With a background in automotive engineering, Yiannis Pastellas undertook the Blue MBA, became confident of his skillset, made lasting relationships – and found a new role when he needed it most.

“I’ve only been in the shipping industry for the last 12-13 years; my career before that was in automotive engineering. I’ve always been a fan of technology and I entered the maritime industry because I began working on retrofits on the bridges of ships, followed by ballast water treatment projects and then engine room equipment.

“When I began working in shipping, the puzzle of what to do with my career came together for me; I know my skillset and I know what I don’t like doing and the Blue MBA only solidified that realisation.

“I found myself working with a maritime company called Safebridge and it was around then that I started looking into the Blue MBA. I had some very good friends in Germany and Denmark that I knew through business, and they had both finished the programme and encouraged me to take it on. I started looking into different MBAs across the world.

“I could have studied a more general MBA elsewhere, but it made sense to go to CBS not just for the shipping but for the networking. My employer understood that the course would benefit their business also, and the journey started.

“And then the pandemic hit, and I found myself without a job.”

Networking melting-pot

“I soon realised, however, that I had made so many valuable connections at CBS that I had to take advantage of them. Your network is your net worth and so I made some calls and got offered some better opportunities; the most promising one was from OTG and I’ve been with them since August 2020.

“Today, I know I have the backing of not just my fellow alumni, but my tutors. Irene [Rosberg, Programme Director] does an excellent job, if we need anything we can just give her a call. We remain in contact now and can chat to catch up, to discuss business matters, or to organise presentations for the new classes.

“In my role, networking is crucial for me. I’ve found that if you’ve got an established network then you’ll already have the door open within the companies that you’re trying to build relationships with.

“People in this industry move around all the time and, because of the network, when they move they call you. It’s part of offering a good product and service. It’s the same in any business. The difference in shipping is that it’s a more closed circle industry. That’s not to say that it is old fashioned, it’s just a little exclusive. And this makes it very territorial, with leads being divided based on location.”

Family bond

“Today, I very much still keep in touch with my student network; we have a WhatsApp group and we can ask questions and everyone will pitch in and reply. Plus, we are all travelling and so we catch up with each other wherever we can – I’ve already had three people from the class visiting Cyprus, either for business or pleasure. It’s good to share and to stay in contact and I know that anywhere in the world there will be relevant contacts. It’s a family bond. All this interaction brings a lot of opportunities.

“It’s not a university where you get lost. It’s designed so that you create bonds for life.

“I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity and the support to go to CBS. I recently met some colleagues in London for the first time in a while and they were excited that I had completed the Blue MBA. I had the same excitement before joining and I told them that if they’d like any information on how to enrol to just let me know…”

Becoming an ambassador

“In fact, I really feel that Copenhagen Business School offers something extraordinary and that’s why I wanted to become an ambassador. It’s niche, but there is no other executive MBA offering what CBS does in our industry.

“We had people on my course from Mexico to Australia and they were drawn from a range of professions including a lawyers, a warship stabiliser expert, marine superintendents, managing directors and shipowners. We all developed great relationships over the two years we worked together – which is something very special.”