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Paul Seimann

Paul Seimann, working and living in Vienna, Austria, knew that he wanted to do his Executive MBA abroad. When choosing SSE in Stockholm, Sweden, with the culture, the people and the mindset of his Swedish cohort colleagues, he got the perfect fit for his EMBA journey.

You live and work in Vienna, Austria. Why did you choose to study your Executive MBA at SSE in Stockholm, Sweden?

For me it was clear that I want to attend an Executive MBA program abroad. I knew the boxes that had to be ticked before applying. My top three criteria were curriculum, faculty, and network respectively the people with an emphasis on the geographical aspect.

SSE checked all my boxes from the beginning! The structure of the curriculum made it clear that this is a journey with real purpose. With the foundation in the beginning, additional modules are added along the way that equip you with the right tools and capabilities to grow.

With a long-lasting history, the faculty of SSE provides a vast momentum for all students enrolled within any program at Stockholm School of Economics. During the application process I noticed that the SSE MBA program members look for the perfect combination of profiles and characters in the cohort. And this for sure is one unique aspect of this program. The selection process guarantees the most outcome for every participant enrolled. You notice a vibrant activity in the classroom from day one. This grows along the program weeks where you meet your fellow colleagues in various situations and build relations. The first offsite trip to SSE Riga was one of these important events that allowed to meet the cohort in a different environment then in the classroom. Followed by additional events outside of Stockholm or Silicon Valley, which were amazing trips spiked with eye opening moments on the Stanford campus and long-lasting memories made after class.

With Stockholm, I chose a city in one of the most innovative countries worldwide. Many great companies and start-up’s made it to the top out of Sweden. The culture, the people and the mindset of my Swedish cohort colleagues was the perfect fit for my MBA journey.

How would you say that the Executive MBA at SSE has contributed to your professional and personal development?

For sure, the program equipped me with a plethora of new skills, theories, and models. Every course transported a wealth of new information that I could process and reflect upon. By building upon the foundations, the program successfully creates a comprehensive big picture, which becomes clearer with each passing week. Throughout this journey, I was not only able to expand my knowledge but also shape my character and mindset during this intense period. I acquired new tools for solving complex tasks and managing high-performing teams. My colleagues and managers quickly noticed the positive changes in my approach and granted me the autonomy to utilize my new capabilities. After every program week, I had a fresh set of learnings to contribute, which ultimately led to my promotion as Head of Sales at the multinational company Huawei Technologies, upon completing the Executive MBA program at SSE.

Moreover, the Executive MBA program gave me the confidence and skills necessary to switch industries shortly after completion and step into a the new world of Software-as-a-Service companies. The comprehensive curriculum and the support of my peers and professors provided a strong foundation that made this significant transition to the cloud leading company Salesforce possible. Embracing this change allowed me to leverage my newly acquired knowledge and skills in a different context, broadening my professional horizons and opening up new opportunities. Recently, I have joined ServiceNow, one of the fastest growing cloud companies on the planet right now. I try to keep the momentum going and stay hungry for continuous learning and growth. A spark the Executive MBA program ignited.

This program is a challenge that no one should underestimate. It demands discipline and hard work to complete it alongside a full-time job. I constantly reminded myself, "You only get out what you put in!" And this is the absolute truth. If you don’t read the books, prepare the cases, or build the slide decks, you won't be able to contribute effectively. Moreover, it is not fair to other cohort members because every course involves team effort tasks where everyone needs to contribute with something. The learnings from these group efforts have stayed with me since then, as they made me realize that even if a topic was entirely new to me, I could still make valuable contributions if I put in the work and prepared thoroughly.

Tell us about your classmates, who where they, and how have they contributed to your learning and broadening of perspectives?

My cohort felt like a huge set of gear wheels that work together. The Executive MBA program management picks the right candidates to create a pool of high calibre individuals that contribute on different levels and areas. Every participant has a background and experience to share that enables other attendees to learn. The whole group is divided into reflection groups where various group works are held along the program. We were seven people. Every one of us had a kind of “superpower” that contributed to achieve results during the courses but also to share experiences to others. When looking back I think that the people in the cohort were one of the key factors of my journey. The fruitful dialogues during breaks, learnings in the group discussions or simply asking for advice gave me the chance to grow. Not only regarding my career but also in personal belonging I was able to utilize the aggregated toolset. I am grateful to have met so many great characters where I am still in contact with some of them on a regular basis.

As part of the program, you studied innovation and entrepreneurship. As a manager in a big global organization, and not an entrepreneur, have you had any use of it?

Absolutely. The innovation course shared so many new tools and skills to apply in various areas of life (not only in professional scenarios). Like in the whole program, the real value of the entrepreneurship concentration showed itself in the end. It all adds up and connects all dots when looking back. The basics and theory in the beginning get paired with a live project that is executed from a first scratch to a pitch in front of a Dragons Den jury. During this process I noticed the similarities to my role in a multinational company. From raw idea generation, collaborative team work to design thinking methodologies I utilized these capabilities in my organization along the way. Big companies often struggle to be creative, fast, and disruptive. With the course of innovation and entrepreneurship I was able to build my skillset and create my own new way of work within my organisation.

What has surprised you the most?

One thing was my brain capacity. It quickly adapts to new requirements and surroundings and absorbs as much information as possible. Like a muscle the brain gets stronger and more durable if you train it well. The program was the perfect workout program for my brain.

Another thing was the aspect of change. I knew I will step out of the program as a different person. Different in a way of having built up knowledge, developed my skills in team efforts and leadership, ability to cope with assignments that require new knowledge and theories. But on the other hand, as well as creating a network of high calibre participants and professors I can consult, making friends to meet and make travels and last but not least sharing the stacked passion of my journey in Stockholm School of Economics to friends, family and people that want to grow and strive to achieve new goals.