Radu Marian (MSc International Business and Emerging Markets 2017) delivered this year’s Jubilee Lecture as part of the Global Challenges for Business course for first year undergraduates. Interviewed by Tara Morrison, Deputy Director of Undergraduate Programmes at the Business School, Radu reflected on his unplanned career in politics, the changes he has seen since being elected and his reflections on being a student in Edinburgh.
Radu Marian and Tara Morrison

Radu Marian was born and brought up in Moldova, a country with a population of 3 million located between Romania and Ukraine. Whilst at school, Radu sang in a choir which toured around Europe. This opened his eyes to the differences in how the countries he visited were run and by turn, how prosperous they were. He came to understand that the success of a country depends less on factors such as geographic location and natural resources, and more on how the country is run by its politicians.

After studying finance and banking, during which he won a scholarship for a university in the USA, Radu worked initially in sales and, then for a think tank in Moldova. He still had a strong desire to study abroad and so applied to the University of Edinburgh Business School and was awarded a prestigious Chevening Scholarship.

The MSc was the best year of my life. Edinburgh is so beautiful – you never get used to it! The class was so diverse and international and I loved the practicality of the course. I am still in touch with the friends I made in Edinburgh.
Radu Marian, MSc International Business and Emerging Markets 2017

After graduating, Radu pursued his plan to work in business, but maintained an interest in his country’s politics. He was deeply inspired by Maia Sandu, current President of Moldova, who founded the Party of Action and Solidarity and had a bold vision for change. Radu volunteered for the party and later decided to run for election as an MP. Feeling that this was an exciting time to get involved in politics, he put business aside and was tasked with writing the party’s manifesto.

An eventful few years followed – Radu was elected as one of Moldova’s youngest MPs, his party secured a majority and he was made Chairman of the Economic Budget Finance Committee.

Back in Edinburgh for the lecture and while speaking to the students, who this semester have been introduced to some of the key global challenges facing countries around the world, Radu described the biggest challenges for Moldova: “We are a democracy but only since 1991 and so the transition is still taking place. There is still corruption, and currently our biggest challenge is the war in Ukraine - transportation costs have increased, as have energy costs. It is a challenge to attract investors and many projects are on hold.”

Despite these challenges, significant progress has been made. Moldova is no longer reliant on Russia for gas, where previously 100 % of their gas supply came from. Radu’s country aims to join the EU by 2030 and they are changing people’s minds and gaining support every day. Radu hopes that the people of Moldova will continue to choose democracy and peace, over war and terror.

Tara asked Radu what advice he had for the first year students. His replies were as follows:

  • Do not be afraid of failure. I did not get into my first choice of university as a teenager, but I’m glad the path I ended up taking was different. It led me to where I am today.
  • Life is always throwing opportunities your way – be open to them and make sure you use them!
  • If you want change to happen, do it yourself.

Asked about the future, Radu is determined he will move back into the business world in the coming years, and put to use all he learned throughout his education and experiences so far.

The Jubilee lecture

The annual Jubilee Lecture celebrates the connections between the University of Edinburgh and the world of business. The first student to study business entered the University of Edinburgh in 1919 and the Jubilee Lecture was created in the late 1960s to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary. It takes place in the Global Challenges for Business course, attended by first year business undergraduates at a time where they have just transitioned from high school to university.