Brian to our talented Class of 2017.  He is a shining example of the high calibre of people who sign up for the course.”

The Blue MBA entails eight one-week modules exploring leadership and strategy issues in key fields for shipping and logistics, including supply chain management, international economics and market analysis, ship design, the maritime legal framework, operations management, information technology, investment analysis, risk management, finance, accounting and marketing. The course culminates in each participant preparing an International Strategy Project, which is a written thesis and oral presentation of a practical problem relating to and benefiting his or her organisation.

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