“I want to be a genuine leader”

Roxana Hidan, director of the division of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) of the OTP Bank Romania, knows what it is to be respected, admired and probably feared as an executive –as much by men as by women. She thinks that “when you really want something, you’ll find the necessary resources for success.” That search led her, in 2012, to pursue an Executive MBA at IE Business School. Since then she has become the most powerful woman in Romanian banking.

Why did you opt for the Executive MBA at IE Business School?

The experience and knowledge I’d acquired after eleven years in banking taught me to see things from different angles, but I knew that wasn’t enough. I needed to develop as a global leader with a global awareness, capable of distinguishing what’s important in business and in life. That’s why I decided on the Executive MBA at IE Business School.

What’s a typical day like in the SME division of OTP?

I work between ten and twelve hours a day and dedicate all my effort to increasing business and sales in the most efficient way possible through our distribution channels. At the same time, I get my team to identify innovative solutions to meet those goals. My agenda changes every day, but I have two unbreakable rules: I always answer calls and I hold at least one interview every two days with an outside client.

Share with us some tricks of your experience as a top executive in a sector that’s traditionally run by men.

I’m fortunate in that I’ve always worked with professionals who judged their colleagues only by their results and not by their sex or any physical aspect. My fifteen years in banking have shown me that commitment, self-sacrifice, strength of character, high moral values, attention to detail and perseverance can guarantee the success of women in business.

Who or what inspires you to keep following your dreams every day?

My personal goal is to learn, grow, and be better every day in every sense. My professional dreams are to be a genuine leader, in other words someone who projects confidence, attitude, capacity for taking decisions, a determined character… and who inspires others.

Let’s talk about your country. Do you think 2016 will be a good year for the Romanian economy? Why do you think the country has recovered faster than other European partners?

Romania has been growing since 2011, although the rhythm slowed starting in 2014. This year predictions for growth are favorable –in fact, higher than those in most of the European countries– thanks above all to internal demand. The regulators had an easier job when it came to neutralizing the crisis because it was not very exposed to toxic assets. We had some financial and capital markets that were not fully developed.

Interview by Gonzalo Toca