Applauding Alumni: Ivgen Guner, MSA '84

Applauding Alumni: Ivgen Guner, MSA ‘84

Ivgen GunerIvgen graduated from Walsh College with a Master of Science in Accounting in 1984. Upon graduation, she accepted a position with Unisys Corporation. Later she was recruited by Oracle Corporation in California. Her current title is senior vice president, Global Business Finance.

Oracle’s financial operations have been on the forefront of change for more than a decade, starting when managers centralized the core Oracle E-Business Suite into a single, enterprise-wide resource and reduced data centers from 40 to 2 facilities. Beginning in 2005, these efforts have saved the equivalent of 10 percent of revenues each year as Oracle grew from a US$12 billion to a US$37 billion company.

Interview with Ivgen:

What is the best thing you learned from Walsh College? 

“For me, it was significant to learn about real- life experience in the business world.  At Walsh you get a balance between what is in the book and what happens in real life.  The Walsh experience prepares students for the real world and that is important.”

What is the best business advice you have ever received? 

“I have benefited from lots of advice.  In business, especially finance, you need to be analytical.  It is equally important to be pragmatic at the same time.  You need to be quick, fast, and pragmatic.  Another way to say it is to focus on the forest and not just the trees.”

What advice would you give a new alum or current student?

“It is important that a new graduate is realistic when looking for a job or new position.  Don’t expect a higher level on the corporate ladder than what is realistic for your level of experience.  Assume that you don’t know a lot, remembering that you are going to learn a great deal from your manager and your colleagues.  Work hard, be aware of learning, and promotions will come along.”

What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

“The biggest challenge for leaders is keeping up with technology, especially in the finance area.  How do you manage the digital world and still be in the present?  After you digitize and standardize – and a lot of small companies can deal with information through the cloud – the difficulty comes in managing staff levels.   How do you manage expectations in staffing levels?  How do you employ 1,000 people today and then, through digitizing, saving the company money – which you must do – employ only 500 people?  How do you find the right balance with staff while maintaining your integrity as a company?  This issue impacts real people.”

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

“Moving into leadership requires a lot of training.  Management training is critical.  A leadership position is a big change and not everyone can be a leader.  Individuals need to assess themselves, determine if they believe they can be a leader, and then seek the training they need to make that step.  The biggest challenge a first- time manager has is delegation.  You need to know and be accountable for all the small details, but must also teach others to know them and be accountable as well.  Delegation and performance management are two big challenges for leaders.  Once in that position, you need to focus on the top talent around you; promote the top five.”


Please join Walsh College in applauding Ivgen Guner in her continued success by adding your comments below.

To nominate an alumnus to applaud, contact Duc Abrahamson, Alumni & Student Relations Officer, at (248) 823-1298.

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