The 18-month program kicked off in January and wraps up in May 2020. Students Pavel Tatyanin and Carissma Dennis share their motivations for studying, their first impressions and their hopes for the coming year.
Pavel Tatyanin, Global eCommerce Cluster Leader at Schneider Electric
I was born in Russia, live in Sweden and have a French girlfriend, so I’m quite comfortable in a multicultural environment! I joined Schneider Electric 12 years ago and have since had the chance to work in several different roles.
I thought a lot before deciding to do my MBA. I did some research and the best option in my opinion was the Executive MBA at Stockholm School of Economics which allows me to continue working full time while earning the degree. Sweden is also a country full of companies that are leading the digital revolution like Skype and Spotify; the Executive MBA is in line with this and has a strong focus on innovation and entrepreneurship.
Photo: Pavel Tatyanin (left) with two of his SSE MBA coursemates
I started the program with three main aims: to develop my strategic thinking, increase my knowledge around financial management and accounting, and finally to enhance my knowledge in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship.
I was also excited to expand my network and meet new people. For some time now I’ve been working in the same industry, so for me it was interesting to get a different perspective from people working in art or medicine, for example. The program is organised in the way that you have a lot of group interaction; you don’t just learn from lectures or books but from each other.
My first impression of the program is very positive. I had been really looking forward to it for some time so I was very happy to finally start! I’m really excited for the new experience and to develop myself professionally. A few weeks into the program I still have this feeling of excitement.
From the beginning, though, I realised this year would be different as I would have to invest a lot of time in my studies without impacting my job. It does take a toll on your private life and most of my weekends are spent reading the literature or taking an exam.
We recently went to Riga for a study week. It was my first time there and I found it interesting to discover this economy that had grown so rapidly over the last twenty years or so. The agenda was built around three main topics: economics, CSR, and accounting. As accounting is one of the areas which are new to me, it was exciting the way the subject was introduced in direct relation to business strategy.
The cherry on top of the trip was two company visits organised by SSE. We met with Cognizant to understand their value proposition for digital solutions and the Bank of Latvia for a deep dive into the country’s economic development over the last decades.
Photo: Pavel Tatyanin (left) on a night out with fellow students in Riga
Aside from studying, we also had a lot of fun together, discovering the city and its sights as well as one great night out! It was a great chance to get to know each other and get closer to the other members of our group.
I’m looking forward to continuing this exciting journey, building my expertise and further developing my knowledge in class and outside by working on the group projects.
Carissma Dennis, Global Social Media Manager at Volvo
I grew up in India where an MBA is seen as a critical degree to have if you want to move up the ladder. I realise now that it’s more of a cultural requisite there than it is here in Sweden but that played an important part in my decision to get my Executive MBA.
Photo: Carissa Dennis (right)
I do also think it will help with my career here in Sweden. Stockholm School of Economics is a very well known school in Sweden and it opens me up to a wider network of people. I already know a lot more people.
I’m self-funding my studies and doing the Executive MBA in my spare time but my employer has been really encouraging. They like to see me investing in my development, your manager always wants to see you’re enthusiastic and eager to learn more. It makes me feel really lucky that I work in such an amazing company with great leaders.
When you start the program, you realise it won’t be easy. It will be a hard but fulfilling journey. We were shown a rollercoaster as an example of what we will feel like throughout the program and so far that seems quite accurate to me! I’m one of the younger ones and there are people in my group with a lot of experience and some really impressive job titles which is really inspiring. And it’s exciting, you’re putting yourself out there and pushing your boundaries. Everyone is super sweet too, it’s amazing how quickly you start to make friends.
Photo: Carissa Dennis with fellow MBA students in Riga
It’s definitely intense. Scheduled hours are pretty much from nine in the morning until nine at night, and if you haven't studied in a while it's a pleasant shock! It’s been a big adjustment process. It really hits you, how much there is to do. But I am looking forward to it, particularly the module on innovation and entrepreneurship. I’m enjoying seeing how what I learn begins to make more and more sense. More conversations around me are making sense and I’m beginning to see how the MBA fits in with my daily work.
This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Stockholm School of Economics.