Efecte is a Finnish software company that offers cloud based service management and identity management solutions. Some years ago its Board of Directors had a clear plan of succession: COO Sakari Suhonen would enroll in a high-quality MBA program, and upon graduation he would be appointed CEO. Once Suhonen was armed with his MBA, and successfully executed the SaaS transformation strategy, Efecte would look for strategic growth options, and one option to raise capital was to be listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki First North Finland marketplace.
“We ended up taking quite a head-start on commencing that plan. I decided to join the Aalto MBA program. After the first week of my first study module, the previous CEO left the company, and so I took over,” Suhonen reminisces.
“Time management was naturally quite an issue, but in the end things worked out well: as CEO I was able to approach every topic we covered in the MBA from our company’s perspective and I could immediately implement valuable ideas,” he says.
Suhonen names obtaining new insight on general management, finance and M&A, and HRM as his top goals during his MBA journey.
I was able to approach every topic we covered in the MBA from our company’s perspective and I could immediately implement valuable ideas."
“Finance and M&A were the most beneficial topics for my own professional development. In some topics, for example strategy, I had considerable experience already prior to the MBA. In others I started out as a near novice. Nevertheless, I learned valuable lessons in every single module,” he ponders.
“Above all, the MBA gave me good skills in general management. I learned to understand leadership from various different viewpoints,” he describes.
Looking back, Suhonen says the top two things that come to mind about the Aalto MBA are the level of teaching and his fellow students.
“The Aalto MBA is an excellent program. Students are taken care of, everything works smoothly and the teaching is very good,” he summarizes his experience.
“Moreover, the network you get during the MBA is marvelous. We had a tight knit group of students in our class. We learned from each other and gained perspective from the various industries we came from – and we have kept in contact after graduating as well, and continue to help each other out,” he explains.
The Aalto MBA is an excellent program. Students are taken care of, everything works smoothly and the teaching is very good."
Suhonen finished his MBA studies a few years ago. He has thereafter continued his work as Efecte’s CEO, first in Finland and later on stationed in Germany, a strategically important market for the expanding company.
“After I was appointed CEO and I obtained my Aalto MBA, our company’s growth strategy was successful. We opted to be listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki First North Finland marketplace over other options, to accelerate our growth strategy,” remarks Suhonen.
He confirms he is happy to recommend his alma mater, but says that he also has a few words of advice for people considering an MBA degree at Aalto EE:
“Aalto is a great school and I warmly recommend it, providing that you genuinely are able to commit to the studies. You need to openly explain both at home and at work how demanding the studies are and how much time the MBA will take,” Suhonen urges.
“You also need to be sure that the MBA matches your plans for the future. When you know that the degree will help you achieve your goals, it ensures you make the most of the opportunity and gain as much as you can from the experience,” he emphasizes.
Sakari Suhonen left Efecte in August 2018. Currently he works as consultant and is a board member of Staria. In March 2019 he will start as CEO at VividWorks.