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In The Driving Seat for Success: Leadership skills in the automotive industry

In The Driving Seat for Success: Ewa Grzesiuk is applying her leadership skills in the automotive industry

From initial design to mass production, every new vehicle that emerges from Jaguar Land Rover must exceed customer expectations. And Ewa Grzesiuk is responsible for ensuring the entire process is delivered without a hitch.

“A car is a complex product and everything has to work together seamlessly,” says the senior planner who graduated from WMG with an MSc in Management for Business Excellence.

“You also need a wow effect to delight customers and stay ahead of competitors by being first with technology.”

Her high-stakes role requires meeting deadlines set several years in advance, liaising with staff from production floor to director level, and focusing both on detail and on the bigger picture. Despite not having a background in the automotive industry, Ewa has risen to the challenge. This is thanks to the management skills she acquired at WMG, and her business experience as a consultant with KPMG Poland.

As Ewa points out, success in the automotive sector relies on time, quality and cost. Ewa’s challenge is to enable the complex system of engineering work-streams, supplier interaction, prototypes builds and testing to be delivered on time. Ewa ensures each piece of the puzzle is compatible, complete and synchronised to be at the right place at the right time. Any minor deviation will impact the smoothness of delivery, quality of event and ultimately cost. It is Ewa’s mission to guarantee the whole project runs like clockwork.

What Ewa gained from the Management for Business Excellence course was comprehensive knowledge of problem-solving. Each module ended with a task-based assignment which taught her to do research first, then break down a challenge from first principles into more manageable stages. It’s a technique Ewa now applies at Jaguar Land Rover.

Inspiring confidence in the different project teams at Jaguar Land Rover to achieve a common goal is a key part of Ewa’s role. “Keeping the team aligned to the plan and committed to delivering is the ultimate challenge”. The leadership focus of the MSc enabled her to develop her ability to show others the way. She says: “One course task was using pirate maps and other information to find treasure. It tested how we worked under pressure and as a team. Overall, the approach was very practical and interactive at WMG– it wasn’t just a case of being talked at in lectures.”

What really satisfies Ewa is seeing the tangible results of the project. This was lacking in her previous role in consulting, before WMG enabled her to change her path. “Seeing the vehicles rolling off the production line or being driven always brings a smile to my face.”

“I may not be an engineer,” she states. “But I’ve gained a good understanding of how car design and production works. It’s so fulfilling to be learning and developing every day.”

With a WMG degree in Management for Business Excellence under her belt, Ewa has found a career with the perfect wow factor.