Previous page

Executive HR

People come first. 

In the midst of continuous evolution in the technological, social, political and economic environments, people are the most valuable asset in determining the success of your organization.

The Executive HR program focuses on enhancing your strategic HR leadership skills and competencies in a rapidly changing and evolving environment. It is tailored to HR leaders, business partners, learning and development specialists across all sectors in Finland and abroad.

During the program, you will develop your strategic thinking ability and deepen your HR leadership skills and capabilities holistically. You will build your confidence and skills as a credible and valuable partner for senior management, ready to drive organizational transformation.

You will gain relevant, evidence-based knowledge, a theoretical framework, practical tools, resources and technical skills based on the latest research, industry innovations and inspiring case-studies. Our methods are interactive, designed to support your individual learning journey. We encourage you to apply your learning within your organization. A dialogue between theory and practice characterizes our approach. 

Digitalization and globalization have had a wide impact on individuals, careers, professions and entire sectors of industry. The challenge facing many organizations is how to adapt and prepare for the unknown. Individuals, businesses and wider society are being battered by the forces of continuous change.

In future, organizational success will rely on continuous strategic investment in identifying and developing people’s capabilities and motivation, caring for their wellbeing, supporting effective collaboration and harnessing technological innovation – combined with the ability to drive and adapt to change.

Strategic HR is one of the core organizational capabilities of a successful organization. HR is expected to lead the formulation of a people strategy, aligning and linking it effectively with the overall aims of the business, enhancing the optimal implementation and maximizing the impact. This isn’t easy or straightforward.

The Executive HR program offers you a safe platform to experiment and to develop new innovative ideas and solutions for your business. You will have a chance to work on a solution for a real-life business case with your peer group during the program. Proposals will be presented to the group and to the visiting members(s) of the case organization’s senior management team. Your own organization can also put forward a case request. The groups will choose which case they will work on. 

The program is led by internationally distinguished professors and researchers from Aalto University, complemented by experts from our professional networks. A valuable aspect throughout the program will be learning from and sharing knowledge with your fellow peers.

Download Brochure  Contact Us

"One of the best training programs I have participated in."
"I had high expectations and I got what I expected"
"I learned to think on a more strategic level and gained new tools to use going forward."
-2019 participants

The participants will work on a real-life strategic HR challenge of a chosen organization during the program. They will immediately apply their learning in practice and propose a solution for the senior management team of the organization.

Successful completion of the Executive HR program will earn you 4.5 ECTS credits towards our Aalto Executive MBA or Aalto MBA programs.


Participants in the program will be better equipped to drive organizational transformation and strengthen their organization’s capability to be fit for the future. They will understand how HR should take an active role in ensuring continuous business success and how they as HR leaders and influencers can support their organization in achieving this. Participants will have an opportunity to propose real-life cases from their own organization for the group to work on and to develop an innovative solution.

Develop your strategic thinking ability and deepen your HR leadership skills and capabilities holistically
Explore, develop and test solutions for your organization, and share your learning in practice
Deepen your understanding of how HR can support and empower your people and organization to drive organizational transformation and prepare your organization to be fit for the future
Build your confidence and skills as a credible people leader, business partner and strategic influencer


The program is tailored to experienced HR leaders, business partners, learning and development specialists. The participants are likely to have a key role in organizational strategy formulation and implementation. They may be leading or managing an HR function or be in a senior advisory role, influencing decision making and focusing on driving business success and organizational development via their people.

The program is ideal for you if you see yourself in the following. You are committed to developing yourself as a credible HR leader and professional and are willing to drive strategic organizational transformation. You realize that to stay ahead of the game, you and your business will need to make a continuous investment in the skills, capabilities and wellbeing of your people.

Contents and Schedule

The Executive HR program is built around three themes:

  1. HR Driving Strategic Organizational Transformation in the Digital Age
  2. Boosting Organizational Performance by Empowering People and Teams and Enhancing Diversity
  3. Impactful Me and the Power of Us – Growing as a Leader

The first module is held over three consecutive days, the other two modules consist of two days each. Some pre-program and between module work will be required in addition to the face-to-face training. You will work on a case-study as part of a group, and you will be expected to complete some independent written work.

You will be awarded 4.5 ECTS credits towards Aalto EMBA and Aalto MBA programs, after successful completion of the program. In addition, you will receive feedback based on your participation.

Program structure

Pre-program Work

A pre-assignment will be given 3–4 weeks prior to the first training module for orientation and individual preparation. The pre-assignment should be completed before the beginning of the program.

2–3 Day Training Modules

Intensive and inspiring sessions with peers, supported by the Program Director and led by Aalto faculty and our professional partners.

Between Modules Work (4–11 weeks)

Assignments, self- and group study periods, reflection, applying and sharing learning in practice.



Jari Hakanen

Jari Hakanen is Research Professor at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

In the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, he started as a researcher in 1998. Between 2006 and 2007 he worked as a specialized researcher in positive organizational psychology and well-being at work. Since 2007 he has been a senior researcher. Jari is also an adjunct professor (docent) at the University of Helsinki.

Jari’s current research activities are focused on positive work psychology, employee engagement, burnout, salutogenesis, and work-home interface. He has also done research on suicide prevention and care of the dying cancer patients.

Before starting his career as a researcher, he worked as an adult educator in two institutions for more than five years, running courses for unemployed, elderly, and handicapped people and voluntary workers, including professional training for children´s instructors and for youth and leisure instructors. Jari’s professional mission and dream is to contribute to boosting change towards more positive and healthy work-life practices.

Jari obtained his PhD in social psychology from the University of Helsinki in 2005 with a thesis on burnout, engagement, and a life-course life-event perspective on employee well-being.

Olli-Pekka Kauppila

Olli-Pekka Kauppila is Assistant Professor in Organization and Management at Aalto University School of Business, Department of Management Studies.

His key areas of expertise and research are leadership, organizational behavior and commitment, strategy implementation, strategy process, innovations and innovative behaviors.

He has studied the impacts of leaders, analyzing effective leadership styles and how authentic leaders behave. Transformational leadership and creativity are also areas which he is interested in, as a teacher and researcher. Kauppila focuses on proactiveness & ambidextrous behavior at the individual’s level; and, strategy-making, knowledge-sharing, social exchange-relationships, and brokerage-behavior.

Olli-Pekka Kauppila a Ph.D. in Organization and Management from Aalto University School of Business and a M.Sc. in Business Administration and Management from Turku School of Economics.

Derin Kent

Derin Kent is an assistant professor of organization studies at Warwick Business School, United Kingdom, and a visiting researcher in organization and management at Aalto University School of Business. 

His research focuses on the group dynamics of workers in extreme contexts, i.e., those that are isolated, confined, and have the potential to cause severe physical or psychological harm to participants. In these settings, Derin studies the group dynamics of socialization, collective emotions, work meaningfulness, and sensemaking to answer the question, "what do people do individually and in small groups to flourish in extreme situations?"

To explore these topics, Kent has studied physicians responding to lethal viruses (the SARS-1 outbreak), crews aboard container ships, storm chasers hunting tornadoes, and securities traders restoring their workplaces after 9/11. Wherever possible, he has embedded as an ethnographer with people working in these environments to gain firsthand knowledge of their experiences.

Kent's research appears in peer-reviewed academic journals like Organization Studies, Journal of Business Venturing, and Academy of Management Annals, and has been presented at a variety of international conferences. In addition to research, he has experience teaching in undergraduate and MBA programs in North American and European universities.

Derin Kent earned his PhD in Management at Smith School of Business, Queen's University at Kingston, Canada. Besides scholarship, Derin enjoys marathon and trail running, sailing, and storm chasing.

Riitta Lumme-Tuomala

Riitta Lumme-Tuomala’s key qualifications are in the areas of leadership, especially from the point of view of different generations at the same workplace, young potential development, talent management, and individual diversity (MBTI Step I and Step II Certification) and self-leadership.

Dr. Lumme-Tuomala is an experienced and frequent lecturer on the mentioned topics.

Lumme-Tuomala holds a Master of Sciences degree in Economics with a major in International Marketing from the Helsinki School of Economics and EMBA degree from HSE Executive Education. She defended her DBA dissertation on Talent Management in June 2017.

Ben Nothnagel

Ben Nothnagel is a Senior Advisor at Aalto University Executive Education and has worked with Aalto EE for over 20 years specializing in developing the leadership skills of executives who are part of ambitious businesses.

Nothnagel's focus is on encouraging individuals and organizations to excel by increasing self-awareness, creating understanding of the individual diversity of performance and results, enhancing influencing-skills and building high-performance leadership teams.

Nothnagel’s current research focus on three main areas: neuro-leadership (practical lessons that leaders can learn from neuro-science), cognitive decision-making and emotional-intelligence.

Nothnagel teaches periodically in Aalto Executive MBA programs at various locations in Europe and Asia. He is the owner of Benna Oy and is a Senior Advisor at Aalto EE. He works as a consultant and executive-coach all over the world, including the Nordic-countries, Germany, the United States and Asia. His clients include companies such as ABB, Basware, Cargotec, Danfoss, Daimler, Fazer, Finnair, GE, Hewlett-Packard, HKScan, Michelin, Ruukki, Vaisala and Yahoo.

Nothnagel is an Attorney at Law, Myers-Briggs Certified Interpreter and Certified Emotional-Intelligence Practitioner.

Hertta Vuorenmaa

Hertta Vuorenmaa works as a Research Director in the Future of Work research project at Aalto University.

Her current research focuses on changing nature of work and changing people management, HRM in public and private organizations, digitalization, gender and qualitative research methods including ethnography.

Dr. Vuorenmaa is an experienced researcher and trainer. She has been working as a researcher in several large Academy of Finland funded research projects focusing on for example well being at work, people management and its various roles and gender inequalities.

Juha Äkräs

Juha Äkräs is Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Hintsa Performance and Executive in Residence at Aalto University School of Business, Department of Management.

He is co-leading a research program called “The Exponential Work Project: Cascading Wellbeing Climate & Organizational Performance” - a joint research project by Aalto University, Hintsa Performance, and Ilmarinen.

Äkräs has worked as Executive Vice President, Human Resources at Nokia Oyj, member of Nokia Executive Board and Nokia Siemens Networks Board of Directors. Before these, he worked in multiple business manager roles, e.g., Senior Vice President of Core Networks, Nokia Networks. Moreover, he has had multiple positions of trust in business and non-profit organizations.

Juha Äkräs holds a Master of Science in Engineering from Helsinki University of Technology. He also have studied Industrial Management, Work Psychology, and Telecommunications.

Case Speakers

Featured Insights

Program Fee and Registration

Program Start