Why did you decide to earn an Executive MBA and what did you hope to achieve?
After almost four years as marketing manager I felt as if my task was completed and I was eager to move on within the company and take on new challenges.
How did participating in the SSE MBA program change you as a person?
My self-confidence has grown from becoming more familiar with concepts such as different business models, management tools, various paradigms and the "management language" vocabulary. I am more comfortable in carrying on discussions with decision makers from other areas. I have also gained valuable insight into finance and strategy issues.
How did it affect your professional career?
I was appointed CEO in January, a position that has offered me a golden opportunity to practice what I have learned during the program. I would actually not have taken the job unless I had the MBA. Nymans Ur is a family-owned company since 1851, and it feels rather special for me as a non-family employee to have been given such confidence.
Even if the MBA was part of my career ambitions, I originally had a much longer time perspective. When applying for the MBA in September 2011 I had worked as marketing manager since 2008, before that I worked as a sales representative for four years. Six months into the program I was promoted to Vice President.
How did the MBA affect your daily work?
I returned to work after every fifth week spent in class eager to apply what I had learned and to incorporate new thoughts in ways that were beneficial to the company. Every tool I acquired made me reflect on if and how I could put it to use in real life.
One example is the overhaul of the company's internal incentive program that I initiated as a direct result of a group session in class. Now the scheme is much more transparent and seen as rewarding and motivating by the staff.
The management and organization module in class also provided me with eye openers such as the analytical tool for how to adapt a company to different stages of its development. What's important during a growth phase, for example? It made me comprehend the needs of a family-owned company in terms of improved governance and reporting routines. As a result, we updated the organization with increased responsibilities for local managers, which has been very well received by the organization.
What were the most stimulating aspects of the SSE MBA, in your eyes?
The entire economy and finance modules were particularly rewarding to me personally, since I studied political science and criminology at the university. Also, the CSR module was fantastic and taught me a lot. It made me aware of the sustainability aspects of the business we're in and the fact that exclusive handmade watches – built to last for hundreds of years using a high degree of craftsmanship – actually contribute to sustainability. This is not something our industry has been strong in communicating, so there is plenty of scope for improvement.
What impressed you most about the program?
I had honestly not expected to get as much out of the other course participants as I did. It's not like undergraduate studies, where the other students are "blank sheets" waiting to be filled by an all-knowing professor. At the SSE MBA, your fellow participants provide almost as useful and interesting knowledge as the faculty and the literature.
What would you say to someone considering an executive MBA at SSE?
If you are motivated and ready to commit yourself – do it!