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"The MBA is a big investment of your time, so you better spend it wisely”

Tuomo Tähtinen
Executive Director, Music Finland

Music Finland promotes the success and awareness of Finnish music. The organisation was born in 2012 with the merger of Music Export Finland and the Finnish Music Information Centre Fimic. Music Finlands Executive Director Tuomo Tähtinen completed his MBA studies at Aalto EE in December 2015

“I started work in my current position hand in hand with our merger in 2012. Further business studies had been on my mind for some time, but bringing together two very different cultures and creating a completely new organisation did not leave room for an MBA just then. Once we had the new organisation in well working condition I started my MBA at Aalto – and I gained a great deal of knowledge that validated many decisions made during the merger,” Tähtinen laughs.

Tähtinen decided to pursue an MBA above all to broaden his business understanding.

“I have worked in the music industry for my entire career, and I have a Bachelor’s degree in a very specific area of business: music management. Thus my area of expertise is quite narrow. I hoped to gain a more comprehensive understanding of different industries and strengthen my business knowledge,” Tähtinen says. He underlines that the MBA gave him a great deal of confidence.

“I love learning. For me, inspiration comes from staying open to new ideas and being able to learn something new every day in my life, be it at work, through studies, or in my free time. The MBA is a very useful simulation of real life. It gave me wide-spread understanding of new industries, and the opportunity to work together with such different kinds of inspiring people in the various group works. I was happy to find that I could contribute to discussions regarding very different fields of business, although my own experience stems from one industry.”

The MBA is a very useful simulation of real life. It gave me wide-spread understanding of new industries, and the opportunity to work together with such different kinds of inspiring people."

Tähtinen says he cannot easily pick out a favourite or most useful subject from the MBA, because he feels that everything he learned was beneficial for a leader.

“Macroeconomics and economics in general are extremely interesting topics, which I enjoyed studying. Marketing and branding are of course subjects I am much more familiar with, but new viewpoints are always valuable,” he ponders. “I was also inspired by learning about different management practices for the fast-changing business environment,” Tähtinen adds and mentions an intensive week-long finance seminar in Boston as a particularly memorable experience.

“I chose the course in Boston as an elective module. I was so far out of my comfort zone! It was intense and highly rewarding. I recommend that all MBA students look into the different options Aalto EE provides for studies abroad. If you cannot take a longer period off work like a summer or semester, Aalto has many much shorter, yet excellent alternatives.”

Alongside group work, case-studies were one of Tähtinen’s favourite learning methods during the MBA.

“I had not had much experience with case studies prior to the MBA, and I found them both enjoyable and highly useful: they put the theories into perspective, and although examples often came from organisations not directly comparable to ours, I could always take something with me from each case – ideas that could be put to use in our organisation, perhaps for example with slightly less mechanic processes,” Tähtinen contemplates.

All in all, the experience is great. The MBA starts a new chapter in your life, at least intellectually.

“If I were to describe our organisation at Music Finland in one word, I would call us brave. We work in an industry where you must be in tune with the times. We have to dare to see and hear signals from the world and take them into action. We are fairly small – 20 people – and thus able to test things easily. During the MBA, almost every module gave me ideas and tools that I could consider implementing at Music Finland – and I have already introduced quite a few. Truth be told, I have had to slow down and put many ideas on hold, because you should never change things just for the sake of change,” Tähtinen admits.  

“I definitely recommend the MBA,” Tähtinen says. “It is challenging, certainly, but doable. I gained a great deal of knowledge, made good friends, networked – all in all, the experience is great. The MBA starts a new chapter in your life, at least intellectually.”

“I do have one hint for future students: be present. No matter how demanding your day-job is, when you are physically taking part in the MBA studies, make sure your mind is also 100% on the lessons. Being present and making smart decisions in the situations you are in – this struck me as a key learning experience I took away from the MBA’s self-development process and it also applies to the MBA itself. The MBA is a big investment of your time, so you better spend it wisely.”

Aalto MBA