An Investment That Pays Itself Off

"Turbulent times – that sounds very familiar to me”, says Hannu Honkala who works in the health care section in Finland.

Vice President, Solutions, Hannu Honkala from Mylab took part in Aalto Executive Summit in Singapore in August.

Reetta Räty, 06.10.2017

One of the topics at the Aalto Executive Summit in Singapore was leadership in turbulent times. “Turbulent times – that sounds very familiar to me”, says Hannu Honkala who works in the health care section in Finland. He is Vice President, Solutions at Mylab.

Aalto Executive MBA program was recommended to Hannu Honkala, Vice President, Solutions, by the best possible authorities: his boss, managing director of MyLab, and the chairman of the board had completed a similar program earlier on. They warmly recommended Aalto EE.

With a background in engineering, Honkala has spent most of his career working for large corporations, such as Kone, Siemens and Nokia, including a few years working in Germany. He joined MyLab three or so years ago, a b-to-b company with 90 employees based in Tampere, with Finnish health care operators and clinical labs as clients.

Honkala wanted to broaden his business knowledge, and joined the program offered by Aalto EE in the early spring of 2017. The health care and social welfare reform, a hot potato in political discourse in Finland at the moment, will also be impacting his work in the form of increased competition: “We operate in a market where the balance between private and public is changing. We don’t know exactly how yet. We are facing interesting but demanding times.”

One of the topics at the Singapore Summit is leadership in turbulent times. According to Honkala, they are on their way.

“I’ll miss this time of life one day”

Honkala’s eyes light up, as he praises the team spirit among the group from Helsinki right from the start.

“The group is open-minded, has bonded really well, has a great sense of humor and allows everyone to be themselves and do their thing. It’s been incredibly fun together.”

Honkala values the professional discussions for instance with people from the finance sector. He says he feels privileged to be able to share experiences with talents. The demanding nature of the studies has partly contributed to the team spirit. It’s a bit like getting ready to run a marathon together, doing practice runs on a regular basis. “I have to admit that I’ve even found numbers fun at times.” The first modules do involve a fair share of number-crunching.  

You only have to look at Honkala’s calendar to realize the tough part:

Pre-assignments had to be completed before the Singapore Summit, and there’s no time to get over the jetlag before it’s time to prepare a business project presentation, follow-up assignments to the Summit, self-development exercises for Ben Nothnagel’s module… And taking a week off from work means there’s plenty to do when you get back. “Marking these in my calendar didn’t leave much extra time.”

The program is holistic, and Hannula doesn’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that completing it is potentially life-changing."

And yet, Honkala finds himself already thinking: “This will be over at some point, what a shame! I can’t think of anything that could take its place.”

Taking part in the Executive MBA program is a major investment. Hannu Honkala has set himself a clear target: the investment will pay itself off. The program is holistic, and Hannula doesn’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that completing it is potentially life-changing. So he was told by many former participants, which may have felt a little over-the-top at the time, but is no longer the case: “This is a process that changes the way you think and provides tools for continuing to study on your own initiative. I know I’ll miss this time of life one day.

The Aalto EMBA program is designed around the four major areas of strategy, leadership, finance and marketing, with a special emphasis on strategy and leadership in a global context. Read more about the program.

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