“I gained a better understanding of my company’s financial strategy”

Three-day residency session on corporate financial management at the Executive MBA program. Lina Karlsson, Director R&D at Baxter International Inc., shares her experiences.

20150915_3631_low2What was your impression of the corporate financial management session?
As in all the other residency sessions, I learned a lot and the instructors were knowledgeable. As a leader, it’s important to understand how companies are valued, what concepts drive value and what business risks companies face. I had many aha-moments at this session. I also got a good sense of how a company’s degree of maturity can impact its value.

What were the greatest lessons you learned?
This session’s topic was among those with which I had the least prior knowledge, so there were a lot of new terms that I had heard before, but I didn’t really know the context in which they were used. Now I’ve gained a better understanding of how companies are valued, what drives value in a company and financial strategies. This has also improved my understanding of the big picture when my company’s overall corporate strategies are presented.

Did you learn anything that you feel directly benefits your career?
My improved understanding of concepts related to the field and being able to put them in context has also given me a better understanding of my own company’s (Baxter’s) financial strategy. This in turn helps me explain key top management decisions to my teams and why we’re receiving the particular orders that are coming in from headquarters in Chicago. This greater understanding and new ability to explain decisions makes it easier to motivate both myself and my teams when times are tough.

What do you hope to get out of the Executive MBA?
I’ve already gotten a lot out of the Executive MBA program and I’ve grown as a leader considerably – above all, the program gives me a broader view of business. I come from R&D and the operations world, and combining the prior knowledge I had from my career with everything we’re learning in other fields such as finance, marketing and strategy gives me a wider perspective, making me a more stable and, above all, a broader leader. The network you get through your classmates is invaluable, and there are several people I will stay in touch with after the program is over.

Describe your job and give us an example of something you have gained from the program that has been useful in your work.
I lead a development organization that produces kidney dialysis machines and water purification systems. I’m responsible for the teams that develop hardware for these products and my teams are based in Lund and in Medolla, Italy. It’s tough to come up with a specific example of what has been useful to me – the EMBA as a whole makes me a more mature leader.


Lina Karlsson
Director R&D, Baxter International Inc.


What’s your favorite travel destination?
The Alps with fresh snow

Do you have any book recommendations?
Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa, Innan floden tar oss (Before the River Takes Us) by Helena Thorfinn, and of course all of the many books we’ve read during the Executive MBA program

What’s your favorite app?
Runkeeper and Spotify