Alumni Donor Daniel Tomic

“At TUM, I learned what German engineering really means”

In the year of the global economic crisis, Daniel Tomic completed his doctorate at TUM. As his father’s company found itself at a turning point at that time, he joined the company as Managing Director, which had not been part of his plans until then. Since then, the company has grown at a double-digit rate every year.

Daniel Tomic is actually a technical person, not an economist. He showed great interest in mechanical engineering already as a small child and loved anything to do with cars. “I loved tinkering with things, even as a preschool child,” he says of himself. “Whether I would become a trained mechanic or ultimately a doctor of engineering was of secondary importance initially.” Thanks to the support of his parents, however, he was able to study at TUM, where he enrolled in Mechanical Engineering.

His father, who moved from the former Yugoslavia to Germany in 1971, has always been an important role model for him. As a non-academic, he mainly reached his great professional achievements through hard work and a good nose for business, building up his own company with core competences in industrial plant engineering. “It is from him that I learned that everyone is responsible for what they achieve in life and that you can get very far professionally and in business in Germany even as an immigrant, as long as you believe in yourself and consistently pursue your goals,” Daniel Tomic says.

Doctorate in Professor Höhn’s department

After attaining his degree, Daniel Tomic was given the chance to do his doctorate at TUM. “I remember the interview with my doctoral supervisor, Professor Bernd-Robert Höhn, whose lectures I had already very much enjoyed during my intermediate degree period.” Tomic was very excited, he adds, but Professor Höhn gave him a very good feeling immediately, assuring him that the work in his department would be anything but purely abstract and purely theoretical. “He himself had worked for a long time in a leading position developing vehicle transmissions for a major German automobile manufacturer, and in his lectures he always placed this practical experience in a very good context with the theory,” Daniel Tomic recalls. Above all, the close exchange that took place with the industry and the frequent presentations to decision-makers from large companies during his doctorate period helped him further. “I still benefit from this in my day-to-day business.”

Starting his career during the world economic crisis

Daniel Tomic finished his work at TUM when he submitted his dissertation at the end of 2008, the year in which the global economic and financial crisis began with the bankruptcy of the major investment bank Lehman Brothers. Daniel Tomic actually intended back then to go into a large corporation or another company after receiving his doctorate. “However, due to the uncertainty and almost unbridled panic in the global economy, my father’s company also found itself at a turning point and there was also some uncertainty among the employees,” Daniel Tomic explains. “I discussed things extensively with my father. We decided we wanted to make a statement together by having me join the company immediately after my doctorate, so that I could get involved and help out.”

TUM has accompanied me for almost 20 years in my professional career. That pays off today.

From today’s perspective, this decision was absolutely right, because the company emerged stronger from the crisis and has grown at a double-digit rate every year since then. In 2018, the Tomic Group recorded the best year in its 42-year history. However, Daniel Tomic’s entry into his parents’ company also brought challenges with it: “I had to adjust to a whole new way of working. It wasn’t just about technology, but mainly about KPIs, financial issues like cash flow, liquidity, supply chain management and cost optimization. I realized very quickly that I had some shortcomings in that area.”

MBA at TUM while working alongside

When the economic situation had stabilized again and Daniel Tomic had more freedom in his business, he decided to improve his business knowhow by studying part-time at TUM and enrolling for the Executive MBA. He was particularly impressed by TUM’s partnership with the renowned Tshingua University in Beijing. “The time I spent in China was particularly rewarding for me,” Daniel Tomic says. “Our company had just had its first project in China shortly before that and I was able to see how the market works there and what influence Chinese culture has on the business world.”

Daniel Tomic therefore credits the success of the family business in recent years to a certain extent to his training at TUM, among other things. “TUM has accompanied me for almost 20 years in my professional career. While studying at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering I learned what German engineering really means. Thanks to the EMBA, I acquired the skills of a modern manager. That pays off today.” As the successful managing director of Tomic TEC GmbH, Daniel Tomic would like to give something back to his alma mater to thank it for his good training. He has therefore supported the TUM University Foundation with conviction since then and, since 2017, he has also been a member of the board of trustees of the Bund der Freunde der TUM (Association of Friends of TUM). “As a benefactor, I would like to support future research projects and young talents,” says Daniel Tomic.

After ten years of playing an operative role in the family business, Daniel Tomic is leaving the position of Managing Director in January 2019 and has become Chairman of the Advisory Board. He will use the free capacities this has given him to join a management consultancy company as a partner. “It’s not one of the world’s most famous consulting firms. I wanted specifically to go into a consultancy that specializes in small and medium-sized companies,” says Daniel Tomic. His goal is to transfer the wealth of experience gained there to his own group of companies sooner or later and thus secure their future. “My big wish for 2019 is to establish many new contacts and to find a few interesting projects and perspectives,” says Daniel Tomic.