You gain new perspectives and hear tough statements that challenge thinking

Rami Hakala says that programs have given him more knowledge and self-confidence in different fields

Reetta Räty, 27.09.2017

Aalto EMBA and AaltoJOKO® participant Rami Hakala says the programs have given him more knowledge and self-confidence in different fields: finances, HR, sales, marketing, to name a few.

Rami Hakala, a participant in the Aalto EMBA program, is sitting along the cor­ridor of a congress hotel in Singapore. It’s Friday and the last day of the Aalto Executive Summit 2015, marking the end to a busy week of lec­tures and networking, countless cups of coffee, and a stream of conversations over lunch and dinner. The afternoon’s topic ”Circular Economy – The Future Shape of your Business and Social Land­scape” still lies ahead. The session is held by Mark Esposito and Terence Tse, a pair of intense and en­ergetic lecturers, who make sure they get the un­divided attention even of those sitting in the back row. The lectures take the form of a workshop, in­volving discussions, assignments, group work, and shouting out potential answers to the lecturers’ questions.

Participants from Singapore, Iran, Taiwan, Fin­land, Algeria, and dozens of other countries discuss the topics and give their guesses, sharing experi­ences from their own countries.

What will Rami Hakala take home from the Singapore Summit, as he returns to work?

”You gain quite a lot of new perspectives, and hear tough statements clearly designed to chal­lenge conventional business thinking. This in turn challenges your own thinking. It’s good to look at issues from many different angles and be critical towards the initial impulse that comes to mind, going further than the most apparent viewpoint.”

Hakala thinks it’s refreshing and eye-opening to think about topics and scenarios also beyond one’s own sector."

”It stuck in my mind from yesterday how the micro and macro levels shouldn’t be considered as separate entities. Today, we’ve been thinking for instance about ways to create business models around recycling.”

Hakala thinks it’s refreshing and eye-opening to think about topics and scenarios also beyond one’s own sector. He manages a staff of 30 at his office in Vantaa. He has worked in the same industry for fifteen years, of which the last six for family-run company SKS.

Advancing from Sales Director to Managing Director at SKS Automation, Rami Hakala felt that more in-depth financial expertise would be beneficial to him. With the support of his super­visor, he began his studies on AaltoJOKO® program in 2012. ”It provided plenty of tools for strategy work and corporate management.”

A few years later, Hakala began his studies on the EMBA program. What made him return?

”Aalto EE felt like the natural choice after such a good experience from the AaltoJOKO® program. Aal­to has the best reputation in EMBA programs, so the decision was easy.”

”I began to see how challenges in general man­agement became more prevalent in my position as Managing Director. You have to master all the company’s different operations at least on a moderate level. The EMBA program gives a general view on many different areas. Instead of detailed information, I’m after gaining a general under­standing; seeing how different elements affect each other.”

”In my view, the program is good for those after a clearer perspective and knowledge on general management: finances, HR, sales, marketing, self-management, strategic thinking, and so on.”

Hakala feels that the program has equipped him in better being able to challenge his colleagues on the management team, for instance, who have more in-depth financial knowledge. ”Experts in just one thing have a nar­row view, from their own silo.”

Many participants find it important for Aalto EMBA program to be international right down to its roots." 

Many participants find it important for Aalto EMBA program to be international right down to its roots. ”At least in the mechanical engineer­ing sector, small and middle-sized companies need to become more international. An international aspect goes hand-in-hand throughout the pro­gram.”

Breaks during the Summit are a good time to get to know others – but also to take business calls back home. Telephone conferences take place in hotel rooms, while evenings are taken up by commenting on memos. Today, Hakala needs to delve into his company’s Polish business at the end of the day. How has the program’s workload been so far – is it too much for someone who works at the same time?

”I’d say the amount of work didn’t come as a surprise. I knew well what to expect. My advice is to talk with your family at home before joining the program, so everyone understands what you’re embarking on. You’ll get through it!”

Read more about AaltoJOKO® and Aalto EMBA programs.

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Rami Hakala in Brief

  • Aalto EMBA and AaltoJOKO participant.
  • Managing Director, SKS Automation, Helsinki.
  • Hakala works at SKS Automation, which is part of SKS Group, a 90-year-old family-run company with approximately 670 employees. SKS operates in Finland, China, Poland, Sweden, Russia, and Estonia. SKS Group provides product and service solutions for machine and equipment manufacturers.
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