Chief Controller Kristiina Thure has worked for Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company for her entire career, over two decades. She has held versatile positions in the company throughout the years, with risk management as a focal point of her work. Thure is currently in charge of Varma’s controller team. Her responsibilities include overseeing reporting relating to Varma’s investments, as well as coordinating operational planning in Varma’s strategy work.
“I was one of the first people in Finland to graduate as a bachelor of business from a university of applied sciences, which at the time were quite experimental schools. I had always intended to continue my studies with an MBA degree, but work got in the way. Or rather, it swept me away. My job has been extremely interesting, and I have been able to continuously develop as a professional,” Thure explains.
When she turned 40, Thure decided to carefully reflect on her life choices thus far. She even considered a change in career, but soon realized that she is in exactly the right line of work. However, it was clear to her that the time was ripe to continue her formal education.
“I contemplated studying abroad, but as I wanted to continue working full time, I opted for a program offered in Finland. Aalto EE was an easy choice: I selected it, because I wanted the very best MBA available,” she says.
Thure describes her MBA studies as highly interesting and invigorating – but also recalls the program as a significant investment of time, which required self-discipline to complete alongside her demanding job.
She says that some of the greatest lessons she learned during the MBA had to do with how to forgo superficial thinking.
The MBA genuinely altered the way I think. Above all, it taught me how to concentrate and approach issues systematically."
“I gained numerous valuable models and frameworks, and I learned how to utilize them in my own thinking and communication with others,” she underlines.
“At my age, you seldom come across situations that fundamentally change your thinking, albeit smaller scale epiphanies are fairly common. The MBA, however, genuinely altered the way I think. Above all, it taught me how to concentrate and approach issues systematically,” Thure ponders.
Looking back, Thure says that various business simulations are among her favorite memories from the MBA studies.
“The simulations were highly beneficial. They taught me a great deal about decision making, the importance of discretion, and group dynamics,” she remarks.
Thure also brings up conversations with fellow participants as some of her fondest memories from the MBA.
“We came from highly diverse backgrounds, and this enriched all of our learning experiences. We had such interesting discussions in class. The versatile viewpoints shared by other participants brought up insights I would never had thought of on my own,” she depicts.
Thure finished her MBA degree in 2018. She says that the degree has had a clear impact on her work.
“My team at Varma has become completely self-guided. Naturally the largest credit must be given to the fact that the team consists of highly responsible top-experts, but I also have to tribute part of this accomplishment to my MBA degree,” she emphasizes.
The MBA gave me improved self-knowledge and confidence. I am more relaxed, and I trust other people more."
“The MBA degree broadened my perspective and gave me confidence and skills that enabled me to take on interesting new responsibilities at work, like leading our Lean-network and coordinating the operational planning processes in our strategy work,” says Thure, and adds that in spring 2019, certain external control functions also started working directly under her supervision at Varma.
“The MBA gave me improved self-knowledge and confidence. I am more relaxed, and I trust other people more. I think it is a fair assessment to say that this personal growth has also made me a better leader,” she affirms.
Thure says that the Aalto MBA exceeded her expectations and asserts that she is pleased to recommend participation to others.
“I am happy to endorse the Aalto MBA to anyone who wishes to considerably enhance their professional skills and broaden their perspective on business. The degree studies are far from easy, but Aalto EE helps pave the way. It is an agile and flexible service organization. Ensuring that the individual needs of participants are met is at the heart of everything Aalto EE does,” Thure concludes.