Saku Viita-aho has worked as a Business Advisor at digital engineering and innovation consultancy company Futurice since summer 2018. Before this, Viita-aho worked as a Key Account Manager at Viasys VDC Oy, alongside which he held a position as Business Development Manager in his family's company, Ora Yhtiöt Oy.
A few years ago, Viita-aho decided to look into the possibility of pursuing an MBA degree.
“As a Master of Science in Technology, I felt that a broader view of leadership theory and practice would benefit me professionally. I compared various options and decided to test the Aalto MBA by participating in three modules as a visiting student in 2015. They were all outstanding and confirmed that Aalto EE was the right fit for me,” he reminisces.
Viita-aho describes the Aalto MBA as an intensive, demanding, extremely positive and educational experience.
“The teaching was very high quality and our group was marvelous. Our diversity and solidarity enriched our studies tremendously: we all helped each other learn more and formed a tight network that still keeps in regular contact,” he remarks.
Our group was marvelous. Our diversity and solidarity enriched our studies tremendously."
Viita-aho says he especially enjoyed learning through live-cases, where management teams brought current challenges for the MBA group to solve.
“The traditional business cases were also excellent. In fact, every single topic throughout the program was very valuable. In addition to insights in for example HR and marketing, I gained new perspective from all the group work, presentations, and the very rewarding business simulation we had in our last module. The self-development work during the MBA also gave me a great deal,” he lists.
“If I had to name absolute favorites amongst the topics, I would have to pick change management, macroeconomics, all the finance courses, and negotiation and influencing. The instructors in these modules – Pekka Mattila, Matti Suominen, Ben Nothnagel and Khaled Soufani – were all exceptionally knowledgeable and had remarkably good teaching methods,” he affirms.
Viita-aho took part in an Aalto MBA exchange program during spring 2018. He and his family spent four months in Seattle where he studied for example marketing, and the social impact of entrepreneurship.
“Teaching in both Finland and the US had great strengths and I was very pleased with my decision to study abroad during the MBA. It is fantastic that Aalto EE offers this kind of opportunity,” he underlines.
I gained a wide-ranging perception of business and I can now reflect on business decisions with much greater confidence and competence."
Viita-aho emphasizes that the MBA exceeded his expectations, as it changed the way he thinks and also the way he searches for information.
“I learned how to understand and compare different industries and business logics on a global scale. I gained a wide-ranging perception of business and I can now reflect on business decisions with much greater confidence and competence,” he asserts.
“As a practical example of the many skills I gained: I am now comfortable reading annual reports and balance sheets, and I am able to dispute calculations and defend my opinion,” he adds.
Another very practical benefit for Viita-aho was his enhanced command of English.
“Thanks to the MBA, especially my verbal skills improved considerably. We had an excellent communications skills coach in the program, and I am now pleased to give presentations to for example management teams in the US. I have the courage to discuss versatile topics, and I get highly positive feedback for my ability to deliver a message,” he mentions.
For Viita-aho, the single most challenging aspect of the MBA was time management, but Aalto EE’s flexibility – and the fact that he had taken three modules in advance – enabled Viita-aho to combine work, family life, and studies.
“The studies were a very hectic time for me in many ways. My wife and I had our first child, I helped sell our family business during the MBA, and I also changed jobs from Viasys to Futurice. It was challenging, definitely, but absolutely worthwhile. My experience shows that it can be done,” he contemplates.
“I am happy to recommend the Aalto MBA and I also recommend starting right away. I would not be in my current position at Futurice without the MBA degree. My work is incredibly rewarding, and the Aalto MBA gave me the skills and perception required to work in this highly invigorating and exciting company,” he concludes.