An up-to-date toolbox, improved self-confidence and self-awareness, greater self-assurance and – above all – a network for life. Suzanne Jacobsson, Head of Business Support/Administration, Director of Human Resources and Deputy County Governor of the County Administrative Board of Skåne has gotten all this and more from the Executive MBA.
The class of 2015 graduated from the Executive MBA leadership and management program last spring. One of those graduates was Suzanne Jacobsson, who serves as Head of Business Support/Administration, Director of Human Resources and Deputy County Governor of the County Administrative Board of Skåne. Now that just over a year has passed, we are curious to hear her summary of what she gained from the program.
“In short, an up-to-date toolbox, improved self-confidence and self-awareness, greater self-assurance and a network for life,” says Suzanne.
Suzanne feels she has received an up-to-date, simple and useful toolbox containing methods, approaches, thought models and much more in a wide variety of areas.
“Not only did I get to read about the most current techniques and methods; I also got to test them hands-on, time and time again in various types of reality-based cases or through activities integrated with my work outside of the classroom. Having had the chance to practice applying them to different problems and to my work outside of the classroom fostered self-assurance for me as a manager.”
Another aspect Suzanne emphasizes is that she gained better self-confidence and self-awareness, as well as greater self-assurance in various types of situations.
“Everything I experienced at the EMBA gave me more self-awareness and thus confidence, calmness and self-assurance in all kinds of situations,” Suzanne explains. “Maybe especially in situations that require quick decisions and action. For example, I have the courage to slow down and bring together what and who I need to analyze the situation before rushing into solutions or rash decisions. In a world that requires faster action and reaction, I think reflection and analysis require more courage – without getting stuck, of course. And I learned exciting techniques and methods for doing that while I was there. I also feel like I’m aware of the latest management literature and as I said, I got to practice using various toolboxes, which gives me greater self-assurance.”
In addition to a large dose of new knowledge, new tools and more self-assurance, 18 educational months at the Executive MBA also provided a network for life.
“I have gained a network and friends for life. I see many of them on a regular basis in my spare time, for lunch and so on. A small group meets regularly, sometimes with a supervisor, to continue working on improving and growing as managers through safe and constructive feedback. You learn an awful lot from all these incredibly sharp individuals who take the EMBA – all the conversations you have between sessions, over dinner, during case exercises and so on that provide new perspectives, knowledge and inspiration. You live and work together so intensively that you have to be comfortable enough to open up and be yourself to keep up there, at work and at home.”
Many Executive MBA participants come from companies, but like Suzanne, some are from the public sector as well.
“Even though public enterprises are not for profit, we’re supposed to be as efficient and productive as possible, which makes the financial perspective at least as important as it is in any other enterprise. Sure, some financial ratios/indicators are not applicable to public enterprises, but the mindset should be the same.”
The Executive MBA participants work largely on current cases, situations from their day-to-day work and potential events. According to Suzanne, the Executive MBA helped her with everything from extraordinary and emergency situations to everyday work.
“We had an extraordinary and serious refugee reception situation in Sweden and Europe this past fall, which essentially changed overnight. On extremely short notice, Sweden, and especially Skåne initially, had to deal with extraordinary numbers of new arrivals and unaccompanied children. The government agency I work for has a critical coordinating mission concerning the reception of these groups of people. No one was really prepared for what happened or for the stress resulting from new arrivals, regional entities, the media etc. At that time, I was working as the interim deputy county governor and along with my bosses and in-house experts, I came under heavy external pressure to assemble a reception organization in close collaboration with the municipalities of Skåne, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, Swedish Migration Board, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, the Swedish Armed Forces and several other entities. The situation required analysis and reflection, as well as quick practical solutions and decisions. The fact that I had practiced strategic and long-term thinking several times when action was needed urgently at the EMBA gave me excellent self-assurance. This mindset has proven useful every single day at work – I basically use the skills base and self-assurance the EMBA gave me day in and day out.”
Finally, I asked if the EMBA met her expectations. The answer came fast:
“It exceeded them.”