Ákos Kassai

Ákos Kassai

One should always have inspiring dreams, but the flexibility of these dreams is to a large extent part of a happy and balanced life.

What is your future plan? Or are you happy as the final goal with the longest workplace?

At around forty one should not say this is a final goal: it would be either too conceited or too pessimistic. In my present activity, in my company I see development potential, and cooperation with Pécsiközgáz plays an important role in it. If this joint work is successful, this will contribute to the further enlargement of this longest workplace. 

One should always have inspiring dreams, but the flexibility of these dreams is to a large extent part of a happy and balanced life.

What do you think is your biggest value? Where do you see the key to your successes?

I believe that my success has several components. On the one hand, in several respects I still live from what I learnt at my first workplace as consultant. I learnt at that place how to do multiple tasks at the same time, in different sectors and in several functions. It was a very good school, I still communicate and try to solve tasks on this basis. My second strength is that I managed to build trust in people. I have built a stable relationship system on which I can rely. This is how my business started too, people started to call me to help them in their different problems. Trust is also important in workplace, but when you choose a partner, it is the number one aspect. It is important that people see: we have added value for the development of the partner company, on the other hand they also have to see that we keep what we promise. Approaching from the other side there is a sort of trust by the industry, which means that they trust in what we represent professionally, on the other hand, there is a personal trust that in cooperation we will keep the common interests as long-term partner.

What role did luck play in your career?

Luck is always necessary, but I have several instructive stories about it. At Harvard, an executive who had been given a high position at young age said the following about luck: luck is when preparation meets opportunities. Preparation is important and it is up to us, only: who are the ones that prepare, learn, and create a network of relations that is useful later and so on. Anybody can achieve this – even those who are less talented.

You were in the upper management in some really big companies, now you manage your own enterprise. What was the road to your own business?

The first 10-12 years of my career was about climbing up the levels of hierarchy. The culture of multinational corporations is still decisive in how I work: what is my approach to the solution of different problems, what relationship system I have. It was good to start at a consulting company because I saw very many kinds of problems, and from the solution of these I learnt a lot. What was difficult about it is that I had to negotiate at a very young age with people in serious positions, and I had to prove that the significant amount of money paid for me was worth it. We were, however, “only” consultants, and I wanted to participate in real decision-making and implementation, so I went to work for an investment company where I had this sort of work as well. It was very interesting, with tough challenges. On the other hand, I also learnt about myself that I did not enjoy operation in such large organisations so much. Organisational policy takes a lot of coordination that was necessary so that people could work successfully in organisations – I am not good at this, and I do not even want to be good. Fortunately I have those opportunities and those skills that allow me to manage a company of my own also outside the frameworks of such companies. It has just recently occurred to me, anyway, that this is the longest workplace I have ever had. I have been running my company for five years, the maximum until now was 2.5-3 years in one position, but now I am very happy that I have been able to successfully run my own business for so long.

In between two foreign trips the two of us we have met several times recently at the Faculty. Do you often return to Pécs, to Pécsiközgáz? How does it feel to return?

I have worked at several places in the world, both in geographical sense and as regards companies. At the best ones in Europe, America and now In Asia – and the foundation I had been given at Pécsiközgáz were not only enough but excellent to launch my career. I have bad news for those who graduate at Pécsiközgáz now: if they do not reach what they want, it is only them to blame, because everything one has to learn between the age of 18 and 26 can be leant at very high level at Pécsiközgáz.