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"It was invigorating to learn more about how leading competence, motivation, and engagement can impact business results.”

Heidi Ekdahl
Business Manager, STT Viestintäpalvelut

STT is the leading news and picture agency in Finland. As Business Manager of STT Viestintäpalvelut, Heidi Ekdahl is in charge of all STTs business with corporate and NGO customers. Her responsibilities include for example leading strategy and sales, and consulting customers in media communication. A long-time STT employee, Ekdahl was promoted to Business Manager during her MBA studies.

Ekdahl is a seasoned professional in journalism and media analytics. She decided to pursue an MBA to gain broader and updated business proficiency. I had reached a stage in my career where I felt it was time for me to thoroughly challenge the way I think, and learn leadership skills that would benefit me in decades to come. I was not looking for fast wins, but for sustainable growth on my own career path, Ekdahl says.

An MBA is a large investment of time and money, and I critically compared various alternatives. I chose Aalto MBA because it gave me the impression of being a very open minded studying environment with just the right mix of startup-mentality and academic twist. Its Triple Crown accreditation was also an important consideration for me, she adds.

Ekdahl describes the MBA as a remarkable professional leap. When asked to name modules that she found most beneficial, she mentions service business design, leading change, and managing innovation.

The MBA gave me the opportunity to reflect on challenges in my own work and gain insight from completely new business cases."

I've always believed that businesses should concentrate on leading people, not numbers. It was invigorating to learn more about how leading competence, motivation, and engagement can impact business results, Ekdahl emphasizes.

The MBA gave me the opportunity to reflect on challenges in my own work and gain insight from completely new business cases. My business thinking is now more structured, and I am even better equipped to support my own customers success and help them see how extensively media communication can serve their organizational goals, she affirms.

Ekdahl admits she was positively surprised by how much she gained from her studies. She brings up group work as one of the most fulfilling parts of her MBA experience.

I especially enjoyed challenging my own thinking with talented individuals coming from very different professional and cultural backgrounds, building common ground and solving problems together. The confidential peer support among students was highly stimulating, it kept me motivated throughout my studies, she says.

The MBA opened new routes for me to grow as a leader. I now realize the importance of maintaining continual dialogue, building trust and creating synergies. "

The Personal Development Process was also very beneficial: it gave me tremendous insight from day one. I gained very important tools that fit my personality, my strengths and weaknesses, Ekdahl adds.

Ekdahl gained immediate benefits from her MBA, as she started her new job already during her studies – but more importantly, she highlights the MBA as a turning point: the beginning of her personal growth as a professional.

The MBA opened new routes for me to grow as a leader. I now realize the importance of maintaining continual dialogue, building trust and creating synergies to build innovative thinking and find new business opportunities, she asserts.

I recommend the Aalto MBA program to anyone who is ready to throw away their prior professional assumptions and challenge themselves in a passionate manner. You must be devoted to transforming yourself. If you are considering an MBA, I encourage you to go for it now. There is no point in waiting for the right moment, because that day will never come. If you are motivated enough, you will find the time.