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Diploma in Leading People

Build Your Impactful Leadership Style to Lead Your Business and Strategy Execution Effectively through People

How has the leader’s job changed in a world where the problems to be solved are increasingly complex? Why are the conventional models of leadership no longer effective? Are you curious about how you can become a more influential leader and drive better results for your organization?

A leader must influence people and processes throughout their networks and ecosystems to be effective today. Working with different stakeholders and solving complex problems with a wide range of actors requires a new mindset and new competencies.

The Diploma in Leading People program is designed to cover the competencies you need to lead your business impactfully through people. You will build your leadership style to best lead the strategy execution with your different stakeholders.

The program can be designed to your personal development needs and time frame. The Diploma consists of three core modules (3 + 3 + 3 days) and one elective module based on your development needs. The elective module can be chosen from the selection of topics offered in different Aalto EE programs. This allows you to tailor your diploma based on your specific learning goals and needs. All modules can also be taken as a stand-alone for an individual fee.

After completing the program, you will have a holistic understanding of your leadership style, a variety of tools and techniques to tackle different interactions and challenging situations, and a strategy to operate with all the players in your networks and ecosystems.

18 ECTS credits from the whole Diploma in Leading People program can be transferred to the Aalto Executive MBA or Aalto MBA program.

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Understand how leadership today requires influencing people to reach strategic goals, and learn practical tools to impact a broader network of actors.

Deepen your skills in leading your organization through ambiguous times.

The program's structure allows you to tailor the program based on your specific learning goals and needs.


The latest research shows that achieving strategic goals may fail if the leader’s approach to strategy isn’t holistic. The Diploma in Leading People program gives you a holistic approach to what to consider in your leadership work so that you can build the capabilities needed to realize value over the long term and coordinate different business priorities and make them clear to the various stakeholders. Confident and impactful leaders know how to address and connect with other players in their ecosystems.

Apply your learnings to your context and organization’s landscape.
Learn to cultivate collaboration to achieve strategic goals successfully.
Develop your leadership style and learn to influence impactfully with stakeholders in your ecosystem.


The program is for executives and directors who can impact organizational results by leading different stakeholders and ecosystems in the changing environment. The program is particularly beneficial for those who have already transitioned from managing individual contributors to managing other managers.


The program is suitable for business line, area, and function directors and CEOs. It is also beneficial for leaders who lead ecosystems and manage the collaboration of multiple teams in possibly several locations.

Contents and Schedule

The program has a modular structure consisting of three core modules and one elective module. Each core module is held once a year, and you can start the program with any of the modules. Elective modules can be chosen from the pre-selected programs. Each three-day module is worth 4.5 ECTS study credits.

The program is delivered through onsite and live online modules. It consists of a Hogan assessment, simulations, case studies, lectures, pre- and post-assignments, and discussions with your peers and faculty. The program includes two online courses (Essentials of Leading Change and Essentials of Emotional Intelligence) to support your learning. Optional Coaching is also highly recommended to ensure that you can link your learnings and new ideas in the context of your organization and ecosystems.

All Diploma in Leading People study modules (core and elective) can also be taken as stand-alone programs. Completing the Diploma in Leading People program will comprehensively build your impactful leadership competence.

Program Structure

Pre-module period of 2-3 weeks

Individual preparation

Onsite and Online Modules

Live onsite and online modules give flexibility to your learning and inspire networking with peers.

Two online courses to support your learning

Online courses as part of the core modules support your development.



Saara Bange

Saara Bange is a coach, trainer, and facilitator in leadership, communication, and collaboration with several years of experience in academia and the industry.

Her topics include self-management and self-awareness, leading with emotional intelligence, and understanding identities and personalities in organizational life.

She works as a Director at Aalto EE, holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the Helsinki School of Economics, and is finalizing her Ph.D. in Organisational Studies at the Aalto University School of Business. She has published her research in journals such as the Journal of Management Inquiry and the Journal of Media Management. 

Bange is a certified Hogan Assessment personality profiling consultant, certified WPB5 consultant, certified Personal Resilience Practitioner, and certified emotional intelligence (EQi) assessor. She has worked with several individuals and teams to help them find their potential and leverage their leadership skills. Bange’s clients have complimented her for her caring and passionate approach and her ability to explain complex issues in a way that is easy to understand.

Prior to joining Aalto University Executive Education, Bange worked for years with leadership development and strategic communications advisory for leading companies in different sectors. Before that, she worked at the Aalto University School of Economics as a researcher and teacher. Her current research interests lie in the intersection of the future of work and leaders’ identity work.

Stephen Carver

Stephen Carver is a Senior Lecturer at Cranfield University. 


Carver is an internationally renowned teacher and consultant in the field of project and program management. He started his career as an oil engineer and later at Virgin and then onto a global company as head of change. Stephen has a reputation for taking complex management concepts such as Project, Program, and Crisis Management and being able to distill them down, into highly informative and fun lectures – often using “storytelling” techniques. His attitude is, “if you haven’t done it – you shouldn’t be teaching it!”

Unusually, for an academic, he has actually has spent most of his working life in real business. Stephen is an unusual blend of Academic, Businessman and Teller of Tales. He has taught in UK, US Holland, Germany, France, Portugal, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia and has appeared on National Radio and TV.

Joaquín Cava

Joaquín Cava is a Lecturer at the Department of Strategy and General Management at Esade.

Joaquín Cava has developed most of his career at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which he joined in 1994. He became a partner and Vice President of the firm in January 2002. During his career as a consultant, he has worked with a wide range of clients in all sectors: consumer goods, banking, industry (cement, machine tools, metallurgy, etc.), energy, telecommunications, diversified industrial conglomerates, etc. He has been involved in projects in a wide range of functional areas, including: strategic definition and implementation; the design and implementation of business or expansion plans; organizational and process design; the definition of business strategies (channels, products, pricing, etc.); the implementation of plans to improve operational efficiency; management of merger processes and synergies; the valuation of acquisition objectives and participation in due diligence processes; the overseeing of the design and implementation of new strategies for information systems.

While at BCG, Joaquín Cava has also been responsible for the areas of recruitment and marketing at the company's offices in Madrid, Barcelona, and Lisbon. Before joining BCG, he worked at The Mac Group and Prodesfarma, SA.

Ville Eloranta

Dr. Ville Eloranta is currently working as a Senior University Lecturer at Aalto University School of Business.

He is also Director of the IDBM Master's Program (the Aalto International Design Business Management program for future transdisciplinary professionals) and involved in developing Network University Fitech (a transformative education endeavor of the seven biggest Finnish universities, Technology Industries of Finland, and TEK, the trade union for academic engineers and architects in Finland).

Dr. Ville Eloranta is an expert in design management (connecting design paradigms to management practice), business model innovation (especially platform business models), and distributed ledger technologies (especially open blockchain implementations). He has a solid track record of publications in top-level management journals.

Besides a strong academic track record, Dr. Ville Eloranta has 20 years of experience in design and entrepreneurship solving digitalization challenges, especially for big B2B customers.

Ville Eloranta holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering and Management from Aalto University School of Science and Technology.

Ira Lange

Ira Lange's core competencies are relationships in the workplace and the factors that influence behavior and interaction of management and experts.

Her coaching and training themes are leadership and management practices, efficient and effective team building, as well as building trust and confidence in the organization. In recent years Lange has also coached executive board members and management teams which have faced leadership challenges in achieving common goal.

Lange is interested in human cognition, emotions, and efficiency in workplace environment and in a professional context. In addition to leadership coaching and training, Lange also trains sales and customer relationship management skills, based on her previous experience as a consultant and sales manager. Lange makes a variety of assessments and inquiries that can be connected to team building and personal development programs.

Lange is a coach, CEO and entrepreneur at Q.motion Oy. She has over 20 years of experience in sales and leadership management, e.g.,  Aspectum Consulting, Amos Partners, Bon Stockbrokers, AON Corporation. Lange works in Finland and Baltic countries.

She has Masters from the University of Helsinki. She is a certified Business Coach by ICF and team builder, TM.

Pekka Mattila

Pekka Mattila is Associate Professor at the Aalto University School of Business.

He works frequently with European, Asian, African, and North American executive audiences on themes of strategic management, business model innovation, leadership, top team dynamics, leading change and transformation, organizational culture, and strategic marketing. During the period 2011-2021, he served as the Managing Director and Associate Dean of Aalto University Executive Education.

In addition to his academic activities Mattila has conducted an active business career. He has served or currently serves as the Chairman of the Board or as a Member of the Board at a number of innovative companies in media, banking, ecommerce, technology, edtech, invest-in, construction, as well as food and beverage industries. Moreover, he serves as a Member of the Board of The Finnish National Gallery.

Mattila holds a doctorate (D.Sc. 2006) and a master’s degree (M.Sc. 2003) in sociology at the University of Helsinki and an Executive MBA (2010) at London Business School. Over the years, he has frequently visited several prestigious European and Asian universities teaching management, organizational behaviour, marketing, and sociology.

Mattila has authored several managerial books on leadership, change, and transformation as well as strategic marketing and sales. His consulting, training, and coaching career started in 2003, and his corporate clients comprise over 480 Nordic and international companies, entrepreneurial ventures as well as prominent public sector institutions and NGOs.

Natalia Vuori

Dr. Natalia Vuori is an Assistant Professor in Leadership at the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Aalto University.

Professor Vuori is an expert in strategic leadership and change management in radical changes (digital and AI transformation, M&A) and more incremental changes (changes toward a more agile and innovative culture). 

Professor Vuori’s research was published in prestigious scholarly and practice journals such as Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies, and Advances in Mergers and Acquisitions. She also won five international awards from the Strategic Management Society and the Academy of Management, including the Newman Award of the Academy of Management.

Professor Vuori is an experienced speaker and educator. She gives keynote speeches for companies and facilities strategy and change management workshops for companies. She uses innovative teaching methods based on interactive learning. Professor Vuori also consults companies on topics such as strategy and change implementation, post-acquisitions integration, and culture for more flexibility and innovation. In the past, she conducted research at such prestigious universities as INSEAD, and Bocconi University.

Timo Vuori

Timo Vuori is an Associate Professor, Strategic Management at Aalto University School of Science, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management.

Professor Timo O. Vuori is a strategy consultant and professor at Aalto University. His research on the psychological aspects of strategic management has been published in leading international journals and won several international awards. He has taught and presented his research at leading universities like Harvard and INSEAD. 

Professor Vuori's research and teaching focus on how companies formulate and execute strategies. He has written two books with senior business executives on these topics. "Living Strategy" describes scenario-based strategy making in an ever-changing world. "Platform Strategy" describes how incumbent firms should and can renew themselves in the digital era. The books detail both the "hard" factors, such as technology and business models, and "soft" factors, such as people and psychology, influencing strategy and renewal.  

Professor Vuori works extensively with companies, often collaborating with a leading strategy consulting company. Vuori helps the client organization formulate and evaluate several strategic options in strategy formulation projects. He uses advanced psychological techniques to help leaders unleash their strategic creativity and overcome thinking myopias and personal biases. This approach is based on his cutting-edge international research, also described in the Platform Strategy. 

In strategy execution projects, Professor Vuori specializes in helping the client firm optimize the psychological engagement of the whole organization. He analyses the psychological impact of the intended strategy execution program and modifies it to maximally leverage the emotions of the organization's members' for effectiveness.

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