My leadership will never be the same - Aalto Executive MBA studies - Vol 5

“I realized that I have all this time!” You can do so many things if you get your priorities right and challenge yourself.

Paula Salovaara, 18.04.2016

Survey by Paula Salovaara, Journalist, Aalto EMBA: Did the Executive MBA change something in your life? This question went to the Aalto Executive MBA cohort 2013, and the answer was “oh yes it did!”

“I realized that I have all this time!” One of the big insights during the Aalto Executive MBA program for Tessa Ahosalmi, Sales and Marketing Director, Algo Pharma Oy, was that you can do so many things if you get your priorities right and challenge yourself.

Tessa Ahosalmi

Sales and Marketing Director, Algol Pharma Oy

“I realized that I have all this time!”

You can do so many things if you get your priorities right and challenge yourself."

One of the big insights during the Aalto Executive MBA program for Tessa Ahosalmi was that you can do so many things if you get your priorities right and challenge yourself.

She had feared the amount of work, and the challenge of combining a busy family life with three children doing different sports, her own hobbies, a demanding job and on top of this the EMBA modules and assignments. Almost a year after graduation Ahosalmi says it really did not turn out to be a terrible stress at all. “I learned a lot in the self-development process, and getting things done without stress is one of the key learnings.”

Ahosalmi did a thorough job of shopping around before choosing the Aalto EMBA program. She says it became clear she would get the most value from a program focusing on strategy and leadership. The accreditations and recommendations from colleagues also played a role.

The accreditations and recommendations from colleagues also played a role."

Did she get her money’s worth? Yes. Ahosalmi, as with the rest of her cohort, says her thinking has changed – and her actions too.

“I used to make most of my decisions fast, snip-snap, based on former experience, statistics and knowledge, but now I take my time, I listen more to different opinions and pay attention. I’m thrilled about out-of-box thinking and encourage everyone towards it.”

“At the moment we are in the process of re-formulating our mission, which started by listening to everyone in the company. The strong message was that we want to be a company that is seeking new solutions with out- of-the-box thinking and a broad-minded manner. This commitment towards our mission is important in the turbulent times we have in pharmaceutical sector. It was great to get inspired by our employees.”

One of the biggest changes in Ahosalmi’s work routines comes from the new way of looking at development projects. She now makes sure that there are development projects coming up well ahead of crisis situations, and feels strongly that companies should put more resources into ongoing development in- stead of reacting to changes when they appear.

One of the biggest changes in Ahosalmi’s work routines comes from the new way of looking at development projects."

The Resilience Leadership module by Professor Liisa Välikangas made a great impression, says Ahosalmi. She has been implementing the thoughts in her work with marketing and sales at Algol Pharma. The Service Design module has also made a difference to her work, espe- cially the way she now looks at customer experience. Of all the modules, the self-develop- ment process keeps coming up. “It did have huge impact”, Ahosalmi says.

People tend to think that there should be a reward in the form of a higher title or salary after you receive an EMBA. In Tessa’s case the program was actually part of a package.

“I don’t think salaries are going up anywhere at the moment. You need to look at other benefits as well”, Ahosalmi says.

She negotiated a career path with her manager and HR. Aalto EMBA was part of the package. “Employers should pay attention to the study program investment of this size.”

On graduation day, Ahosalmi’s family gathered to watch her receive her diploma at the ceremony at Aalto University. She says it was good to finish with a grand gesture – hats and gowns and speeches.

“The kids got to see why their mother had been absent and busy.”
Recently her daughter was accepted at the Aalto University Business School, and now they can compare notes and discuss cases together.

During the summer she and her husband have ridden 3,500 kilometers on their bikes together."

During the last Self Development module everybody made a promise about how they would spend the extra time that was about to appear in their calendars after graduation. Ahosalmi stuck to the promise.

During the summer she and her husband have ridden 3,500 kilometers on their bikes together.

“That is a lot of quality time, with the extra bonus of a better physical condition. And it also makes me a better employee, I get more done, with less stress.”

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