Five quick questions for Mats Larsson

Five quick questions for Mats Larsson, Client Partner at Verizon Enterprise Solution, following the Executive MBA leadership module.

The participants of the Executive MBA Class of 2016 are now in the second part of the program, which we call Business Fundamentals. Business Fundamentals consists of 10 modules, and the leadership module is the first with a three-day residency session. Naturally, we are quite curious to hear more about it, so we contacted participant Mats Larsson, Client Partner at Verizon Enterprise Solution, for 5 quick questions.

What was your impression of the leadership residency session?
As a whole, the leadership residency session was interesting and educational, especially getting to immediately use and test the models we’ve read about and put them into practice. The time was well-spent and offered new knowledge for me to bring home and use at work.

We worked on an authentic case for a major Swedish company established in Eastern Europe that another participant brought in. Our task was to develop and improve the structure of the company’s management team. We had the chance to look at real data and analyze the situation based on the customer’s local conditions. We then considered different solutions, came up with proposals for improving the management team and put strategic issues on the management team’s agenda – all of which went hand-in-hand with an action plan and an implementation schedule. Our proposals have been presented to the company’s management and some components have even been implemented.

The residency session also gave us an interesting overview of various leadership theories, with excellent literature by Peter G. Northouse (Leadership,) Katzenbach (Leading outside the lines) and Mintzberg (Managing).

Why an Executive MBA?
Since the early 2000s, I have worked in various positions in international settings with customers who are globally established or aiming to expand internationally. I find business in an international environment and different corporate cultures fascinating. I was looking for a program that could offer me a breadth of knowledge and a stable foundation upon which to build and develop my career in the area I find most interesting: international business.

Why EFL?
EFL’s focus on Africa in the Executive MBA program is interesting; many companies want to establish themselves there and there are great business opportunities. For myself and the company I work for, the fact that Lund University is on the top 100 list of the world’s leading universities was also significant. In addition, ever since our first meeting a few years ago, each encounter I’ve had with EFL has been extremely professional. They exhibited a long-term dedication that was reassuring.

Do you have a role model, philosophy, favorite quote or favorite book you would like to share?
I discovered Stephen Covey’s ideas in the late 1990s and they have been a big source of inspiration for me. I also think the books of Tony Robbins and Robin Sharma are worth reading, and Steve Jobs’ biography is of course quite interesting. Hans Blix is a Swede who I see as a role model in many ways.

What do you do in your free time?
My wife and I have three children, and we like to travel and share an interest in sports. I try to exercise 3-4 times per week, but it’s getting harder to keep up with my 18-year-old in powerlifting. My family has homes in Gotland and Småland, which are incredibly relaxing and give us a nice taste of nature; we take early morning walks on the beach in Kappelshamn or fish in a lake in the Småland highlands. I read when I have time or listen to audiobooks when I’m stuck in traffic in Stockholm. Right now I’m going through a phase of reading memoirs; I think I have about 30 books in that genre. Most recently, I’ve read the autobiographies of Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, Yngwie Malmsteen and Arnold Schwarzenegger. They all have a strong will and incredible dedication to the task at hand, which offers plenty of inspiration. Each of these authors has a different way of life to say the least, but the contrasts are interesting.

Executive MBA – Class of 2017 starts September 14, 2015.