Aalto MBA Journal Part 8: ”It’s Been a Steep Learning Curve”

It’s the height of summer in Australia, and Kai Rönnberg has just returned to his desk in Sydney after being on vacation for a couple of weeks.

Paula Salovaara, 16.01.2018

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“It feels good now. I’ve had time to get to know the team, organization, and market. I’ve no longer had those moments when you feel like a headless chicken.”

After returning to Australia from a visit to Finland in the fall, he felt he was coming home for the first time. Now he can’t wait for the other team members to return to work, too.

The Aalto MBA studies are almost over. In April, Rönnberg will be taking to the classroom once more to complete his final module at Aalto EE’s premises in Singapore. Then all that’s left is graduation. Remote studies while working abroad has been a surprisingly easy combination to crack, although fostering a team spirit has been tricky at times.

Remote studies while working abroad has been a surprisingly easy combination to crack, although fostering a team spirit has been tricky at times."

“When I wake up here, the students’ WhatsApp group is already brimming with messages. I’m always nine hours behind the conversation.” 

In November, all of the program participants took part in a three-day Business Simulation game. The game involved establishing seven companies that manufacture tablets in small groups, simulating what it takes to run them for eleven calendar years. The game concluded by assessing the performance, strategy, methods, and, naturally, results.

Rönnberg says he enjoyed the intense, challenging game.

“My team didn’t do too well as far as the results were concerned, but we learned a great deal.”

It was interesting to see how the group’s collaboration improved over the course of the three days in leaps and bounds when we were all given clear roles after the first day.

“During the first day, we set off to play full swing, and decision-making was weak. Slightly adjusting management transformed the entire business.”

“The Business Simulation module provided lessons that could be applied directly to my own work,” says Rönnberg.

For the first time in his career, he now leads his own management team made up of experts in different fields.

Lessons from the MBA studies have found their way into daily work almost without thinking."

“Now we can tackle difficult issues and challenge each other. At first, everyone was careful, but now we are able to make better decisions.”

At the moment, Rönnberg is looking forward to getting more involved in customer work, as building the organization and Outotec’s major strategy reform are well on their way. Lessons from the MBA studies have found their way into daily work almost without thinking.

“There’s no magic trick, just simple things to keep in mind at all times. People want to take part, engage in continuous dialogue, and create together.”

According to Rönnberg, the management modules provided the best tools.

At the end of our conversation, I have to ask about the weather. In Sydney, it couldn’t get any better than right now: about 30 °C and sunny. He says he has been spending more time outdoors than ever.

Kai Rönnberg is Vice President, Services, South East Asia Pacific at Outotec. He began his studies on the Aalto MBA program in early 2016, and will be graduating at the beginning of 2018. The MBA Journal follows his thoughts and experiences along the way. All journals can be found below.

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