"My intuition used to be based on my strong work experience and gut feeling. Now it is based on knowledge.”

Mikko Lassila
Director of Business Development, UPM Biocomposites

Mikko Lassila has worked with innovative material solutions for nearly his entire career. Since spring 2019, Lassila has acted as Director of Business Development at UPM Biocomposites.

“Replacing fossil-based material solutions with renewable materials is enormously exciting. Our work helps customers cut their carbon footprint and decrease emissions. Our solutions can be used in various products such as speakers, furniture, or for instance car parts,” says Lassila.

Lassila graduated from the Aalto MBA program in 2019. He says that Aalto EE was an easy choice.

“I had worked in companies of many sizes, in strategic roles. I had a wide-ranging understanding of business, but I felt that my knowledge was superficial in certain areas. I wanted more in-depth expertise in all dimensions of business,” Lassila explains his reasons for enrolling in the MBA program.

“For me, Aalto EE was a clear choice, because I wanted the best possible quality,” he adds.

Lassila describes his study experience as excellent.

“Our group had participants from nine countries and superb team spirit. The instructors were very knowledgeable and the versatile teaching methods ensured profound learning. There is only one word to depict the experience: fantastic,” Lassila emphasizes.

During the beginning of his MBA journey Lassila worked at Exel Composites. At the time he gained a great deal of insight for his work from for example the Managerial Accounting and Operations Management modules.

Lassila started work as Director of Business Development at UPM Biocomposites in the middle of his MBA studies. Upon changing jobs, the Personal and Professional Development Process and HR modules became his favorite subjects.

“The MBA brought immediate benefits to my new work. The Personal and Professional Development Process helped me reflect on my own role as a leader, and also gave excellent insights for working on the management team,” he says.

“UPM Biocomposites is a startup company within a large corporation. Recruiting is demanding, because we seek talent with deep knowledge, an entrepreneurial mindset, and resilience to adapt to changing situations and responsibilities. The HR modules gave me valuable new knowledge for assessing strategy through capabilities and for recruiting top talent,” Lassila remarks.

Lassila says that he also benefitted from the module dealing with change management as soon as he started his new work.

The MBA provided a solid foundation for learning how to become an even better leader."

“At UPM, my very first task was an organizational restructuring. The change management lessons were very useful in this work,” Lassila asserts.

Above all, Lassila says that the MBA gave him a strong strategic backbone.

“The MBA provided a solid foundation for learning how to become an even better leader. I know my own strengths – and I also recognize where I need more support from my team,” he notes.

The thorough business understanding that Lassila obtained from the MBA is visible in his everyday work in many ways. For instance, he now more readily relies on his intuition.

“15 years in the field naturally helps as well, but the MBA strengthened my skills in all areas of business. My intuition used to be based on my strong work experience and gut feeling. Now it is based on knowledge,” he underlines.

15 years in the field naturally helps as well, but the MBA strengthened my skills in all areas of business."

Lassila affirms that he is happy to recommend Aalto EE’s MBA program. He encourages people to bravely start studying, even if they have a hectic life situation.

“I gave it a great deal of thought before starting studying, because I travelled 150 days a year for my work, and studies meant even more time away from my family,” he reminisces.

“Now I understand that the decision to start studying can be compared to for example the decision to buy a car: it’s never the right time, but at some point, you just have to make the decision. Better now than never,” he says with a laugh and assures that Aalto EE takes the life situations of all participants into consideration.

“I warmly recommend the MBA program to anyone who wants an across-the-board, strategic understanding of business, and to simultaneously gain a marvelous network. One thing you should consider, however, is whether you have something to give everyone else. Interaction in the group is a large part of the studies,” Lassila points out.

Aalto MBA