During his Aalto MBA studies Jussi Lehmuskallio drove his startup company Fonum's annual sales up sixteen-fold, from 0.5 million euro to 8 million euro. He was still pursuing his MBA degree when Fonum was acquired by Elisa Oyj and he moved on to work as the new subsidiary's CEO.
“My fellow MBA students and our professors deserve huge thanks, as Fonum’s growth was very much their doing as well. Many people claim achieving growth is difficult. It wasn’t for my company, because in my Aalto MBA group I had 25 consultants free of charge, all of whom gave me priceless advice,” Lehmuskallio underlines.
He explains that the MBA studies forced him to stop and solve problems that he might have otherwise avoided.
“After every module I went back to work and fixed things based on insights I had gained in class – and the changes I made started paying off quickly,” he says.
Lehmuskallio is not your average MBA student. He adamantly states that he never much cared for school, and prefers learning as much as he can hands-on. He also admits that initially, the only reason he wanted to pursue an MBA was to get an internationally recognized degree to help him build an international career.
After every module I went back to work and fixed things based on insights I had gained in class – and the changes I made started paying off quickly."
“I had heard people go on about what an incredible experience an MBA can be, but I was not looking for anything of the sorts. I simply wanted a degree to showcase my abilities. Yet despite my mindset, I left the program amazed of how rewarding it was. I received so much more from the MBA than I had ever expected,” he laughs.
Lehmuskallio notes that one of the main things that set his Aalto MBA studies apart from previous study experiences was the level and depth of communication.
"We had a very active group, with people from diverse backgrounds. Our talks always opened up new perspectives and solutions. Moreover, discussions between MBA students and Professors were dialogues among professionals, not teachers telling students how things are. This made learning easy and invigorating for me. We were not only taught information, we learned how to use it,” he emphasizes.
According to Lehmuskallio, the key benefit he reaped from his studies was a broader perspective. He professes that before obtaining his MBA degree he tended to concentrate more on micro-level business issues. He now sees how vast the world of opportunities is:
“Let’s say you are going to set up a hairdressing salon. Great idea. But while you are at it, why not start a chain? And since it’s a chain, why just in Finland? Why not a global chain? The MBA changes the inherent way you look at opportunities. It challenges you to think bigger,” Lehmuskallio describes.
The experience also exceeded my expectations thoroughly. I learned an incredible amount and I got to know such amazing people."
After finishing his MBA, Lehmuskallio has kept himself busy. He first drove Fonum’s annual sales from 8 up to 12.5 million euro, after which he was appointed the CEO for Elisa Oyj’s Hong Kong operations from June 2018 onwards.
“In this sense, the MBA gave me exactly what I wanted: a great degree to help me get ahead with an international career. But the experience also exceeded my expectations thoroughly. I learned an incredible amount and I got to know such amazing people,” he points out.
Lehmuskallio affirms he is pleased to endorse Aalto MBA and recommends the program especially to ambitious individuals who wish to gain a broader perspective on business.
He has one tip for people considering pursuing the degree: “If you have any doubts, call an Aalto MBA alumnus. I am positive that anyone who has taken part in this program will be more than happy to use 15 minutes of their time to talk about the experience and answer any questions you have.”