“Learn decision-making skills and applying knowledge in practice!” “Find ways of coping in the changing business environment.” “Get a theoretical foundation for business.”
These are all extracts from the learning goals Aalto MBA students set for themselves when taking their very first steps in the program. But what is it actually like to study for an Aalto MBA and how are these learning objectives met? What are the energizing factors in this high-quality program that keep students engines running even in demanding study periods?
Wide range of learning possibilities
Aalto MBA students spend many hours together with their fellow students and professors discussing course topics, analyzing cases, making presentations, carrying out a variety of learning assignments and even playing with simulations. As students come from a range of educational backgrounds and have diverse working experiences, studying together enables them to approach theories and business questions from different viewpoints and helps them to develop their analytical skills.
They also learn effective and respectful ways to argue and communicate and influence others.
In this mixture of insights and experience, students nourish their curious mindset, while developing ways to critically approach experiences, theories and phenomena.
They also learn effective and respectful ways to argue and communicate and influence others – all necessary abilities for business professionals and decision makers. And it is not only students who have diverse backgrounds – our international Aalto MBA faculty also brings its rich flavor to the program!
Flow of studies: building a solid base and supporting individual interests
The first year of study focuses on core courses. About halfway through the second semester, students choose which of the three concentration areas (Entrepreneurship, Managing Innovation and Renewal, and Applied Finance and Accounting) and which of the electives they are most interested in. Core courses build a solid foundation for concentration area studies and working on a business project. They also provide students with a wide understanding of the different key areas of business. Elective studies enable students to acquire knowledge that matches their individual interests.
One of the key strengths of the Aalto MBA program is the global reach – our students also get to choose from international modules such as study tours and executive summits.
In August 2016, 190 participants from 19 different countries gathered together at the Aalto Executive Summit in Finlandia Hall!
Students can also stay for a longer period at one of our partner universities – leading business schools from around the world such as the National University of Singapore, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Emory University.
Exchange studies complement courses taken at Aalto EE and bring an even greater individual flavor to the degree. The optimum time for exchange studies is the second year, when students have completed their core courses and are most able to benefit from studies abroad.
Apply newly-acquired skills to business
The Aalto MBA has a strong focus on integrating theoretical approaches into business practice. Students can apply their newly-acquired skills to their current business environment: this is often done in individual course assignments, but in some courses students get a chance to pitch their idea for a group work assignment, which then focuses on the organization of the winning pitch. And it is not only students own companies that can be utilized in assignments, students can also use Harvard business cases from other industries.
The ultimate example of applying the newly-gained knowledge to real business questions is the Aalto MBA business project.
In the project, small teams work on a strategically important challenge given to the team by a client organization.
The MBA teams work on the problem for about nine months, providing new approaches and solutions and finally writing a report on the outcomes and conclusions. As one of our students put it: I would recommend anyone who is uncertain of choosing a business project topic to choose a project that is way out of their comfort zone. That would push them to really learn new things.
Becoming an influential business professional
At the beginning of the MBA studies, our students start a facilitated, 18-month long, Self Development Process in which they focus on their own potential, personal principles and practices as business professionals, and personal development needs. These questions are considered utilizing personal and group-level experience, discussing topics in workshops, reading and reflecting on books and making gradual/incremental changes in personal areas of improvement at a very practical, everyday level.
This Self Development Process has been a turning point for many of our MBA students: they have started to see themselves and their private and professional relationships differently and have enriched their communication, leadership and work-related practices in a more meaningful and influential direction. Thus it is not only business-related topics and abilities that our students acquire – they study for life-time professional development.
Interested in reading more? Read what our MBA participant Kai Rönnberg from Outotec has to say about his learning journey:
Contact us to learn more. Program Directors Anna-Maija Ahonen and Anne Nylund are happy to help you on any questions regarding the Aalto MBA program.