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"I now look at business from a broader perspective. I see the connections between different issues much more clearly.”

Elina Laveran
Director, Elisa Business System for International Digital Services, Elisa

Elina Laveran has worked at Elisa Plc for over 20 years. For most of her career, her roles have revolved around business development. Currently, Laveran works in Munich and is in charge of developing Elisa’s Business System for international digital services.

“Elisa is growing strongly through acquisitions. My main job is implementing Elisa’s business system into everyday life in the purchased companies. My responsibilities include developing a culture based on Elisa’s values, as well as coaching learning, innovation, and continuous improvement practices,” Laveran describes.

“I am in my dream job. The best moments are when I can help people overcome obstacles and focus on everything we can achieve together. I work with management teams and experts in various roles. They are at the heart of Elisa’s success.”

Laveran has expanded her business skills in the Aalto Executive MBA program.

“I now look at business from a broader perspective. My thinking evolved in the Aalto EMBA program, and I see the connections between different issues much more clearly,” says Laveran.

A common language with financial experts

Laveran initially decided to participate in the Aalto EMBA program to gain a better understanding of how different financial measures relate to each other.

“My educational background is in humanities and social sciences. Although I have learned a lot about financial management in my work, I often felt like a bit of an outsider whenever the conversation turned to finance,” she remarks.

Now I know how to ask relevant questions, and when need be, I am able to participate in financial discussions.

“Before starting the EMBA, I even took a few finance-related summer courses because I was nervous about the EMBA finance modules. In hindsight, that was completely unnecessary. I have worked in business development for so long that many of the topics were actually quite familiar to me – and during the EMBA, I gained a good structure on top of everything I had learned at work.”

Laveran was pleased with the level of teaching in the Aalto EMBA program.

“The instructors were good storytellers. I liked their clear teaching methods. I will never become a CFO, but now I know how to ask relevant questions, and when need be, I am able to participate in financial discussions,” she underlines.

“Of course, I gained much more than just financial knowledge. The Mergers & Acquisitions module, for example, provided excellent ideas that I have been able to directly implement at work because I frequently deal with acquisitions.”

Laveran also gained a great deal from modules relating to her own leadership style.

“The Leading with Impact module was superb. We received useful tools for handling conflicting feedback. These tools are particularly helpful in my line of work. Conflicting feedback is pretty much a given in challenging change situations,” she points out.

“The Aalto EMBA also includes individual coaching, which gives you the keys to work on your strengths and weaknesses. The coaching helped me realize that my educational background in humanities and social sciences is not a weakness in my work. On the contrary: I have something new to offer in many situations because I can look at things from a different perspective.”

A great deal of freedom of choice and a marvelous network

Laveran completed one Aalto EMBA module remotely at Esade Business School in Spain and another on-site at KEDGE Business School in Marseille, France.

“The modules I completed at Esade and KEDGE dealt with diversity and managing people from different cultural backgrounds – topics that are at the very core of my own work. Both modules were excellent. It’s wonderful that the Aalto EMBA includes such broad-ranging opportunities for studying abroad in high-quality institutions,” Laveran mentions.

It’s wonderful that the Aalto EMBA includes such broad-ranging opportunities for studying abroad.

“The Aalto EE staff also seamlessly arranged the opportunity for me to complete a few EMBA modules remotely from halfway across the world. My Bolivian spouse and I spent Christmas in Bolivia, and then got stuck there because of the corona pandemic. Due to the rather massive time difference, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend distance learning from Bolivia, but now I know that it can be done,” Laveran says with a laugh.

Laveran completed more than half of her EMBA studies during the corona pandemic.

“We were really well taken care of throughout the EMBA. The distance learning was expertly organized, and it was such a marvelous feeling when we were able to move to onsite learning and got to know each other properly face-to-face. I am delighted with the community we created during the Aalto EMBA. We had such great encounters during our studies, and we all got so much support from each other. It was stimulating to network with people who work in completely different areas than I do,” Laveran emphasizes.

“My employer Elisa also deserves a big thank you for letting me use work hours for my EMBA studies. I also got help from my colleagues when I was writing essays about topics that were not that familiar to me. It helped me immediately link theory to practice,” Laveran says.

Laveran says that she warmly recommends the Aalto EMBA program. She also recommends clarifying your own learning goals before starting the EMBA.

“The Aalto EMBA is an excellent program. It offers a lot of freedom of choice. When you have your goals clearly in mind, it helps you focus and choose the best combination of elective modules for your own professional development.”

Aalto EMBA Program