The EMBA Program is a Project for my Personal and Professional Growth

Yacine Samb, Product Marketing Manager, Northern Europe, Google, studying in Aalto Executive MBA program

The Aalto Executive Summit made me think about the gap between research and business when it comes to discussing AI and digitalization. “Platforms own the data, legislation doesn’t keep up with development, things charge full speed ahead. How does academic research keep up with the pace?” 

Reetta Räty, 21.11.2018

”Complacency is the end to development. You have to dare to dream”, says Yacine Samb, who works for Google. She sees the EMBA program as an opportunity to challenge herself. 

“I have a distinct goal in my work: to empower companies to succeed online. I was attracted to the digital world and social media as a B2B marketing tool early on in my career. Online, everything can be measured. It’s easy to assess whether a client is succeeding or not, and discussion is transparent when results can be clearly analyzed. 

I am working in an industry where, along with digital channel, technological development and the change in consumer behavior had already been talked about for decades."

I studied international trade, and have worked at Google for about seven years. I decided to complete the Aalto EMBA program when I realized I was working in an industry where, along with digital channel, technological development and the change in consumer behavior had already been talked about for decades. I wanted to calibrate myself into a more traditional world as it were, and see how leadership, strategies, and future work were discussed in other sectors. I wanted to immerse myself in basic concepts and structures. I work in a position where there are no hierarchies or structures. In this so-called adhocracy, one can begin to think about ways to introduce certain structures and processes. As a contrast, most EMBA students are interested in how to free people in their organization from structures and bureaucracy. 

For me, the EMBA program is a project for personal growth. I cover most of the cost myself. It’s an investment into myself and the future. The fees motivate to make the most of the studies. The investment can be compared to having a personal trainer: it has to cost enough to make sure you actually hit the gym.

I’ve worked on personal growth for years, and the program provides tools for further reflection. It has made me think how many actually dare ask themselves personal and even painful questions, take a look in the mirror, open up, and examine what their purpose is – ‘am I on the right path?’. 

The group is wonderful! The program began in the spring, and it seems like we found a common language in no time at all for different types of people and personalities to work together. The dynamic in group work has taken me aback – synergies arise almost by themselves. Aalto EE deserves thanks, many of the teaching methods are a real success. 

I believe goals need to be set high and don’t even have to be achieved to the full."

It’s easy to talk and share personal thoughts and goals with this bunch. We can support each other in rethinking the route ahead and whether it’s the right way. I believe goals need to be set high and don’t even have to be achieved to the full. I want to enjoy the ride towards my personal goals. Complacency is an end to development; you have to dare to dream. The EMBA program is a way to challenge yourself and test how far your own capacity can reach… Sometimes it’s like a life hack for your own body and mind: how little sleep is enough, how far can and should you stretch yourself? Hacking your life means throwing yourself passionately into personal development, learning, and growth. Lifelong learning is the way to go now, which means keeping the finger on the pulse. I feel people have no other option than to develop themselves. 

The EMBA program has already proven beneficial. In addition to personal development, I completed the final work in Management Accounting on my own role in heading the Northern Europe business unit: I analyzed how well key figures measure relevant areas and whether team members are able to impact what they are being measured for. An improved understanding of the needs of the market helped me create a more efficient strategy and team culture to back up the joint change. I immediately achieved personally rewarding gains. 

The EMBA program has already proven beneficial."

Sometimes I think I have nearly two years ahead to build and develop my own thinking. Something huge is simmering inside and it will be interesting to see how it turns out. I’m fond of the Japanese ikigai philosophy: that everyone has their personal ikigai, your ‘reason for being’, and actively finding it brings meaning and happiness to life. You can use the ikigai questions below when envisaging your own future: 

  • What you love (your passion)
  • What the world needs (your mission)
  • What you are good at (your vocation)
  • What you can get paid for (your profession)

What the world needs is the hardest question for me, and something I want to focus on in the next few years.”

This story is part of the Aalto Executive Summit 2018 series. Other stories can be found below. Read more about Aalto EE's degree programs.

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