The EMBA degree helped me move to a totally new area within the company - Aalto Executive MBA studies - Vol 3

Gonzalo Giambruno, Director, Biorefining, UPM, used to work in the HR department while in Finland. His job now is on the business side. 

Paula Salovaara, 20.04.2016

Survey by Paula Salovaara, Journalist, Aalto EMBA: Did the Executive MBA change something in your life? This question went to the Aalto Executive MBA cohort 2013, and the answer was “oh yes it did!”

Gonzalo Giambruno 
Director, Biorefining, UPM

Gonzalo Giambruno is an engineer from Uruguay, who worked for UPM, a Finnish forest industry company, and was based in Finland at the start of the Aalto Executive MBA program. This interview, however, was held by Skype because Gonzalo has moved on in his career and changed country. He still works for UPM, but now in Atlanta, Georgia.

Giambruno used to work in the HR department of UPM while in Finland. His job now is on the business side. The EMBA degree and skills helped him move to a totally new area within the company.

The EMBA helped me to leverage my contribution on other business dimensions, overcoming prejudgements about youth and functional roles.”

He says he now has confidence in many matters, which earlier were out of reach.

“Some people used to think that here is the guy with the juvenile face and just knowledge in HR. The EMBA helped me to leverage my contribution on other business dimensions, overcoming prejudgements about youth and functional roles”, says Giambruno.

He is happy with his current job and the new challenges. The whole family enjoys their new hometown.

He says he now works in a different way, partly due to the knowledge he gained through the program, but partly also due to the new job, new city and other big changes in his life. The program had a great impact on his life, he says.

His employer, UPM, has a positive attitude towards schooling, and several other staff members have also gone through the program. Giambruno says his employer was interested all the time in the project, and gave signals that his work towards the EMBA degree was appreciated. He would tell his supervisors about his grades, and discuss the modules with people at work.

He says a company should have a career path for those who want to study and learn more, and the employer should show interest in their development through the program.

When asked about his favorite course, Gonzalo says there was one above all others: the course in strategic thinking by Professor Ram Baliga.

He says he learned to look at things in a new way, from a helicopter view. After the strategy module he has been seeing the big picture better and more often. “It changed my thinking.”

Giambruno gives praise to the line-up of good professors teaching in the program.

The self-development process was another favorite among the courses. Almost all of the cohort members taking part in a survey about the impact of the program, picked the Self Development process with Ben Nothnagel as one of the most important modules. Giambruno says he learned a lot by writing the assignments about his personal development.

In the beginning I hated the writing, but after a year I got into it and learned a lot by doing it. Now I actually miss it.”

“In the beginning I hated the writing, but after a year I got into it and learned a lot by doing it. Now I actually miss it.”

Gonzalo says he values the personal contacts and friends made during the two years. “I did not need the networking so much, but the real relationships with the cohort members became very important.”

The cohort of 2013 had members from Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Russia, France, China, and Croatia, and Gonzalo Giambruno from Uruguay.

Read more about Aalto Executive MBA Program.

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