“We still have 16 months to go, yet my high expectations have been met so far.”

Björn Niklasson, District Manager at Midroc Construction, shares some of his thoughts following the first months of the 18-month Executive MBA leadership and management program. Most recently, the participants met for a three-day residential session on leadership.

“The program attracts many highly skilled individuals from all kinds of industries,”, says Björn Niklasson, District Manager at Midroc Construction, one of the participants of the Executive MBA program that commenced in September.

Hi there Björn! What is your view of the EFL Executive MBA program after the first two months?
It is clearly an established program in the sense that its content is well balanced and planned, but you can also tell that the program attracts many highly skilled individuals from all kinds of industries. I am fully confident that the network built here will endure long after the program is completed as a result of the level of involvement and experience shared among the participants. The three-day residential session in a pleasant setting is an arrangement that naturally helps keep us intently focused on learning and get to know each other better within the group.

The academic level is high, and yet, unlike university programs, such as the one I did in engineering, this has stronger ties to the business community. The program has been developed and improved on the basis of 18 previous groups of executives, and this is reflected in both the lectures and the workshops. The employers/companies of the participants play a key role in the program. Almost every module gives extra focus to one of the participating companies. This serves as a unique opportunity for participants to obtain detailed insight into other industries, but also for the company in focus to receive input on its operations that can be taken home and analyzed.

We still have 16 months to go, yet my high expectations have been met so far.

You recently attended a leadership residential session. Tell us about it!
The leadership module was the first one following the Micro-bachelor, making it the second meeting of the Executive MBA class of 2019. Over the summer we were given three books on leadership on which the theoretical foundation of this module was based. This leadership literature was to be the subject of group discussion for three days and applied in the day-to-day work of the participants. Before beginning the module, each participant was also to write a few pages on what leadership means to them, including an example of a situation on the subject which was considered challenging.

The program’s entire structure is based on this format.  That is, it combines our preparatory study of the theories, which are then presented by instructors who are highly knowledgeable in the subject, with discussions of the experience of the participants and written assignments. The discussions and understanding of the theories are naturally much more thorough when the participants are well prepared before coming to the residential session than if they were not.

In addition to the theories studied and the discussions on leadership during change, leadership in complex organizations, leadership and communication, reflective leadership, charismatic leadership, managing, leadership in practice, the experiences of participants and so on, we performed a comprehensive practical exercise in this module that I don’t think any of the participants will easily forget. It was an excellent example of how difficult and complex leadership and communication are in practice. However, I don’t want to reveal any details that may be useful to the Executive MBA class of 2020 : )

Executive MBA class of 2019 in action

What did you learn?
Leadership is complex. Leadership is not the solution to everything, but it is of the utmost importance. It is important to reflect on leadership and scrutinize the glorified view of leadership in an ever-changing world.

Something that directly benefits you in your career?
I have been given several theories and tools on leadership in general, and have reinforced my own belief that a skilled, tightly-knit group creates the greatest value in organizations.

What is your advice to new participants thinking of embarking on the Executive MBA program?
If you have the drive and the opportunity to enroll in the program, go for it. It will demand much of your time, but it is possible to fit it in. See it as a crucial investment in your own abilities and the growth of your company. The program is based on more than structure and content – it’s also driven by participants sharing experience with and inspiring each other. What you get out of it is many times greater than what you put in.

I am fully confident that the EFL Executive MBA program will make me a better leader and raise the bar in terms of business acumen for both me and my employer, Midroc.