Despite his many years of experience in the shipping and logistics industry, International Freight Shipping’s Reynir Gislason embarked on the CBS Blue MBA at the age of 47 to further his education and take his business to the next level.
“The industry’s experiencing an astonishing transition at the moment. We are going through an unprecedented consolidation, especially in container shipping, and this is driven by ecommerce like Alibaba and Amazon. Largely this is a result of Covid, which drove an anomalous fluctuation of demand. It is very exciting but having to adapt as an industry is remarkable.
“The Blue MBA has enabled me to deal with this shifting landscape more pragmatically, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to see ahead or see what is coming so effectively. It’s like driving down the road at 200km per hour and being able to brake at the right time, it gives you this advanced understanding that is very valuable. Time is money in our business and being able to adjust to change is a matter of survival.”
“I met Irene Rosberg – the programme director – in Beijing after a transport and logistics show, and then I started thinking it would be nice to brush up on my knowledge in the industry. I thought the Blue MBA in Copenhagen could be interesting for me but then I thought to myself; Jesus Christ I haven’t been in school for 35 years or more!
“I decided to join the programme and at 47 I was the oldest in class by far but I was also the most experienced person. I had to consider; is this knowledge that I need; is it relevant to what I’m doing; what value will this add to me? But I really dove into it and I did well, it was an absolutely amazing experience.”
Reinvigorating a role
“I found out early on, maybe after the first assignment, that the programme would be unbelievably valuable to me as it would connect my knowledge of different aspects in logistics. It gave me a helicopter view and allowed me to understand the sector in a much more comprehensive way – a holistic way you might say. I developed an awareness of how the industry connects with one another and it added a lot of value to what I already know.
“As a result of the course I was able to develop my business and apply the skills that I had acquired. Especially on the marketing side. We were able to apply some of the strategies that I was learning in case studies. What I enjoyed most was the Harvard review cases; some are so applicable to life and what you’re doing and I picked up on that in my annual management and budget meetings and I always related what I was learning to the company – it was really beneficial.
“It gave me a very good idea on how to expand my business and an enhanced understanding of the values. To me it’s not so much about having worldwide offices, it’s about my relationship with my partners. I have more than 5,000 people that I know personally so in every city around the corner I have a friend with the same business model and the same services as mine and we can engage in transportation and logistics with each-other in a safe way. The Blue MBA really gives you the comfort either to make your business stronger or to expand it, you learn both ways whether its mergers and acquisitions or maritime finance…”
Representing the programme
“Being an ambassador gives me an opportunity to represent the programme. My business is based from Lima Peru and we are the fifth largest freight forwarding company in this part of the world. But South America is a very underrepresented market in the MBA so I sought to introduce people to the course. For example, when I meet with forwarders I can find good candidates and encourage them to join the Blue MBA. As ambassadors we are basically helping Irene to bring visibility to the programme.
“But I’m not done. The way I see it is that any challenge you see come your way you should always evaluate and if you find you have the strength, time and knowledge to take it on then do it – providing you have time – that’s all what it’s about.”