Interview with George Igoumenakis D ’00

Born and raised in Athens, George Igoumenakis graduated from Deree in 2000, receiving his bachelor in just 3 years. During his studies, George also worked part-time and was an active member of the Accounting and Finance Society.

The ‘00 graduate holds an MBA from Chapman Graduate School of Business in Florida International University in Miami, from which he graduated in the top quadrant of his class.  After 5 years in a client-facing role in Advisory, working on a variety of Greek and international projects, he now holds a leading position with the ΕΜΕΙΑ Advisory Learning function at EY (Ernst & Young) as Assistant Director for Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA). George has also worked in various consulting roles in the US, Europe and in Greece, including positions in DHL, Deutsche Post World Net, and ICAP. In between his extensive international travels, he is trying to make time for his 2-year old son while enjoying the Greek climate through tennis, sailing, windsurfing, long distance running and mountain biking activities.

Q.: What motivates you in your work, and which is the biggest challenge you have to overcome in relation to your work?

Shaping people’s minds is always exciting; especially in a Big4, corporate environment. Being a member of a virtual team across many different geographies, one of the major challenges at work is the extremely international environment which I operate under, either while facilitating courses all over the world or during my everyday schedule. Different working styles as well as a variety of cultures and personalities make my role very exciting, while at the same time quite challenging.

Q.: Can you tell us about your work at EY?

Working for one of the most respected employers in Greece and abroad is something I value quite a lot. In a services company such as EY, we focus our efforts on developing our people, our most valuable asset, whose skillset and expertise we continuously cultivate in many different ways. That is one of the reasons EY has been given a variety of awards for being one of the top choices for graduates.

Q.: What would you advise young people who are considering whether they should stay in Greece or seek a better future abroad?

In these turbulent times for Greece, it might seem like a great choice but it really depends on the priorities each one has set for his/her personal and professional life. It goes without saying that working abroad is one of the best things a young professional can do. However, whether they will choose to stay abroad or come back to Greece is a very tough question which should not be answered without serious thought.

Q.: What are some of the skills or values that you acquired at Deree that have proven particularly useful?

Setting clear targets and objectives was a skill that only an academic environment like the one at Deree could teach me. In contrast to the majority of Greek universities of public character, Deree is capable of teaching all of its graduates the value of respect, commitment, organization and resourcefulness; all extremely useful for one’s professional’s career.

Q.: How did your time at Deree influence your career path?

Without Deree, I would have never been exposed to the US model of education, and I would not have had the chance to experience its many benefits that led me to pursue a second degree abroad. Even though an educational degree is only at best a “foot in the door” in the current corporate environment, Deree’s curriculum focuses on extremely important attributes for a professional’s success (e.g. Public Speaking), which Greek public universities do not focus on. And that made all the difference.

Q.: Are you in touch with friends and old classmates? Has the alumni network helped you in your career?

Absolutely! I keep very close contact with several of my Deree classmates, and we have built a large network of Deree graduates, eager to help and support each other. From support in the preparations of graduate school applications, and hearing about past experiences of fellow alumni in universities abroad, to receiving advice and hints about potential employment opportunities. The Deree alumni are a very strong network – but one needs to maintain it, and not only remember it in times of need.