School of Business Administration

Learning to Lead

Mohsen Mirza Aligoudarzi focused on creating strong teams, future leaders

icon of a calendarNovember 3, 2022

icon of a pencilBy Patrick Dunn

Share this story

Learning to Lead

Mohsen Mirza Aligoudarzi, posing and smiling for a photo.
Mohsen Mirza Aligoudarzi was quickly impressed with how the diverse experiences of his classmates in his Executive MBA cohort enrich class discussions and learnings. He values the opportunity to share with and learn from professionals in different fields.

More than a year into the Executive MBA program at Oakland University, Mohsen Mirza Aligoudarzi has experienced the benefits of being a member of a strong, supportive team – and learned how to better build such a team himself.

Aligoudarzi is a manager at IAV Automotive Engineering for Controls SW applications, where his team develops functionalities for electric vehicle powertrains. Aligoudarzi, a German Iranian native, started working for German-based IAV in 2013, then came to Northville, Michigan, to help establish the company's U.S. office in 2015. As he climbed the ladder from engineer to his current role, he realized he would need more than technical expertise to continue advancing in his career and help the organization to grow.

"I'm not interested in becoming a traditional finance business guy," Aligoudarzi says. "It's more about leadership for me, and how I can combine my technical skills with financial and managerial skills to achieve company goals by leading a team of technical experts while focusing on the strategic aims of the organization."

Aligoudarzi was drawn to OU's EMBA program for its focus on leadership and the work-life balance it allows. He appreciates the ability to easily structure his personal and professional commitments around his classes, which are scheduled on alternating weekends throughout the 21-month program.

He was also quickly impressed by the rich experience of working with his fellow EMBA cohort colleagues. Aligoudarzi says he values being able to share with, and learn from, people in fields very different from his.

"How I might experience a situation is totally different than someone who is in the medical field," he says. "It allows you to experience different perspectives and understand what their challenges are and how they're operating and progressing. That is something you normally don't see. I never would have thought about it, and I probably never would have read about it because of my interest in automotive engineering."

Aligoudarzi says the program also cultivates an environment that allows him to build invaluable relationships with members of his cohort. For instance, when he and his wife welcomed a baby in February, he had to miss some classes. His fellow students supported him by taking notes for him and offered to schedule video calls to discuss the material he missed.

"I want to thank my classmates. Without the support of the cohort, I'm not sure if I would have caught up with all the exercises and all the assignments on time." Aligoudarzi says.

Although he isn’t in an executive role yet, Aligoudarzi says his experience in OU’s Executive MBA program has encouraged him to start thinking differently about how teams work and how he manages his own team at IAV.

"A lot of people think that if they put people together in an organization, they are a team," he says. "But the reality is, people are not a team because they work together. They are a team because they respect each other, they trust each other, they can rely on each other, and they focus on the same goal by sharing the same inspiring vision."

Since starting his Executive MBA program, Aligoudarzi says he's become more comfortable delegating tasks to others at work, giving them room to make mistakes and learn.

With a focus on continuous development and improvement, not only for himself, but also his staff he says he wants to focus on "growing future leaders,” in whatever position he takes next.

"I believe people don't leave jobs when they leave a company. They just leave a toxic work culture," Aligoudarzi says. With an awareness of the current labor situation and retention rates, he says, “My goal is to increase employee engagement and satisfaction prior to increasing customer commitment.”

Share this story