MBA Career Stories was written in co-operation by 33 MBA´s from around the world as a networking and marketing project, in order to develop intercultural communication. The purpose of the publication is to serve as a guidance to people who consider pursuing an MBA, and as a general career/life guide.
Anne-Maria Yritys, MBA
Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland
I graduated in 2012 from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, which is one of Finland´s leading business schools. The reason for selecting this program was because of the great opportunity to choose free elective courses from other universities. Personally, I also took some courses from Aalto University, and participated in overseas courses at San José State University, the capital city of Silicon Valley, California, USA, and the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The program was quite extensive, as I studied more free electives than necessary. Beside my MBA studies, I completed two investment courses/exams at Aalto University. The core program was pretty much standard, including courses in quantitative/qualitative research methods, project management, and talent management.
As free electives I chose to take quite many strategic management courses, a couple of change management courses, including business ethics and CSR. The course in Silicon Valley included international marketing, mass media, PR and communication, and innovation management. Quite a package in two and a half years, and I worked full-time throughout my studies in retail banking – it was an intense period.
Previous to the MBA I had been working in the hotel, restaurant and travel industries for a decade after my Bachelor´s Degree in Hospitality Management in 2001. In 2007, I changed careers into banking, and wanted to expand my knowledge from being an expert within hospitality, into learning more generally about international business management. I am satisfied about this decision, since this has given me more options and possibilities in business life.
I have until this day found the MBA useful in at least the following aspects:
– Increased confidence and trust in my own capacity/knowledge
– Improved networking skills
– Improved presentation and public speaking skills
– General increase of knowledge and knowledge creation
– If knowledge is not directly available, I know how and where to find it
– A strategic and holistic view upon business and life in general
– A better understanding of the big picture of how society and different industries and businesses function
I was a fairly critical thinker already before the MBA, but today I am even more critical in terms of putting things into a perspective. The MBA also enhanced my analytical skills.
After graduation, I worked as an investment manager in a small, private investment firm for about a year. I noticed it wasn´t what I wanted in a longer-term, so I left the company.
At the moment I am working as a freelance business consultant, and I am available for (a) new assignment(s) and/or a permanent role e.g. within change and strategy consulting.
The MBA definitely opens up many new doors. The degree increased my appetite for continuous learning, development and improvement not only of myself as a person, but in how I see organizations and different business areas.
My advice for other MBA´s:
– Work hard to reach your goals
– Never give up
– Believe in yourself
– Be open for different options
– Be innovative
– If you are not ready to be an entrepreneur, become an intrapreneur
An MBA can pursue many kinds of careers in business life. Everything depends upon yourself, your motivations and areas of interest. You can start your own business, join a startup, advance your career in a medium-sized or large organization – whatever suits you best. The most important, however, is to remember to be a responsible leader/manager.
Take care of yourself mentally and physically, treat other people fairly, listen to people and be open for feedback. Know yourself and your values, and live according to them. Enjoy life – career is important, but it is not everything. Try to lead a stable life. If you notice something doesn´t seem or feel right – you can always change direction.
I also wanted to test the usefulness of LinkedIn as a networking tool, and how it would help me in finding business opportunities. This eBook project is one of the steps I have taken to progress my career.
I think it is beneficial to have a wide experience, but real professional progress requires determination and focus. Since the world changes with such a fast pace today, it is of course good to be open for continuous change. Today, careers are not necessarily linear, so basically it is useful to always have a plan B, perhaps even a plan C, in case the original plan doesn´t work out. With many decades of work life ahead of me, I want to continue making good decisions and keep on learning and developing throughout my life.