Magazine of Aalto University Executive Education 1.2012
MindPower Outstanding leadership is not a talent. It is a matter of willpower and mindset. We are shaped by our thoughts and become what we think. Exercise your mind and dare to do the impossible.
Learning by doing and learning by experiment would be, and eventually will be, a paradigm shift in leadership
Most businessmen are able to equip themselves with a decently assembled tie. But many shun a bow tie, as it is notoriously difficult to tie. Looking at an illustration in a gentlemen’s handbook, it is easy to get depressed, as the challenge seems insurmountable. But in practice, it is relatively easy and requires only common sense. Perhaps the same applies to management and leadership. Their essence is easier to grasp when applied to a real-life situation. Käsittää, the Finnish word for grasping a piece of information and turning it into knowledge, is revealing, as its root form indicates touching, Aalto EE’s websites, caressing or probing something by hand. Facebook page and blog keep you up to date on But when it comes to leadership and management, we the latest happenings. are conservative and overly cautious. We treat our practices, Check out www.aaltoee.fi processes and structures as sacred objects that should not and www.aaltoee.sg. be amended or molded without meticulous scrutiny and due consideration. New products, store layouts and advertising campaigns are tested with little regard to expense. But the cheapest, easiest – and unfortunately rarest – experiments are done within the domain of management. Could this work for us better than the old way? How could this be applied in our organization? Shunning management experiments stems from our over paralyzing fear of embarrassment and bloated interest in saving face. We are scared of being proven wrong, scared of being laughed at. Is it more about laziness than about poor self-esteem? Learning by doing and learning by experiment would be, and eventually will be, a paradigm shift in leadership development. Our traditional way of calculating and estimating the workload by in-class days and hours is biased. We know all too well that great effort is required in Dr Pekka Mattila, preparation beforehand and reflection later on. But it is D.Soc.Sc., Executive MBA; too easy to walk in and wait for the guru to broadcast her Group Managing Director, views. We need new methods and frameworks for planning Aalto University Executive and developing executive development programs that Education; Adjunct Professor make a real difference. Moreover, we need more advanced of Practice, Aalto University ways of valuing them and measuring their business impact. School of Economics.
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Brain research helps in leadership development.
Editor in Chief: Pekka Mattila, email@example.com Publisher: Aalto University Executive Education Ltd, Mechelininkatu 3 C, 00100 Helsinki, Finland tel. +358 10 837 3700 www.aaltoee.fi
Learn by doing
Pauliina Parhiala has learned that you do not always need to be available.
Bold ideas emerge when you combine theory with reality.
Learn to listen to the little voice inside your head.
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Sharing is caring. We filled the toolbox with tips on how to increase your own know-how and your company’s success by sharing what you know.
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You can also find this material from web sources.
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Trusting your gut. Understanding human behavior. Using sixth sense.
It can be scary to share your thoughts and ideas. But it can also make you feel good about yourself.
Aalto University Executive Education Ltd (Aalto EE) offers high-quality executive development services, supported by the competence of the new Aalto University. The company has had a subsidiary in Singapore since 2000. Aalto EE’s mission is to build a better world through better leadership and to raise a new generation of leaders. The organization’s strengths lie in its global operating model and versatile offering. Aalto University has brought Aalto EE a multidisciplinary approach to executive development along with innovative learning methods. In 2011, the estimated turnover of Aalto University Executive Education Ltd is €10 million and the headcount is some 50.
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What have you learned about...
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Perseverance was key when Veikko Jääskeläinen decided to export executive education to Asia.
Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish.
It’s mine! a.k.a.
fear of sharing “Social anxiety is the fear of interacting with other people, which can bring on intense feelings of self-consciousness. Put another way, social anxiety is the fear of being judged negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment, humiliation and depression.”
Text: Risto pakarinen
et’s just face it. Sharing is a little scary. We all know the feeling when the teacher singles you out for talking in class. You do not even realize that she is staring at you. Once you do realize it, and look up, the teacher looks you in the eye and says: “If it is such a great story, would you like to share it with the rest of the class?” Of course not. People generally want to share their ideas, thoughts and feelings, but only when they get to choose what to share and where to share it. In Medieval Europe, sharing food was normal practice, but when the aristocrats wanted to differentiate themselves from the masses, they stopped sharing and started using silverware. The masses followed their lead, because they, too, wanted to be cool. It is the old dream of social upward mobility. Interestingly, though, while we have more things in our lives than ever before – and therefore more to share – we share less than before. The ideal of sharing has gotten lost in the shuffle. The idea of having a roommate is going the way of the dodo bird, and it is only a last ditch effort if you can not find your own home. We like to think that carpooling is a good idea, but not today, not for me, maybe later.
In the information age, we are sharing stories – and little pieces of ourselves. We share our location, our state of mind, our jokes, and our photos. We do not mind when Facebook reminds the world of our birthday. When we open ourselves like that, we also open ourselves to criticism. What we share of our world leaves us vulnerable for open evaluation. They may ridicule, bully and humiliate us. It is not easy to let it all hang out. decide what category you fall in. That kind of social phobia can be summed up as a “fear of being judged.” Some people try to deal with it with a preemptive strike, blasting “I do not care what you think of me” and doing it with the help of a megaphone. Beyond, a UK-based digital agency, recently conducted a survey of 1,500 people in the United Kingdom. Their most frequently cited reason to share was the desire to be helpful (39.6%), while the second highest was to selectively share relevant content to a specific friend (26.1%). Beyond called the first group Altruists, and the second group Selectives. Passionates (16.7%) share because they share a passion with someone else. Connectors share to inspire socializing with friends (7.9%). Trendspotters share because it shows others they are on top of what is new (5.6%). Provocateurs share because they want a reaction (2.6%). Finally, Careerists share because it helps them in business (2.5%). So, while it is easy to be cynical, modern sharing is not all image building. Sharing is caring.
“In the information age, we are sharing stories – and little pieces of ourselves.”
It is not that we do not like to share. According to a recent UK study, 75% would like to share more. Seven out of ten people say that sharing makes them feel better about themselves, and eight out of ten say that sharing makes them happy, proving correct the wisdom of the old Nordic www.youtube.com proverb, “Shared joy is double the joy and shared Care Bears: The Sharing Song sorrow is half the sorrow.” The Sing Sings: Let’s Share! 4
Text: Satu Jussila, photos: Junnu Lusa, Chin Yong Sak
works as the chief executive officer of Energy Brands Ltd, a global company that sells energy drinks, energy gum and other energy products.
Are chief executives typically gut players? To be honest, I am not sure what a typical CEO is. Every one of us is an individual with a different background. What I have learned over the years is that it is very important to have a hands-on touch. Sales for my companyâ€™s energy drink brands, Mad-Croc, Red Devil and Croc Tail, are rapidly growing worldwide, which means that I travel some 200 days a year. Almost daily I encounter situations where rational analysis is not the only basis for the decisions I make. My gut instinct is not always correct, but I estimate that eight times out of ten, I get it right. This level of risktaking is needed when you have a company that is expanding.
t u o b a d e n r a le u o Y e v What ha t, Trusting your gut instinc
What role does rational analysis play in your decision-making? Data is good to have if it is available, but you still need instinct and the ability to look at things differently. I read something important in one of my friendâ€™s business books years ago. It said you should keep the fixed costs low and variables can then fluctuate according to the risk taken. My experience is this often leads to very good end results.
Can you remember a time when you relied on gut feeling? My father wanted me to be an engineer. I remember taking the entrance exam really quickly and rushing out, thinking I failed the test. But to my amazement, I passed! I ended up explaining to my father that I was not accepted. I have nothing against engineers, certainly, but I just knew that it was not for me. I went into business and have never regretted the decision. As a young man, I set the goal of having one Finnish mark for every citizen in Finland. I have since set my target a little higher. Nowadays, I aim for one euro for every person walking the Earth. You have to remain hungry if you want to be an entrepreneur. 5
On top of my agenda Pauliina Parhiala is an independent consultant based in Helsinki. Previously, she worked as the director of Finn Church Aid and Crisis the Management Initiative. She works on issues around humanitarian relief, development cooperation and peace, and develops leadership and management competences.
LISTEN. When ideas provoke strong emotions, you should separate the emotions from you. If you do this, you will not feel insulted and can see the emotions expressed in the context of the decisions to be made. It helps to listen, instead of reacting to the intense feelings. People who oppose the idea can have interesting information that helps you weigh the risks involved. Engage the people who feel differently than you do. Find out what they have to say and use this information to make your final decision.
works as the head of sales and accounts at Aalto University Executive Education since last October.
How much did intuition impact your decision to change jobs? It definitely played a role. The advertisement immediately caught my eye. I did some research and liked the new path the organization was taking. This feeling grew stronger after I met Pekka Mattila, the managing director of Aalto EE. I liked his vision and realized that we have a similar way of thinking. I think you should go with your gut feeling, when possible. I know someone who was out of work for a year and was getting worried. She was offered a really good position in marketing, but decided not to take it. She said it just did not feel right. This takes a lot of courage and requires a high tolerance towards risk. In the end, she found another job a week later.
What have You learned about
Using sixth sense in the workplace,
Does instinct play a part in your hiring decisions? I rely a lot on my sixth sense both at work and in life, generally. This also applies to when I hire people. It takes only about two minutes to form an impression on someone and, after that, everything boils down to this weird thing called chemistry. You can feel it right away when a conversation is going well. People who are good conversationalists understand how to feed on the vibe they get from the person they are speaking with.
How do I know what I want to be when I grow up? In our early twenties, only a few of us know where we will end up for the rest of our working lives. If you are still on that journey, ask yourself what makes you truly happy. What are your strengths? I genuinely believe that if you set a fixed goal, you are more likely to achieve it. So write it down: â€œIn five years, I will be doing X and earning Y.â€? The hard part is deciding what you want to do, not how to get there.
RESULTS. So many of us are overwhelmed with the amount of email we have to answer each day. When it comes to reading email after work or on vacation, we all have to draw our own lines. For managers, if you answer all email messages during your off time, you are sending a message to the staff that they must do the same. We have to separate what matters are urgent and when other people can wait. For me, being available at all times is not essential. The results I produce are.
AGILITY. With business environments becoming ever more complex, I think we are seeing an increase in unpredictable events. Just when you thought you understood the markets, something surprising happens that impacts your ability to deliver. In order to be a winner in this process, agility is required. Also, organizations should question why there is a need to produce profits quickly. Sometimes a slower approach brings more sustainability over the long term.
What have You learned about
Understanding human behavior,
Are Asians more rational thinkers, as compared to people from the Nordic countries? I would not want to generalize by saying that Asians are more rational or less instinctive, or that things are changing one way or another. The crystal ball is getting hazier by the day. Having trained in neurobiology, I fully appreciate that our behavior is more emotional than we would like to admit. But even if you consider yourself instinctive, that does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that you are irrational. Or to frame it another way, being rational is not by itself a good thing. ‘Instinct is as instinct does.’ By this I mean nothing is essentially good or bad. Many things in life depend on the context and environment. Luck and timing play a part, too!
Does having a technical background make you less likely to think instinctively? At the Singapore University of Technology and Design, we are putting humanity back into the heart of technology. Good design understands human behavior. To apply design thinking, you must understand human beings from a system’s perspective: from biology to psychology, from technology to society. Robust data and analysis serves as a foundation of understanding how to make good decisions. But we must complement it with an understanding of behavioral patterns (where gut instincts play a part) and have an understanding of impact, not merely outcome.
works as deputy director at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
What power does instinct hold in helping me to reach my full potential? I think that if we can become more honest with ourselves, we can harness our intuition to guide us into making better decisions. The ancient Chinese philosophy of I-Ching is a marvelous example of a holistic wisdom in which you combine rational analysis and observations with an instinctive understanding of human nature and natural phenomena.
Rewire your brain Neuroleadership applies the findings of neuroscience to the art of leadership. Text: Amanda Thurman, Illustration: Santtu Mustonen
Feature1 Leading minds
growing body of research indicates that understanding what is happening in our brains can actually improve our leadership skills. Neuroleadership – a term coined by Australian author and leadership consultant Dr. David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz, research psychiatrist at UCLA – applies the findings of neuroscience to the art of leadership. Courses on neuroleadership are already being taught in leading universities and business schools. Also, companies such as Cargill, an international producer and marketer of agricultural products, and AIG, an American multinational insurance corporation, are putting it into practice in their management training. Even the United States military is investigating whether neuroleadership could enhance the abilities of their troops. Schwartz has a simple message to help us become better at the things we do: pay attention. It seems that focusing the mind on identifying and creating new leadership behavior, rather than continuing with the same old habits, can actually create chemical and physical changes in your brain. “From my perspective,” explains Schwartz, “the real link between neuroscience and leadership is attention. Neuroleadership accentuates the insight that attention rewires the brain, and uses neuroscience as a means of helping leaders train the attentions both of themselves and of their organizations.” Paying attention is vital. So how does it work? Well, the brain is very malleable, and this “neuroplasticity” allows it to constantly adapt at a cellular level in reaction to our environment and experiences. Taxi drivers, for example, have a much larger posterior hippocampus than average, as this is the part of the brain devoted to the spatial representation of surroundings. Monks and others who regularly practice meditation show less activity in the default mode network – a network linked to self-centered thinking, 10
When bad management techniques become habits, they become wired into the brains of leaders.
daydreaming and anxiety. Athletes’ brains are larger in the parts that control hand-eye coordination. Basically, the more time you spend on a specific activity, the stronger the neural pathways responsible for executing that activity become. Paying attention actually changes the brain – meaning professionals in different parts of business actually have physiological differences that may make them see the world differently. When you are not used to an activity, it is very energy-intensive to carry it out. Any new task will use your brain’s working memory – the prefrontal cortex – to process the new information and compare it to information already stored. Once you have mastered the activity, the process is dealt with in the basal ganglia, where you do not really need to consciously think about it. Using the basal ganglia requires much less energy, which is why we find tasks we are used to less tiring to handle. The prefrontal cortex tires easily and can only process a limited amount of information at a time. To free up its processing power, we need to consciously repeat an activity, so it can be dealt with semi-automatically. Change causes discomfort.
A lot of what leaders do in their day-to-day work lives is governed by the basal ganglia – they have the experience to make leadership routine. The downside of this is that changing their activities – for example, bringing a new management practice into place – leads to discomfort and mental exhaustion, because it requires the use of the prefrontal cortex again. The result? An avoidance of change, even if it is for the better. There is a hardwired neural response to feel physiological discomfort when presented with change. When bad management techniques and cognitive errors become habits, they become “wired into the brains of leaders and wired into the organizational structure of how decisions are made,” explains Schwartz. They are now “part of the
Josephine Thomson, Master Certified Coach and founding member of the NeuroLeadership Institute, sees firsthand the benefits of using neuroleadership techniques in her coaching. And she is finding more and more companies are interested in reaping the benefits. “Organizations are seeking growth in very competitive contexts – a squeeze on resources, global competition, and economic unpredictability,” she explains.
habit center that runs cognition in the brain and impedes the use of frontal cortex activity – because habitual patterns involving cognitive distortions do not give the frontal cortex adequate information to work on.” To help with this, Schwartz suggests mindful awareness and paying attention to attention. His new book You Are Not Your Brain is full of practical training tips and cognitive and mindful awareness exercises. Neural signal of leaders.
Associate Professor Pierre Balthazard is the principal investigator of The Neuroscience of Leadership Project at Arizona State University. Instead of looking at how the findings of neuroscience can be applied to leadership, he and his colleagues have been using brain scans, such as EEG and fMRIs machines, to study executives’ brains in the hope of finding patterns to use to develop training. “So far, we have assessments of over 350 individuals in leadership positions. We also have data from 43 entre-
“Advances in our understanding of neuroscience will help us form better leadership and management practices for sustainable human and organizational growth and improvement,” Thomson continues. “Understanding the brain significantly assists in the development of practical skills in the four domains of neuroleadership: decision making and problem solving, emotional regulation and staying cool under pressure, collaborating with
Leaders are no smarter than average people. Pierre Balthazard
Neuroleadership in practice
and influencing others, and facilitating sustainable change.” Thomson firmly believes that the discoveries and research being generated from the field of neuroleadership will lead to improved practices in leadership thinking and performance. “I know what I have learned through my post-graduate study of the neuroscience of leadership has significantly enhanced the effectiveness of my coaching sessions – and it is addictive!”
preneurial teams (210 individuals), where we examined concepts like shared leadership,” says Balthazard. All this data is now being analyzed – “my group is in the process of translating our work into leadership development protocols,” explains Balthazard. Data from the brain scans has been correlated with the results of a leadership questionnaire given to the subordinates of those scanned, asking whether the leaders were inspirational and charismatic. The most outstanding leaders have a visionary impact on both their workers and their organizations, and it is these leaders that the study wants to find ways to emulate. Balthazard has demonstrated that there is a neural signature of leadership – a pattern of neural activity – which means that a norm can be derived. Once there is enough data to see what a normal leadership pattern is, “neurotherapies – not unlike clinical therapies for attention deficit disorder or stress – can be developed,” Balthazard says. ”My goal is really to understand the underpinnings of leadership per se and then work with neuroscientists to come up with an operant conditioning protocol to achieve desired changes. We will be testing out such a protocol in 2012.” Finding effective leadership. These protocols are basically brain-training methods that help individuals change their behavior. The ultimate goal of Balthazard’s work is to assess leadership potential using neuroscience technology and then use neurofeedback to develop the neurological connections associated with effective ☞
Professionals in different parts of business actually have physiological differences that may make them see the world differently.
Reading the mind. Christina Krause, professor of cognitive science at the University of Helsinki’s Institute of Behavioral Sciences, is also studying executives’ brains. She is heading up an exciting new project with the evocative title “Do you mind if I read your mind?” (DYMIRYM). 12
The project – which is still being piloted – aims to use neuroscience to help enhance leadership training and development. “The main goal is to provide leaders with information about themselves that they would not be able to acquire any other way,” explains Krause. “This information, we hope, will then be used for personal development.” The project will look at how the crucial aspects of leadership can be observed in human brains – both in how the brain activates in response to leadership thoughts and actions and how the actual brain structure may differ. “New EEG-signal tools, which have been developed in previous cognitive science research projects, will be utilized,” says Krause. The neuroscience project will help leaders by showing how their brains react to situations typically encountered in leadership roles. “The findings from the DYMIRYM project will give leaders insights into their level of pressure tolerance – will they crack, overreact or behave normally in high-stress situations – using psycho-physiological and behavioral techniques,” she explains. These insights into rising arousal and stress have the potential to be developed into commercial applications. Reaching your potential. Leena Huotari, director
leadership behaviors. “The trick is to split leadership into its antecedents or components – like ‘vision’ or ‘attention to detail’ or ‘memory’ instead of a general concept like ‘leadership,’ ” he says. “Indeed, my team is developing exercises for a suite of leadership ‘behaviors.’ ” “Our subjects already receive feedback on a number of marker patterns that seem consistent with visionary or transformational leadership,” he continues. “Although we do not use operant conditioning yet, this feedback alone offers opportunities for subjects to learn about themselves.” Biologically speaking, leaders’ brains are not that different from those of normal workers. “Leaders are no smarter than average people. What they do have are neural pathway patterns that provide them with capacities to deal with people and problems with empathy and ease.” These can be developed and improved. Balthazard also believes neuroleadership has a commercial future: “As a researcher with a healthy skepticism about new theories and practices, I now have little doubt that valid neural approaches to develop leadership will become commercially viable products in the not too distant future.”
of the Aalto Leadership Lab® at the Aalto University Executive Education, which is partially funding the project, sees this as one way to achieve their goal of helping people to reach 10X leadership. Huotari describes 10X leadership as “developing leadership to such a level that it will cause a tenfold increase in organizational competence and talent.” With her team, she is looking for expertise across the sciences to find the best way of doing just that. Neuroscience is becoming an important innovator in business education, according to Huotari. “For instance, there already are research results showing the reasons for people’s behavior,” she explains. “Neuroscience will provide more hard facts to explain human behavior which still is seen as a soft, unreasoned, even irrational area of business. It will give information that will help us to become more conscious of our reactions and behavior and help us to change them to more fruitful ones. Reflection skills are a key element of leadership development.” Huotari has high hopes for the project results. “We hope we will find information that will help us to carry out leadership training and coaching more effectively,” she says. So, it seems if we want to be better leaders of more efficient organizations, the future of neuroscience is something we all should be paying attention to. •
mail, Facebook, Google and Twitter – just what are they doing to our brains? Are you fully immersed in this issue of Profile, or are you multitasking, distracted by the ping of an email, or have an urge to check the latest headlines? Perhaps you had a quick look on Facebook or Twitter, before returning to the magazine? If you always find yourself hopping from one distraction to another, you are not alone. Dr. Gary Small, a leading American neuroscientist at UCLA, wonders whether the constant bombardment of information we experience may be destroying our ability to concentrate. Despite the great things technology has brought us, there are studies showing potential links with increases in attention deficit disorder, depression, anxiety, autism, and social isolation. In his 2008 book, iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, Dr. Small explores how the Internet has changed our brains. He divides us into two groups: digital immigrants – those over 30 – and digital natives – those under 30 who have used technology their
whole lives. Brain scans taken while the subjects surfed the web showed that the digital natives had far more extensive brain activity than the immigrants, particularly in the parts of the prefrontal cortex associated with problemsolving and decision-making. Small repeated the test six days later, having told the digital immigrants to spend an hour a day online in the meantime. Now their brain activity was much closer to that of the natives. “Five hours on the Internet and the native subjects had already rewired their brains,” wrote Small. Limiting our focus skills. On the surface, this sounds like a good thing, but Small does not think that our constant multitasking is beneficial to productivity or attention levels – instead, he says, we are “keeping tabs on everything but not really focusing on anything.” And while we are developing our problem-solving and decisionmaking skills, we are losing our abilities in other areas. “As the brain evolves and
for an extended period, the Internet encourages us to flit from one thought to another. “It is possible to think deeply while surfing the Net,” Carr writes, “but that is not the type of thinking the technology encourages or rewards.” Instead, it tends to transform us into “lab rats constantly pressing levers to get tiny pellets of social or intellectual nourishment.” Carr explains that the brain simply does not have enough working memory to comprehend so much incoming information. Only two Shattering our to four items can be processed attention spans. “I would at a time – way fewer than get a couple of paragraphs in the usual number of links and or a couple of pages, and my mind wanted to behave the way adverts we see on a typical webpage. And for every new it behaves when I am online bit of information coming in – jumping from page to page, another bit is lost before it checking email, clicking on links,” he says. When he asked can be properly processed and transferred to long-term around, he found there was widespread anxiety about how memory. Instead of a constant flow of information that we can the Internet is changing the digest at our own pace, we way we think and behave, and have a jumble of inputs from many people reporting shata myriad of sources, leading tered attention spans. swiftly to cognitive overload. Carr feels that while books allow us to think deeply and remain focused on a topic shifts its focus towards new technological skills, it drifts away from fundamental social skills,” he writes. In The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction, Nicholas Carr also questions the effects of technology on our brains. A few years earlier, he found that he could no longer fully concentrate over a longer period of time, for example, when reading a good book.
usiness needs. b e lif la re h it w ry o e you combine th en h w ge er em s a e id Bold
Feature 2 Business minds
Who says learning has to take place only in the classroom? When we unleashed students to apply their learning to leading international companies, innovative ideas resulted. Text: Katja Alaja, photos: Juha Törmälä
Finnair turns into a design airline. This was the brief for the students of Aalto University School of Economics: “Finnair wants to distinguish itself from other airlines with its service design concept and become the most wanted European four-star airline between Europe and Asia. As part of this development process, your task is to benchmark three airlines and three hotels, which fall into the following categories – low budget, design, and luxury. As an end result, we will get a theoretical value curve, which includes the ten most important criteria having an impact on customers’ choice of an airline.” In just four weeks, Kati Lehesmaa, vice president of customer experience design, and her colleagues from the internal service design development group at Finnair, the Finland-based airline company, was able to start reflecting on the ideas that the students presented. The student groups prepared their assignments as part of a servicemarketing course at Aalto University School of Economics. For Finnair, the chance to use academic research was a natural reason to cooperate with Aalto University. “We wanted fresh angles on this topic. It was really amazing how open and direct the students were in their feedback. They also offered constructive criticism, and we respect that,” Lehesmaa says. From self-service to live opera. Finnair has defined the steps where service can make a difference in the customer’s journey, from buying a ticket to giving feedback. Lehesmaa says the students came up with valuable ideas that Finnair can use in this new service design concept. The ideas ranged from service encounters to visual concepts. “Interestingly, the students highlighted self-service as a means to make traveling easier and more enjoyable. For example, people could download magazines to their tablet devices. Students also thought that customers would be willing to pay for certain customizable services. It also became clear that web pages and social media should never be on the savings list,” says Lehesmaa, summarizing the results of the mutual sparring session. Students also suggested offering live entertainment during the flight. “It is a wow idea that passengers could enjoy a fabulous live performance by the Metropolitan Opera,” Lehesmaa reflects. Another idea was to group passengers into specific areas. “Some business travelers want to work, some just want to sleep. People traveling with children have different needs from those traveling alone,” Lehesmaa says. Service design plays a key role in Finnair’s Asia strategy. The company aims to double its Asian traffic from the current number of 70 weekly flights by 2020. In spring 2012, Finnair will open a new route to Chongqing, one of the fastest growing technological hubs and a center for Yangtze River cruises in China. Lehesmaa is so satisfied with the results that she plans to “Rethinking the business model is vital continue the cooperation. “The next step for us is to think together for Finnair, because the traditional practices about Finnair’s service to Asia.” ☞ of the airline industry are no longer
“It was really amazing how open and direct the students were in their feedback.”
sufficient in a highly competitive market.” Pekka Mattila, Group Managing Director of Aalto EE
Saga Furs goes web.
“One of the most interesting ideas presented to us was a leadership question.”
Saga Furs was a new fur-auction company in need of assistance. It was looking for insights on how to support its product and brand management process. But more than just theory, Saga Furs wanted ideas it could put to use in its daily work. That is why they contacted Aalto University School of Economics. Saga Furs was born as a result of an acquisition when, last October, Finnish Fur Sales, which organizes international fur auctions, bought Saga Furs Design Centre, a fur product development center, along with the Saga Furs brand. Openness is key. For Saga Furs, one theme was supreme: corporate social responsibility. “Marketing students felt we should provide more information about the fur production process and how we can trace down the whole production chain – from fur producers to our courtyard. They also encouraged us to highlight the ecological aspect of fur. A fur coat is not something you buy and throw away easily. These ideas help us to inspire international fashion designers to use fur,” says Päivi Mononen-Mikkilä, director of communications and corporate social responsibility at Saga Furs. She and her team member Ljudmila Sirjaeva met the students four times. Two Saga Fur briefs were followed by presentations with students and lively discussion sessions. “One of the most interesting ideas presented to us was a leadership question. Should Saga Furs somehow motivate fur farm employees?” Mononen-Mikkilä says. The marketing students also brought up the incentives for the fur producers as another means to get quality furs that are produced responsibly and thus fit into the company’s brand. “One of our core values is honesty, so these ideas work nicely for our company,” she adds. Satisfied with the outcome. Saga Furs has put these ideas
into use in their newly launched web site, which also offers a forum for fashion designers to share ideas. Additionally, the company has published its first Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) report on corporate social responsibility, which gives more in-depth information about Saga Furs’ responsibility actions. Mononen-Mikkilä is satisfied with the smooth cooperation with Aalto University School of Economics and Aalto University Executive Education. She appreciates how quickly the students understood the fur business and the various clients of Saga Furs. “To my surprise, some marketing students contacted fur producers to boost their “It is thrilling to have our students participate in the evolution of Saga into brainstorming process.” a niche fashion brand.”
Pekka Mattila, Group Managing Director of Aalto EE
Ruukki, manufacturer and supplier of metals and metal-based products, signed up for the Ruukki Marketing Excellence program to refocus its marketing approach from technology to customers. “Over the past years, we have shifted the focus of marketing from pure communications to a more strategic and business growth direction. For example, we are now emphasizing customer segments and the positioning of our businesses and products. This program is a natural evolution in our efforts to extend our marketing capabilities,” sums up Kimmo Kanerva, marketing director at Ruukki. Marketing Excellence, Ruukki’s development program, uses innovative methods to flush out specific company needs. In the pilot program, participants work with the construction industry. There are two learning themes: customer innovation and marketing planning. To enhance their current knowledge, the participants read various articles and attend two-day workshops held by top professors from Aalto University. Together, they learn new concepts and participate in group discussions. Key role in the learning is given to Ruukki’s real-life business cases. The cases and key learning outcomes are discussed in wrap-up sessions where the focus is on finding ways to leverage the key results within Ruukki. Marketing Excellence is a unique learning concept, as it is meant not only for marketing and sales people but also for technology managers and directors. In the pilot program, participants revealed that thinking about value-based marketing and sales was not an easy group project, as each participant worked in different functions inside Ruukki and brought his or her own perspective to the issues. “It really expanded our thinking. The target customers are architects, property investors and construction companies, to name a few. They have different needs, each of which must be met, as together they have an important impact on sales. We developed our skill to highlight the right key advantages to each client group,” Kanerva explains.
Ruukki extends its strategic marketing.
“It really expanded our thinking.”
Triple advantage. The work on Ruukki business cases continues even
though the program is officially over. “Our marketing, sales and technology people are applying their new skills in commercializing and launching two different Ruukki products. Both were hand-picked by the management group of the company,” Kanerva says. The first product is an airtight sandwich panel for the “The commitment from Ruukki’s top construction industry. The new product can save tens of marketing management was crucial to thousands of euros on the annual energy consumption of a the success of this program.” building. The other product is an innovative package to sell Raija Kuokkanen, rain water pipes to private consumers. Instead of picking up Senior Account Director of Aalto EE a hundred parts by hand, buyers get all they need in two neat packages. The next development program is already in the pipeline. “When we chose to partner with Aalto University Executive Education, we felt that their pedagogical methods for executive level learning are very special. We were right,” Kanerva concludes. • 17
Knowledge A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.
In search of the right mindset
Before you send a manager abroad, there are a few things you ought to consider. Expatriated managers are often required to solve problems for which they have no empirical background. Decision making in a foreign country is trickier than it may seem.
refers to the frameworks we use to aid in decision making. These mechanisms we employ to think and respond to problems are enormously important. Without these heuristic aids, our brains would be unable to cope with the data we process on a daily basis. Another way to think of mindsets is that they are habitual and help us determine how we will interpret and respond to situations. Facing a new situation, we look for a familiar pattern, then adopt and adapt empirically based mindsets to deal with problemtypes. Take, for instance, when you come upon a car accident. This triggers an immediate desire to assist the victims and call emergency services because your mind reminds you that the people in the car may be injured. Such mindsets do not significantly differ between people from the East or West. Why is this? Because mindsets are memetic. This means they replicate horizontally across ethnic and national boundaries. They also evolve as the host individual encounters new contexts. What is the link between Mindsets, Institutions and Mental Inertia? Institutions or ‘the rules of the game’ incentivize entrepreneurial behavior for organizations and individuals. As individuals interpret the institutional environment, they formulate and adapt mindsets in response to these rules. Where individual preferences are well aligned with institutions, behavioral costs are low. Institutions, therefore, incentivize organizations and individuals to favor certain norms: assumptions, choices or behavior. A firm-based institution or a routine provides the trained individual with a set of preferences common and/or compatible with those of his or her peers. Within organizations, managers adopt and adapt routines to facilitate decentralized decision making and reduce transaction costs. Cognitive biases or mental inertia emerge and are resistant to change where they favor dominant stakeholders. The challenge for managers is to overcome stagnation and generate options strategically for the organization and its 18
stakeholders. In principle, problem solving for local managers is no different in the East or West. However, expatriate managers are often required to solve problems for which they have no empirical background. In such contexts, mindsets carried from home – be that East or West – may prove a liability or offer little immediate value. Learning creates options. To justify expatriating a manager, the firm must weigh up the costs and benefits of remedying resource constraints. Expatriation costs are universal although they are substantially higher in countries with unfavorable institutions. Within the firm, foreign and local managers must apply themselves to adapt mindsets. With these additional barriers to efficiency, why bother with expatriates? Capturing benefits from capabilities arbitrage is the short answer. It presupposes a need to overcome mental inertia – at the head office and/or the subsidiary – and through pluralism, improve mindset coherence within the organization. Besides supporting the firm’s cultural integrity, expatriation facilitates the transfer of capabilities and knowledge. While the short-term costs of expatriation are substantial, the long-term benefits should, by way of these transfers, increase the options for the firm and its stakeholders’ growth.
Edward Buckingham, MBA, is a PhD candidate at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. He teaches International Business, Management in China and Entrepreneurship in Indonesia. He is currently based in Indonesia, where he is researching entrepreneurship.
Feature 3 Intuitive minds
What is intuition? Intuition allows you to make split-second decisions. But in order to be a good leader, you need solid experience and a tactical maneuvering ability to back it up.
Do you think this article will be useful to you?
here can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis,” says Malcolm Gladwell in Blink, a book about rapid cognition. The part of our brain that can leap to spontaneous split-second decisions and quick judgments based on very little evidence is called the adaptive unconscious. According to Gladwell, the study of this kind of decision making is one of the most important new fields in psychology. But he admits we are innately suspicious of this kind of rapid cognition, which is another word for intuition. And he is not the only one to admit it. ☞ Text: Leena Koskenlaakso 19
Are you sure? No
prefer ‘real proof or certainty’ before deciding, and this preference negates or diminishes the importance of intuition in their leadership approach and development,” says consultant Ben Nothnagel of Benna Oy. He is a member of the NeuroLeadership Institute, and acts as a lecturer for Aalto University Executive Education in their leadership training programs in China, Poland, Taiwan, the United States, Finland and Malaysia. Vital in uncertain situations.
“Intuition, of course, is ultimately a brain process. I see intuitive leadership as the ability to access your implicit knowledge and experience in an unconscious process, a willingness to trust your situational instinct, and the confidence to apply or implement your intuition. And the ability to learn is a vital component of intuition.” Nothnagel suggests that there is less need for intuition in stable situations where facts are clear and business outcomes can be predicted by using rational business models and ‘provable’ or rational reasoning. “But the ability to be intuitive becomes important in uncertain, unfamiliar situations, where rational reasoning cannot guarantee a positive outcome.” He is convinced that as certainty diminishes in a global business world, the ability to be intuitive will be an increasingly important quality and criterion of successful leaders. Accuracy improves with age.
“For me, intuition is strongly based on experience,” says Pekka Laaksonen, chief executive officer of Valio, the biggest milk processor in Finland. “I find it quite difficult to tell when it is analytical thinking that I am using, and when it is intuition that is being activated. Intuition is a very natural process that 20
HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR INTUITION
“We are all born with the ability or possibility to be intuitive, but not all of us are willing to develop our intuition further, or to access our intuitive potential in uncertain situations. Many leaders
Be present in the moment Learn to be present in the moment. Many of us are too busy to be present in our daily lives at work or at home, and that robs us of the opportunity to learn, or to form and access credible experience. The feeling of being too busy harms our ability to gain experience from our own lives, and erodes our ability to be an influential intuitive leader. Get to know yourself Try meditation to see if it suits you. Or learn to observe what the reactions of your body (such as a sudden stomach ache when you think about a steak) and the changes in your feelings mean. It may be a sign that steak is not good for you, or that you are hungry. Learn to classify these non-analytical signals and decide what they mean for you personally. Use and listen to your intuition Try using your intuition in decision making, and afterwards check if the direction it pointed you was correct or not. Testing your intuition gives you corrective feedback on whether the decision was based on your fears, wishful thinking, or proper intuition.
These tips were given by Ben Nothnagel, Asta Raami and Samu Mielonen
improves with age and experience. Also young people use their intuitive knowledge, but the older you get, the more the accuracy of your intuition is enhanced, and the more hits you get.” Intuition researchers have claimed that intuition is especially useful in situations where there is either too much or too little information, but Laaksonen does not agree. “I think this comes down to how you as a leader use your time. As soon as you come across a new idea or situation, you must be able to intuitively assess whether it has commercial potential and whether it makes sense economically. This is the most useful type of intuition in business management. You must be very strict about not using your time to things and projects that will not turn out well in the end. When you are developing new products, your inner computer must immediately be able to tell whether there exists a market for the product, and whether you are truly competitive on that market.”
Does this make sense? No
Useful in business processes.
At Valio, there is room for intuition in many business processes. “We have three business processes which probably exist in all companies. Firstly, we have the order and delivery process, secondly, the product development and marketing process, and thirdly, the customer process,” Laaksonen explains. “By default, the product development and marketing process, which involves renewal, research and development, and creation of both new products and new marketing concepts, is very innovation centered and therefore open to intuition. But there are many stages in product development. At the initial stage, there is
Check out Malcolm Gladwell: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Little, Brown and Company 2005 Daniel H. Pink: A whole new mind, Riverhead Trade 2006 Howard Gardner: 5 Minds for the Future, Harvard Business School Press 2009 Francis P. Cholle: The Intuitive Compass: Why the Best Decisions Balance Reason and Instinct, Jossey-Bass 2011
very much space for intuition, but the further we get in the development process, the more rigorous the process gets, and the more testing is involved. New milk-based products such as yogurts are always tested in blind taste tests, and if the majority of the people who taste a new product do not like it, the product is not launched to the market.” If a company is not able to bring new products to the market it will die eventually, says Laaksonen, and if production does not
Will this work? No
work properly, the end result is the same. But the use of intuition is not limited to a particular business process. “There is tremendous potential for intuitive insight in the order and delivery process. And the same applies also to the customer interface. We must have spontaneous insight into how our customers can succeed
and prosper with our products. Here, only the sky is the limit.” Cannot force intitution.
Running a business involves three levels: the operative basic level, the tactical level, and the strategic level. “Young people graduating from universities have an extremely high ability to grasp strategies and operative daily problems, such as how a machine works. All of this requires rational thinking. But as soon as we approach tactical questions, they just do not get it – they cannot come up with a quick tactical solution. Tactical decision making calls for speed, and speed in decision making can only be achieved through experience that has been accrued over time,” Laaksonen points out. “To be able to make quick tactical decisions, your intuitive inner computer must be in good working order. You must instantaneously see where the money comes from, and what kind of decision is necessary in the situation at hand.”
According to Laaksonen, you cannot force intuition. “As we live our daily lives, we come across different situations that must be solved appropriately. The way you lead others is important, for it is the employees who are a
Are you fast enough? No
company’s most important asset. As a leader, you set the targets, provide the resources and try to get people to assume responsibility for the tasks assigned to them. And finally you measure the outcome.” “Do not trust any fixed formulas,” Laaksonen urges. “Use your own intuition to find your own way. Keep an open mind, separate correlations from causalities, and develop your ability to focus and analyze things quickly by practicing continuous learning and collecting a lot of stuff on the hard drive of your inner computer. This way, you will learn to see where the beef is.” •
Will you read the sidebar? No
TEACHING INTUITION IN SCHOOLS As long as intuition is not being taught in schools, we cannot take advantage of its vast potential. “Scientific research during the recent decades has changed the earlier notion of human beings as purely analytical and rational actors,” says Asta Raami, lecturer, designer and researcher at Aalto University School of Art and Design in Helsinki. “It has been demonstrated scientifically that we think both logically and intuitively. When combined with rational thinking, intuition constitutes an integral part of humanity. Yet the use of intuition is taught in schools only very seldom.”
Raami and her Aalto University researcher colleague Samu Mielonen, CEO of Antimatter Design Oy, have studied intuition in the Intuition in Creative Processes research project of 2008–2011, funded by the Academy of Finland. They have also coached more than one hundred students in the Coaching Creativity courses provided by the Media Lab at Aalto University School of Art and Design during years 2004–2011. “Much of the course focused on developing intuitive skills. It was pioneering
work, and many times it forced us to enter our own discomfort zones,” as Raami puts it. Intuitive abilities are boosted especially during art classes and in various subjects requiring skills of the hand, but conscious exercises that train students to develop and exploit intuition are not being taught in primary schools or in universities, Raami and Mielonen point out. “Intuition is a culturally difficult topic that raises an emotional defense. It is belittled and marginalized as ‘girly stuff,’ and intuition researchers are often taken for weirdos. We lack even the vocabulary to properly describe intuitive experiences,” notes Mielonen.
Intuition is the most important ingredient in creativity – both artistic and scientific – according to the researcher duo. But they say developing intuitive skills should not be limited to art classes. Also physics and math students would benefit from intuitive thinking. Thinking rationally, it makes sense to develop your intuition. Mere analytical thinking is not enough, so school teachers and researchers should get together to devise new ways of teaching intuitive skills. The first intuition course for teachers, launched at Aalto University in autumn 2011, is a first step in this direction.
Sharing is now cutting-edge in business. It is the seed to success. You are what you share, so start sharing!
Share = tell others that you know
Text: satu rämö
The more you share your ideas, the more your reputation as an expert will grow. Tuomo Peltola is a senior consultant at Digia Plc, an information and communications system integrator. He says at the workplace, there should be no such thing as “my documents.” “Only the information which must be kept classified for legal reasons should remain as such. All other information should be shared. Importantly, this concerns everything that relates to the business, not just documents.” Everyone can develop a culture of sharing in his or her own workplace. Often work colleagues are unwilling to share unfinished work. People do not have the courage to hand over drafts, rough ideas and unfinished plans for others to evaluate. Many are afraid that their competency will be questioned. This myth must be discarded. “In this information-wrought world, nobody is able to grasp any one thing in its entirety. After all, multiple viewpoints are needed to create progress and discover new things. This is why increasing
cooperation is essential.” Digia is a large organization with over a 1,000 professional employees. In a big company like this, many different cultures are represented. Some teams share large amounts of information in their projects and often make use of wikis, for example. Blog writing has also been introduced in the company. “A big ship does not turn quickly, but eventually it does,” believes Peltola. How do you steer a large organization towards team-based working and information sharing? Most important is to create a culture that supports team work and sharing ideas. “One good way to do this is to form teams with different-aged members. Having professionals with long careers, as well as those from younger ‘social media generations’ in the same team, keeps the organization fresh. Having a good mix of members in a group ensures that it has plenty of valuable information and natural ways of sharing it. When one team succeeds, others will soon want
to follow suit.” Peltola gives one good example of everyday sharing at the workplace: chats and sharable desktops. “Let us imagine you are struggling with a difficult assignment at work. You know that there are a few very experienced colleagues who are experts in the issue you are dealing with. When you start talking in chat and share your screen with them, you can solve the problem together. It does not matter if you are not located in the same office, or even in the same country.” In sharing, everybody wins. “When you share something, you receive new viewpoints from others. When you share something, others become aware of your expertise. When you share something, you are, in fact, telling others that you know. At the same time, your knowledge increases and you receive fresh viewpoints, thus further improving your know-how on the subject.”
“Unexpected and powerful”
Mesh your business Lisa Gansky encourages us to rethink how we do business, shop, buy services and consume. She serves as the co-founder and CEO of multiple Internet companies, including Ofoto and GNN. Gansky is also an investor, speaker and mother of The Mesh. Social media and wireless networks allow us to track down almost anything. They decrease the distance from the company to the client, from consumer to service provider, and from manager to worker. Gansky thinks the sharing society, The Mesh, will trump the ownership society. Why bother buying something that you hardly ever use when you can easily have access to it when you need it? If you own something and are not constantly using it, why not make money from it during the downtime? Sharing-based businesses are a big opportunity in creating new businesses and renewing old ones. The world’s biggest car-sharing company, Zipcar, has redefined private transportation. Airbnb connects travelers in need of short-term renting with people who have the available space. And these are just a few examples. Want to know more? Read Lisa Gansky’s book The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing and you will know how companies can profit while customers buy less – but use more.
You can use Toolbox materials at work or when giving a presentation, link them to your blog or forward the entire Toolbox to your colleagues. The background ideas are available in a variety of web sources.
Ideas take on a life of their own when they are shared. Serial entrepreneur Lisa Gansky tells about a situation where sharing really hit it big. We started the first online printing and sharing service, Ofoto, in 1999, and then sold it to Kodak (now Kodak Gallery). During our first big Christmas season, we realized that the orders were going to exceed our capacity. We opened up a company-wide discussion about where we could be flexible. Since the quality of the product and service were central to our brand, we agreed to take control of all the production ourselves. Everyone was sharing ideas and, in the end, the conclusion was one I certainly would not have reached myself: we produced the pending orders based on postal code. Those farthest from our California location were completed first, so that there was enough time to ship them out. All West coast orders were dealt with last, and the day before Christmas, we loaded up our cars and hand-delivered packages to our customers. The sharing of what seemed like a mundane but necessary part of our business brought us all much closer to our customers and, to our pleasure, made the customers much more thrilled about our company. We became a team in creating and delivering that idea. It was unexpected and powerful.
3 As slides: www.slideshare.net In pdf format: www.scribd.com
The whole magazine: www.issuu.com
Sharing makes you happier.
According to a report by Co-operatives UK, “Great Sharing Economy,” eight out of ten people say that sharing makes them happy.
Check out http://www. ted.com/talks/ michael_nielsen_ open_science_ now.html
Open Science Now!
What if scientists could share their data as easily as they tweet about their lunch? A physicistturned-writer Michael Nielsen asks scientists to embrace new tools for collaboration that will enable discoveries to happen at the speed of Twitter. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it came to be expected that scientists publish their findings in a journal. Now, we need a second openscience revolution where online communication and collaboration tools will revolutionize the way scientific discoveries are made. “Embrace new kinds of sharing that lead to new methods of problem-solving and acceleration in the entire process of science across the board. Reinvent the discovery itself,” Nielsen demands in his inspiring presentation.
5 “Sharing is not only changing our way of working or consuming. It is changing our whole life.” A book authored by social innovator Rachel Botsman and serial entrepreneur Roo Rogers tells you why mine should also be yours. What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live describes how technology enables the exchange of all kinds of assets – from money to cars, to skills and paraphernalia – on a scale never before possible. P.S. TIME magazine called Collaborative Consumption “One of the ten ideas that will change the world.”
Share and learn: Top Learning Tools Use these tools to learn and share. The Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies listed the 2011 top tools for learning. One thing is for sure: it is all about sharing. • Twitter.com. Micro-sharing site • YouTube.com. Video-sharing tool • Docs.google.com. Create and share your work online • Skype.com. Chat messaging/VoIP tool • Wordpress.org. Blogging tool • Dropbox.com. File-synching software • Prezi.com. Presentation software • Moodle.com. Course management system • Slideshare.net. Presentation sharing site • Edu.glogster.com. Interactive poster tool Check out To find out more about sharing and learning tools, go to http://c4lpt.co.uk/.
You are what you share SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. Over 60 million people use the site every month to watch and share presentations.
Here is why you should do it, too: • SlideShare makes it easy for you to share presentations – just type in your link. • People can share your presentation with others via Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere. • When your work is being shared, you increase your digital footprint. The more people share your ideas, the more reputation you will achieve as an expert in your area. • You can find great presentations that others have written, which saves you time. • It’s free.
Ironically, one of the most often viewed SlideShare presentations is about the death of PowerPoint.
Check out How to make a presentation worth of a share: http://www. slideshare.net/ thecroaker/deathby-powerpoint
Follow Aalto EE
more updated information www.aaltoee.fi, www.aaltoee.sg
Widening our presence in Asia
Expanding educational services in Taiwan
Aalto University Executive Education (Aalto EE) widens its Asian presence through a strategic partnership with the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Indonesia. Established in 1920, ITB is the oldest technology-oriented university in Indonesia. It is a coeducational state research university and one of the country’s centers of excellence in science, technology and art. ITB’s School of Business and Management (SBM ITB) was ranked the best business graduate school in Indonesia in 2009. The joint Executive MBA Program will commence in 2012. It is designed for business professionals and companies based in Indonesia. “ITB’s profile, culture and ambitions are very similar to Aalto’s. We are pleased to partner with a best-in-class university. The agreement is a great opening for a deeper relationship between the schools,” says Dr Jari Talvinen, managing director, Aalto EE (Asia Pacific). “Our aim is to create global leaders in business, and Aalto University is the best partner for this goal. Together, we will offer a high-level executive education program that serves the needs of today’s global business leaders,” says Dr Reza Nasution, director of the ITB MBA program. This EMBA agreement expands Aalto EMBA participants’ true cross-borders, cross-cultural experience and network, complementing the current collaborations in China, Finland, Poland, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. The partnership will also foster a stronger relationship between the Finnish-Indonesian cooperation through the exchange of valuable management expertise and knowledge. New programs and joint operations with carefully selected partners in Asia are a part of Aalto EE’s newly crystallized strategy. “We are thriving to become a bridge between East and West in the executive education market. Our aim is to be the most preferred partner for the Asian companies seeking growth in Europe and for those European and, especially, Nordic companies who emphasize Asia as a strategic market,” says Dr Pekka Mattila, managing director and associate dean of Aalto EE.
A new Aalto Executive MBA Program starts in Indonesia in 2012.
Aalto EE and its Asia-Pacific hub in Singapore have taken a radical approach to their expansion activities by signing an agreement with the Pan Asia International Education Center in Taiwan. By building strategic partnerships with international universities, it makes attaining a foreign degree a reality for many Taiwanese who cannot afford to study overseas. “Partnering with Aalto EE, Pan Asia hopes to bring its EMBA education to a higher level. With Aalto EE, a Triple Crown accredited business school and its faculty ensemble of top local and international professors, a cutting edge curriculum and the best business-minded EMBA executives in class, the Aalto EMBA will set the benchmark in the Taiwanese market,” says Steve Tsai, CEO of Pan Asia International Education Center. Aalto EE has operated in Taiwan since 2003. “Right now, it is our fastest growing region. We will launch three EMBA programs in Taiwan in 2012,” says Dr Pekka Mattila, managing director and associate dean of Aalto EE.
Enrollment hits record high The popularity of the Aalto MBA and Executive MBA programs has beaten all records in Finland in 2012. The Aalto Part-time MBA now has 38 students and the Aalto EMBA 48 students. The appeal of these two-year programs is based on high-quality teaching and a careful planning of the curriculum, which covers all the major business subjects.
Aalto EE offers the best EMBA in the Nordics The Financial Times placed the Aalto Executive MBA program number one among EMBA programs in the Nordic countries and gave it an excellent ranking. This is the first time the Aalto EMBA clearly surpassed the two traditional Scandinavian business schools, Stockholm School of Economics (founded in 1909) and Copen26
hagen Business School (founded in 1917). “Aalto EE’s carefully built position as the bridge between the East and West is now beginning to bear fruit. We are humbly proud of our success in this prestigious ranking,” says Dr Pekka Mattila, managing director and associate dean of Aalto EE. The Aalto EMBA excelled in several cate-
gories, including gender equality. “This indicates that our EMBA programs encourage women to enter international executive careers. We have a high number of women executives in our programs, and the share of women professors is above the average,” says Dr Minna Hiillos, head and associate dean of Degree Programs, Aalto EE.
HiSTORY LESSO N
Persistence has a magical effect that makes obstacles vanish.
Asian favorite Text: Veikko Jääskeläinen, MBA Program Director 1984–1992
Back in the 1980s when executive education in Finland first got started, few people could foresee how far we would come. Sometimes, it takes a while for great ideas to catch on, but when they do, watch out. The sky is the limit. THE FINANCIAL TIMES newspaper regularly assesses European business schools. According to the latest listings, Aalto EE’s EMBA ranked in the top 50 globally. This is no small feat, and one we can all be proud of. Few can remember the troublesome start of the MBA and EMBA programs. International education did not strike a cord in the 1970s. It was difficult to fathom that one day we would be exporting education from Helsinki to far-away places like Singapore, Korea and Taiwan. My idea of an international degree program got a boost from the years I spent at the Pittsburgh Carnegie Mellon University. When I was not working, I attended local EMBA lectures as a non-degree student and learned what the US program was all about. Once I returned to Finland, I found that few people were interested in my vision of international education. After many years the then Helsinki School of Economics gave in, saying that fine, go ahead and arrange training for people in employment, just as long as you raise the money, get along without hiring permanent employees, and find your own facilities. I was not surprised by the slow progress in Finland, as I had witnessed the same at Yale University, where I studied in the 1950s. Schools tend to be more conservative organizations than even the church or the military. be an opportunist. Usually, progress requires input from outside forces. When I worked in the industrial sector, I got to know key people from the Finnish Ministry of Trade and Industry. They are the ones I eventually turned to in order to secure a small initial investment, although it should have been more in the interests of the Ministry of Education. As well as my own opportunism, I leaned on my own intuition. By the 1980s,
I was already old enough not to be scared of a small scuffle. The first MBA program got off the ground in January 1984. Before long, we learned there was a need for special training for people higher up the business ladder. We wanted to provide something they could work on in the evenings and on weekends. That marked the start for our EMBA work. BUT WHY ASIA? Because more and more Western companies were doing business in the region, and also because Asians were looking to become more international. By chance I found an excellent local contact, Professor Dong-Sung Cho, a South Korean who had gone to Harvard and worked as professor at the University of Seoul. I sent him a letter (back then email did not exist), asking whether he would like to come to Finland and teach now and again. He could not make it right away, but our cooperation began a few years later. In the fall 1994, Cho expressed his wish to set up an EMBA-like program in Korea in cooperation with the Helsinki School of Economics. I was the rector of the school at the time and said we were interested. Wasting no time, the first program got underway in Seoul in September 1995. It was later launched in Singapore as well. Asian operations have been a success despite stiff competition. By now, thousands of Korean business executives have completed the program, known as KEMBA. We also have strong ties with other Asian countries, such as Singapore and Taiwan. To date, many students have received an EMBA through our program. These people have gone on to successful careers as entrepreneurs or top business executives in multinational companies. It is interesting to see how far we have come – and how deep our roots are today.
www.blogofasia.com Everything you need to know about Asia.
Feed the spirit, be a new wave leader. Aalto University Executive Education
Grow into a new wave leader. Build success by freeing the full potential of individuals and organizations. See the familiar through fresh eyes, discover opportunities in the unknown, navigate changes fearlessly.
We help you ﬁnd new capabilities and solutions – answers to the big questions. You contribute your experience and personality. We contribute Aalto University’s uniquely multidisciplinary knowledge, our ability to apply theory to practice, our global expertise and network, and our inspirational learning methods. Together we create breakthroughs for you and your company.
Aalto EE´s mission is to build better world through better leadership and to educate a new generation of leaders. Our strengths lie in global operation model and versatile offerings in Finland, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, China and Indonesia.
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Aalto University Executive Education Ltd (Aalto EE) offers high-quality executive development services, supported by the competence of the n...
Published on Feb 22, 2012
Aalto University Executive Education Ltd (Aalto EE) offers high-quality executive development services, supported by the competence of the n...