Atte has significant International experience. He has lived in six countries, on three continents and done business in close to 50 developed and emerging markets.
Early in my career I was involved in a number of hi-tech start-ups around the world. I had several very senior roles and I quickly found myself sitting in rooms with people twice my age. I learned a lot by ‘doing’, but I realised I could benefit from getting an MBA. I knew London Business School had a great reputation, and the Executive MBA programme split between London and Dubai was perfect for me as I was living in Dubai and regularly worked in London.
People often see themselves as very industry specific and although specialist knowledge is important, common sense is just as useful. Going into the programme, my focus was on excelling, rather than what was going to happen once I completed the programme. My recommendation would be to foster relationships and develop a diverse network with your peers. You need to stop and assess what is really important, and understand that it’s never a waste of time to grab a cup of coffee or have a quick chat with someone. You learn from people no matter what industry they are in – the more different they are to you, the more you can learn.
EMBA definitely helped me identify my personal goals. After the programme I took a sabbatical to complete a very personal challenge – climbing the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on each continent. In actual fact, climbing a mountain is very much like a mini MBA. There are lots of type-A personalities on a mountain like Everest, similar types of people from different industries.On a climb like that, you see how stress impacts people; you realise that despite being physically strong, very few have the luxury of reaching the top. I’ve learnt to recognise the slight differences in mental strength between people, which can mean success or failure.
I like to think that I can make a positive impact on the world. I’ve done a lot of business in emerging markets so I’ve been able to transfer methods of doing business from developed markets in to the emerging world. My Executive MBA class has also been helping raise money to fund a school in Nepal. Bridging the gap between developed nations and regions where opportunities are so few is one way to really make a difference.
Doing an Executive MBA while working is a challenge, but you can make it happen. I’m taking everything from my degree and my climbing back to the boardroom. I’ve learned a lot about setting goals, pushing yourself to reach your goals and how to operate in a team where everyone is keen to get to the top. I’m also looking to put together an expedition to Antarctica, climbing mountains that have never been climbed before. In the meantime, I’m looking towards my biggest challenge yet – parenthood!