"The Aalto EMBA - great fun, extremely rewarding and truly demanding”

Berndt Fyhr and Hans Ahlström

Berndt Fyhr, Managing Director at EET Europarts Oy, and Hans Ahlström, CEO at Finndent Oy, met during EMBA studies at Aalto EE and became fast friends. They both agree that the Aalto EMBA gives participants much more than a mere network.

“Alongside everything else, you also get great friends with whom you form strong bonds. We feel like we all have a second family. We were fortunate to have such an outstanding group, everyone supported each other so much,” says Ahlström.

“There was no internal competition. Our group was fantastic, very diversified. No matter what subject we were learning, there was always someone with extensive experience in the matter. We all learned a great deal from each other,” Fyhr agrees.

Alongside everything else, you also get great friends with whom you form strong bonds."

He reminds that although the EMBA required sacrifices, the studies gave tremendously much: “The feeling when you got to class on a Thursday was simply amazing. You were so intrigued and full of energy.”  

Ahlström laughs, remembering. “People were hyped at the start of each class. We all put a lot of time and money into our studies, so we shut out the world and gave the studies our all.”

Aalto EMBA was an easy choice

Fyhr has worked in the IT industry for two decades, the past 15 years with his current employer. While Fyhr has been in charge of developing and expanding activities in Finland, EET Group has grown from a small Nordic-based spare part distributor to a large European organization with a wide range of offerings in multiple segments. Fyhr says he contemplated EMBA studies for a number of years before deciding to make the time. He chose Aalto EMBA primarily for the peers he knew he would encounter.

“Participants have over 10, often 20 years of work experience, and I anticipated rewarding discussions with people who have considerable experience and relevant insight,” Fyhr comments.

Ahlström is a seasoned entrepreneur. He has built several companies, including a LED driver electronics company that he later sold to a Dutch investment company. Ahlström actively invests in various companies, often also holding an operative role developing the companies from the inside. Ahlström explains that he decided to pursue an EMBA because he wanted to challenge himself and gain new competence, primarily in financial issues – and network with likeminded individuals.

“For me, Aalto EE’s accreditations and reputation made it an easy choice,” Ahlström affirms.

Evenly high quality and an excellent setup

Fyhr and Ahlström describe the teaching throughout the EMBA as evenly high quality.

“Every single module was top notch. We learned highly applicable skills throughout the program: tools and the mindset to be able to adapt, live in the present, ask the right critical questions, be better leaders, better at teamwork, better at communication, and much more,” Fyhr emphasizes.

Every single module was top notch. We learned highly applicable skills throughout the program."

“I never once left a module thinking I could have spent my time better. I think the greatest surprise was how practical it was. It was very easy to relate the topics to your own work,” Ahlström concurs.

“For example leadership was not something taught in just one or two modules, but built up gradually. We all gained considerable leadership skills that are not that easily measured, but which have definitely changed us and the way we work,” Ahlström points out.

Fyhr and Ahlström say the program was also set up in an ideal manner. Fyhr gives particular praise to Aalto EE regarding the way in which the studies were organized: there were assignments before and after each module, and the structure helped everyone advance at considerable pace.

“The entire program was so well organized, it helped you gain as much as possible in a highly effective manner. I would never have been able to put together a program like this if I had freely chosen what I wanted to study and when,” Fyhr ponders.

The entire program was so well-organized, it helped you gain as much as possible in a highly effective manner."

A wide array of interesting topics

When asked to name the most beneficial modules for their own professional development, the Self Development Process comes up first. Fyhr and Ahlström describe the lessons learned now affecting every aspect of their lives, both professional and personal.

“The financial modules were also superb in every sense of the word. The knowledge I gained from those modules definitely pays off in my everyday life as an entrepreneur,” Ahlström remarks.

“I loved the M&A module, it was fantastic. Management communication was another terrific module, it gave such useful and practical tools for getting your message through,” Fyhr adds.

Both men also praise Aalto EMBA’s optional study tours to Boston and Palo Alto. Cherry picking these elective modules taught by Harvard and Stanford professors, and learning from people who have worked in collaboration with companies such as Facebook, Oracle, General Motors and many more, brought considerable added value to their EMBAs.

You get as much as you give

Ahlström and Fyhr say they are happy to endorse the Aalto EMBA, describing the experience as great fun, extremely rewarding, and truly demanding. They both remind, however, that you must be highly committed to the studies. In the Aalto EMBA, you get as much as you give.

I’d say it was the best two years of my life."

“The entire EMBA experience exceeded my expectations. All in all, I would not change a thing: the friends we made, the valuable insights we learned – it is an outstanding opportunity and an experience I am happy to recommend,” Ahlström confirms.
“I’d say it was the best two years of my life,” Fyhr reflects. “If I had to give one advice to people considering an EMBA it would be to start immediately. If you look at your life at any point of time and think about the upcoming two years, there will never be a time that is ideal. You simply need to make the decision and go for it.”

Aalto Executive MBA