Miikka Saarteinen often completes a full day’s work before the rest of us have lunch – and that’s not just because of the time difference.
As Deputy Director, Information Resources and Development, with Finland’s State Treasury, he’s tasked with leading a small, active unit that oversees various information assets and development activities at the government agency. “We are mainly supporting our business divisions to meet their goals and objectives,” explains Saarteinen, 45. He views himself as a “skilled internal consultant” who makes sure the State Treasury is operating smoothly and efficiently.
Still, times are changing. It’s becoming increasingly hard to keep up with new trends and technologies in his sector, and the pace of change is more rapid than ever before. When Saarteinen began looking into MBA programs to expand his skill set, his goal was to find a program that was ahead of the curve, and also flexible. He soon landed on the DeGroote School of Business’ Executive MBA in Digital Transformation.
“I knew about McMaster University and its strong global reputation, and I became very interested in DeGroote’s EMBA program once it was announced,” he says. “I noticed DeGroote was one of few business schools that offered digital transformation as a focus at the MBA level. The program syllabus looked interesting, and it was well in line with my goals.”
The 13-month EMBA program, which welcomed its first cohort in September 2016, allows students to study technical content more often associated with master-level programs in data science and business analytics, while also focusing on core topics such as finance, marketing, and strategy. Students, who come from all over the world and represent a wide variety of industries, learn from a mix of DeGroote professors and industry experts. Corporate partners include theScore, CIBC, IBM, SAS, and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Its unique structure allows working professionals to earn a world-class MBA without slowing their career trajectory. Saarteinen has been with the Finnish State Treasury for nearly a decade, and previously served as a Vice President with Nasdaq OMX. Putting his career on hold to pursue a MBA was simply not an option.
To entice working professionals such as Saarteinen, the DeGroote EMBA was designed around four residential modules in Southern Ontario and Silicon Valley, California, which take place at staggered intervals. “The way the program is built around four modules, with additional online learning components, has made it possible for me to combine work and studying. That was very important,” says Saarteinen. “This also allows me to immediately apply the lessons from DeGroote each time I return to work.”
Saarteinen is certainly doing the latter. Five months into the program, he’s already increased his ability to make data-driven decisions, both strategic and operational, and says he’s enjoying an enhanced reputation as a “leader and expert” back at the State Treasury. “When I finish the EMBA, I’ll be seen as a highly-valuable member of my organization, both today and in the years ahead,” he offers. “It’s the perfect program to suit my short and long-term goals.”