Doctor of Medical Science, Docent of Cardiology Mikko Pietilä started a new job in the beginning of 2023 as Director of Turku University Hospital Services in the wellbeing services county of Southwest Finland.
Pietilä mentions marvelous colleagues and the opportunity to develop healthcare in the new wellbeing services county as the best perks of his new job.
“It is a privilege to work with such motivated professionals and be able to influence how healthcare and in particular specialized medical care are carried out in the wellbeing services county of Southwest Finland,” Pietilä underlines.
Pietilä has gained new perspectives on leadership from two comprehensive Aalto EE managerial training programs. He first participated in the Johtaminen terveydenhuollossa program (Healthcare Management Education Program), and soon after, he obtained a degree from the Aalto Executive MBA program.
“I knew I needed to hone my leadership skills to advance my career in healthcare administration,” Pietilä explains.
“A great example from home convinced me to learn more about leadership at Aalto EE. My wife participated in both of these programs a bit before me. I was inspired by how much she gained from the experience – and decided that I wanted to learn exactly the same things that she did.”
Learning from other participants was rewarding
Pietilä says that Aalto EE’s first-rate teaching made a lasting impression on him.
“Johtaminen terveydenhuollossa and Aalto EMBA were both very well planned, high-quality programs,” he says.
Learning from other participants is an integral part of the learning experience at Aalto EE. Pietilä has a great deal of praise for this approach.
“It is hard to say which was more beneficial: the formal learning and wisdom I gained from the instructors, who were all top names in their fields – or the peer support and valuable ideas I heard during the programs from the other participants. Both were extremely important,” Pietilä ponders.
There were absolutely brilliant participants in our group, with whom I had very rewarding discussions.
In the Johtaminen terveydenhuollossa program, Pietilä especially enjoyed studying health economics.
“We live in a world of limited resources. In the Health Economics module, I learned how to concretize concepts and practices in health economics, which has been very useful in my work,” he remarks.
“There were also absolutely brilliant participants in our group, with whom I had very rewarding discussions that helped me move things forward in my own work.”
The first management training at Aalto EE sparked Pietilä’s desire to gain even more insights and knowledge on leadership.
“Johtaminen terveydenhuollossa was an excellent, broad-range training program. When I started my studies, I worked as Head Physician at Tyks Heart Center. I think there was just one day left in the program when I was appointed Chief Medical Officer of the Hospital District of Southwest Finland,” he reminisces.
“I took about a one-year break from my studies due to work responsibilities and then continued my journey in the Aalto EMBA program.”
Real-time learning in the midst of the pandemic
As a doctor, Pietilä is used to working long hours. During his EMBA studies, he became extraordinarily busy at work.
“The COVID-19 pandemic hit, and I was responsible for our COVID-19 treatment as a whole at Tyks,” Pietilä says.
In this situation, many people would have put their studies on hold for a while. Pietilä decided to continue his EMBA training.
“An EMBA is always demanding – and studying during an exceptionally busy work situation was particularly challenging – but the EMBA also gave an awful lot,” he affirms.
During the EMBA I understood what all leadership entails.
“I will certainly remember the finance module for the rest of my life. It is hard to think of a more up-to-date learning experience: the market had just collapsed due to the pandemic, and we had Professor Vesa Puttonen explaining what was happening in the market right then and there. It was quite a unique experience: hearing the views of one of the top professionals in the field in real time.”
According to Pietilä, his greatest take-away from the Aalto EMBA was a change in mindset.
“During the EMBA I understood what all leadership entails. It was an eye-opening experience for someone with a medical background. Of course, our specialization includes some management training, but the EMBA broadened my perspective considerably. For example, I am now able to identify development targets in a completely new way,” he points out.
“The EMBA gave me a common language with managers from different areas of business. Regardless of who I am dealing with – managers specialized in accounting, HR or for example marketing – I am now much better equipped to collaborate with them. Cooperation clearly improves when you speak a shared language.”
A great opportunity to develop as a leader
“Aalto EE offers a first-class environment for learning and excellent opportunities to develop as a leader,” Pietilä emphasizes.
“Combining these two programs is a good path for healthcare professionals. In the Johtaminen terveydenhuollossa program, you get to network with professionals in the field and you gain a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of expert views from different sectors of healthcare,” he says.
“The Johtaminen terveydenhuollossa program was such a great experience – and learning from the other participants was so fruitful – that I definitely wanted to continue in the EMBA program. I am glad I did. Although obtaining an EMBA degree alongside considerable work pressures was challenging, it was also very rewarding,” he adds.
“In the healthcare industry, it's easy to live in our own bubble. Stepping outside our bubble and learning new things together with skilled professionals from very versatile backgrounds was an invigorating experience. The Aalto EMBA transformed my thinking and my perspectives on management and leadership – I recommend this experience to others as well.”