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Sustainability Is Emphasized throughout the Aalto MBA Program

Since 2021, Aalto EE has implemented a sustainability focus in its Aalto MBA program. The focus covers all modules of the program and adds a new layer to the business content. The change is part of a larger emphasis on sustainability at Aalto EE and Aalto University.

Annika Rautakoura, 09.06.2022



Aalto MBA is a two-year program for experienced professionals looking to boost their career development and strengthen their leadership and business skills as well as their abilities related to strategic thinking. An MBA is a personal and professional development journey, and during each phase of it, the participants reflect on their own values, humanity, and leadership philosophy.

Since 2021, the program has focused extensively on sustainability and responsibility themes, offering participants relevant tools that deepen their knowledge on those themes across different business areas.

The focus on sustainability reflects Aalto University’s strategy, but also the wishes of our clients."

“The focus reflects Aalto University’s strategy, but also the wishes of our clients,” says Katri Koivula, Associate Director of Degree Programs at Aalto EE. “We want to be ahead of the curve in sustainability matters and challenge our customers to think critically.”

The three central, cross-cutting themes in Aalto University’s strategy are radical creativity, entrepreneurial mindset, and sustainability solutions. “The Aalto MBA program supports the dialogue between the cross-cutting themes of Aalto’s strategy,” adds Koivula.

The participants are particularly interested in sustainability

Different sustainability aspects are incorporated into the program’s core and elective modules. Participants also reflect on the themes through a learning diary and hands-on project applied to their own organization.

The program starts with the Sustainability in Business and Corporate Responsibility course. “It is a great way to establish a certain mindset from the beginning,” says the course’s teacher Minna Halme, Professor of Sustainability Management at Aalto University.

According to Halme, participants have been very eager to learn about sustainability matters. The sustainability challenges of our time are present in almost every company and visible to consumers, she notes. “People do think about these themes – sustainability is not just a subject to be crossed off.”

Variety of modules and sustainability themes to choose from

The program includes a range of different modules, from people management to marketing and economics. Mariana Carvalho, who works as Technology Commercialization Manager for Chemical Recycling at Neste, is
is studying in the first Aalto MBA group that started running after the changes in Aalto MBA took place.

We need to change the way we consume and make profit."

For her, the program offered the best sustainability perspectives on themes she does not encounter in her work tasks. These include, for example, sustainable finance and diversity.

“We need to change the way we consume and make profit. Every leader should have an overview of sustainability – without it, you cannot ensure long-term business success,” Carvalho notes.

Critical thinking across business areas

The program brings together people from a range of backgrounds, from the public to the private sector and across industries. Interaction and discussions are an important part of the program, resulting in a variety of perspectives on sustainability.

Another participant at the program is Salla Sandberg, who works as Partnership Manager for Spinnova, a Finnish sustainable material company. She commends the program for including such a wide variety of sustainability aspects and connecting professionals from different business backgrounds.

“We have had amazing discussions with other participants in the program,” Sandberg says and notes that despite the Covid-19 hybrid environment, the group has been able to exchange thoughts openly and compare experiences.

Because organizations highlight different themes in their business, participants approach sustainability from unique perspectives, learning from each other. Aalto EE’s courses include representatives from major corporations with more established sustainability processes as well as smaller players still seeking the best ways to support responsibility.

Katri Koivula hopes that at some point in the future sustainability strategies will become the norm in companies. Like digitalization did some years ago. “The sustainability discourse has shifted from PR to measuring the real impact but there is still much work to do.”

Aalto MBA is a life-changing program for experienced professionals who want to transform their professional future and become business leaders with an innovative and sustainable mindset.

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