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"The Aalto EMBA made me a more critical and strategic thinker.”

Sonja London

Director of Licensing Sonja London has worked for Nokia for nearly 13 years. Alongside her work at Nokia, London is a Board Member of growth company Fusion Layer and startup company 21TDMC.

London is a lawyer by training. In 2019 she also graduated from the Aalto Executive MBA program.

”My work at Nokia is intellectually challenging, and as a Board Member at Fusion Layer and 21TDMC I get to see the companies develop as a whole. I decided to join the Aalto EMBA program to gain a more in-depth understanding of business,” she describes.

London travels extensively in her job, over one hundred days a year. She wanted a program in Finland and chose Aalto EE due to its accreditations, internationality, and great reputation. London says the Aalto EMBA exceeded her expectations.

”I got exactly what I was looking for: a comprehensive understanding of business, theoretical frameworks and numerous new tools. Above all, the Aalto EMBA made me a more critical and strategic thinker,” she says.

London concentrated on financial topics in her studies. She affirms that valuations, capital markets, balance sheets, and M&A processes all became familiar at Aalto EE.  

”The EMBA gives you a very solid knowledge base. It brought the numbers alive from a business point of view. My confidence grew to a new level – and my competence in strategy, leadership, HR, marketing, and communication was considerably strengthened,” she points out.

The teaching methods ensure deep learning that enables you to put everything to practice at work."

The EMBA teaching methods receive a great deal of praise from London.

”No matter what type of learner you are – visual, auditory or kinesthetic – the teaching methods ensure deep learning that enables you to put everything to practice at work,” she explains.

”One EMBA participant described the in-class days as mental day spas. It was aptly put. Nobody had to hide their talent. Exchanging ideas with top professors and other participants was so rewarding I felt enlightened each time I walked out of class,” she emphasizes.

London names the Study Tours to Yale and Boston as highlights of her study experience.

”At Yale we concentrated on Transformational Leadership. We learned about change management from a leadership, organizational and psychological point of view. The Yale campus, professors and tremendously interactive teaching – the only way to describe it is mind blowing,” London says with a laugh.

”The Boston Study Tour focused on Value Based Management. This too was an exceptional experience. The one thing I regret in my studies is not being able to find the time for the Stanford Study Tour,” she adds.

London says obtaining an EMBA alongside a demanding job was challenging, but doable.

”My work at Nokia and Board responsibilities take time – and we have both teenagers and a small child in our family, which makes for a hectic combination. An extremely systematic approach was vital,” she remarks.

”My academic ambition grew throughout the studies. I studied during all long flights and systematically set aside time for both studies and family. Graduating with honors was quite an achievement,” she says.

London emphasizes that in addition to thorough business aptitude, her studies gave her life-long friendships and a wide-ranging network.

The learning was more profound and extensive than I had ever anticipated."

”Our group was highly inclusive, and we regularly meet up: we have a book club, a foodie group, and get-togethers each quarter. Our network has experts in most every area and I can always turn to any one of them,” she notes.

London says she warmly recommends the Aalto Executive MBA.

”The learning was more profound and extensive than I had ever anticipated. Everyone gained a thorough understanding of business, regardless of their background,” she says.

”Some people in our group were concerned about their English skills, but I would not worry about that. Your skills improve with the studies. Ensuring support from your loved ones is the only prerequisite. I could not have obtained my degree without my family’s support,” she confirms.

Aalto Executive MBA Program

Since this interview was conducted, Sonja London has moved to another company.