Taina Tirkkonen is Glaston Corporations General Counsel and Senior VP of Human Resources, and a member of Glastons Executive Management Group. She has two masters degrees: one in law and the other in administrative sciences. Recently, she also completed studies for her Aalto MBA.
Her employer Glaston is a small giant. It has operations in every corner of the world, but employs only 420 people globally with about 160 working in Finland. A manufacturer of high-quality glass heat treatment machines and services for architectural, solar, appliance and automotive applications, its machines have been used for example to process the glass for the Shanghai World Financial Center.
“I love learning new things, curiosity is in my blood. After joining Glaston’s Executive Management Group, I wanted to gain more comprehensive business insight. I travel quite extensively in my job so I preferred an MBA that I could complete without extra travel. Aalto EE offers great versatility to students and the program was recommended to me by several Aalto MBA alumni. After comparing a few well-known alternatives, I opted for Aalto EE. I am glad I did, it was a great experience,” says Tirkkonen.
Tirkkonen praises the personal development process and mentions out-of-the-box thinking as one of the best things she got from her studies.
I didn't think that the MBA would teach me to be more innovative. It was a surprise to see how much I gained in this aspect. I now have a new, more creative way of thinking.”
“I did not start the MBA thinking that it would teach me to be more innovative. It was a surprise to see how much I gained in this aspect. I now have a new, more creative way of thinking. Another highly beneficial lesson I learned was the importance of communication and emotional intelligence as critical business skills,” Tirkkonen points out.
“My background is in law, so for me the most challenging modules were definitely the ones dealing with finance. These same modules also taught me the most. Before the MBA I understood the numbers in executive meetings, but now I comprehend the business decisions behind them,” Tirkkonen explains. She underlines that the MBA also sharpened her skills as a manager.
“Glaston renewed its strategy last year and I have actively participated in strategy implementation. The MBA gave me valuable skills in for example change management and motivating people,” Tirkkonen says.
Although her Aalto MBA class only just finished their studies, Tirkkonen says she already misses studying.
“It often felt stressful leaving work after a hectic day to spend all evening at Aalto EE, but the MBA studies are such a different world that all the stress vanished once I got there. I always found it energizing and even relaxing – which is a funny thing to say as it was quite intensive,” Tirkkonen reminisces.
“The most challenging aspect of the MBA is undoubtedly time-management,” Tirkkonen reflects. “It is important to know what you are getting into. I recommend making sure your family supports you in the endeavor.”
Tirkkonen keeps regular contact with many of her fellow students. She emphasizes that the people who shared the journey with her were the highlight of her experience.
If you want to move forward, you need to obtain a broader perspective, and gain people and leadership skills. The MBA gives you this and much more.”
“We had a marvelous people there, everyone helped each other. Quite often we worked in small groups, usually under pressure to create something in a tight schedule. We came from different backgrounds and had diverse ways of approaching problems. The group works were terrific learning experiences, perhaps the most rewarding part of the studies.”
Tirkkonen says she is happy to recommend the Aalto MBA, particularly to people working in expert positions who want to broaden their horizons in business.
“I think the best reason to go for it is summed up in a notion we often discussed during our studies: your current competence has got you to where you are now. If you want to move forward, you need to obtain a broader perspective, and gain people and leadership skills. The MBA gives you this and much more.”