Gregor Potočnik is the Commercial Student of the Year 2021


The 2021 Student of the Year award for the Economist – Commercialist module was awarded to Gregor Potočnik, who was the most successful and fastest to complete the requirements of the 2019-2021 generation of the Economist – Commercialist module of the Higher Professional Education Programme.

1. What does the title Commercial Student of the year 2021 mean to you?

“I suppose I won’t be the only one to answer that I really didn’t expect it. It wasn’t my intention to become Commercial Student of the Year either, but I had the goal of completing my studies as soon as possible – as I was able to attend this course with the help of the company I work for.

This company referred me to your studies and gave me the opportunity to study at work. Without such help, it would simply not have been possible to attend, let alone complete this study so successfully.

I have always joked that I completed my studies in the company where I work. On 1 January, It will be my 20th year working at this company. At that time, at the beginning of my employment, I did not find the extra motivation to continue my education after secondary school.

I work for Seco Tools Ltd, which is part of the Seco AB group, a Swedish company that manufactures cutting machines. I started as an inside salesman, then moved into marketing, and now I’m focused on sales; I work on two global projects for Seco AB, which takes up more than half of my working time.”

2. Why did you choose to study at Academia Maribor?

“The concept of the study programme suited my line of work. The formal education I received here at Academia is a confirmation of what I have been doing for 20 years.

When I saw your curriculum and the way of working, which is in a “lecture-exam-lecture-exam” format, it suited me very well, given my job.”

3. What do you enjoy most about your studies?

“I started my studies before the coronavirus outbreak. Then, unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic followed.

Nevertheless, after this difficult period, the most rewarding thing for me was that, at the end, the study felt like a real study of logistics. Your transformation of physical lectures into online lectures as home study was excellent, and I have already expressed this in the end-of-year questionnaire.”

4. How does studying at Academia help you in your career and personal development? 

“Before I started my studies at the Academia, the director of the company I work at and I were looking for any opportunities to upgrade my skills, gain new experience or supplement my missing qualifications.

During these two years of study, I have also started two global projects, and I am also partly responsible to other global managers at Seco AB.

It is always the hardest to judge for yourself whether you have taken a step forward or a step back. However, I have excellent support from my wife and my colleagues, who have both repeatedly said that I have improved significantly in my field during the two years I have been at the Academy.”

5. Where do you see yourself after graduation? Will you stay loyal to the company you work for?

“I think I will stay loyal to my company, because without the company’s support and help, my studies would not have been possible. And this is my 20th year working here.

I’m not looking for an external challenge, but I’m still in a position where I might be able to find a step closer to the title of project manager. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

6. What advice would you give to prospective students to help them succeed in their studies?

“Anyone who decides to study, should take their choice seriously. If you are not serious, you will not get a serious result.

On one hand studying at the Academia has been a great experience for me, but on the other hand it has also been one of the most difficult experiences, precisely because of the balancing of time between work and lectures.

Sometimes I was listening to a lecture on one monitor and also had to pay attention to a company meeting on the other monitor.”


“Anyone, who is determined and serious about their studies, should not have any fear of not completing them successfully and with determination!”

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