The transformative power of business school for executives By Prof. Henrik Totterman 

In today’s dynamic and fast-evolving business landscape, executives often inquire about the tangible returns on investment from pursuing a business degree, particularly an Executive MBA (EMBA). As a professor deeply involved in guiding busy executives, I find that the answer extends far beyond immediate financial gains – it’s about equipping oneself with the tools to navigate a rapidly changing world, fostering adaptability, and making a lasting impact. 

One of the primary advantages of an EMBA is its role in keeping executives on the cutting edge of knowledge. The program offers a platform to learn the latest innovation techniques, including design thinking, and gain insights into disruptive technologies such as AI, Blockchain, and Cybersecurity. Given the swift evolution of the workplace, continuous and lifelong learning is crucial, and business education is linked to staying ahead of the curve. 

For those who might have retreated into their comfort zones, the message is clear: refreshing skills brings considerable benefits both personally and professionally. Business schools are designed to address the latest trends in global business, helping students apply the newest management techniques and providing a constant challenge to think and act innovatively. 

Flexibility is a key aspect to consider when choosing a business program, especially for working professionals. Whether attending classes in person or virtually, having the option to catch up at another time or even on another campus ensures that life’s unexpected events don’t hinder educational progress. 

Executive learners often have clear career goals, whether it involves switching careers, climbing the corporate ladder, or becoming more effective managers. The diverse student body in business schools, which includes professionals from various fields such as engineering, medicine, and science, creates an environment where cross-pollination of insights is the norm. This diversity allows for strong relationships to be forged, both professionally and personally, which extend beyond graduation. 

In a world where emerging technologies and market dynamics continually reshape careers and businesses, the need for lifelong learning is evident. A growth mindset, coupled with the development of soft skills and immersion in emerging technologies, forms a holistic approach to career development. Employers are increasingly seeking individuals who can take decisive action, possess strong interpersonal skills, and adapt seamlessly to change. 

A well-structured business degree, especially an EMBA, goes beyond imparting hard skills. It instills the attributes necessary for success in today’s business environment – working in diverse teams, leading and inspiring others, communicating ideas clearly, and making informed decisions based on business sense. This challenge-centered approach ensures that students not only learn but also apply these skills in a practical setting. 

The commitment required to balance family, work, and studies in a world of continuous change is substantial. However, the payoff is significant, with business degree programs providing the foundation needed for self-development and relevance in an ever-evolving professional landscape. 

Executives should view a business degree as an investment in their future. It not only increases earning potential and opens doors to new opportunities but also serves as a venue for exploration. Beyond traditional corporate roles, a business school empowers executives to pursue diverse career trajectories, from leadership positions to entrepreneurial ventures. 

In the current globalized world, business schools with a broad international footprint offer executives added reach. The opportunity to rotate between locations exposes them to different cultures and working methodologies. A diverse student body and international campus network broaden horizons, and the connections made during and after the program can prove invaluable. 

As a professor specializing in design thinking, innovation, and strategy, I witness firsthand the transformative impact of business degree programs. Real-world business challenges, integral to these programs, combine skills and knowledge to develop practical strategies. The immersive experience of an EMBA not only evolves students’ capabilities but also shapes their careers significantly. 

In conclusion, executives seeking to propel their careers to new heights should consider the transformative impact of a business degree. Beyond financial gains and career advancement, it’s about gaining a competitive edge, fostering adaptability, and making a lasting impact in a rapidly changing world. A business school education not only future proofs one’s career but also sets the stage for continuous learning and exploration of diverse career trajectories. The support, challenges, and opportunities provided by a well-designed business program contribute significantly to personal and professional growth. 


Henrik Totterman 

Henrik Totterman, D.Sc. is Professor of Practice at Hult International Business School, Boston, and CEO of Leadx3m. With a strong background in leadership and academia, Henrik excels in global business problem-solving and champions entrepreneurial management as a mindset. 

As a seasoned entrepreneur and a member of the teaching faculty at Harvard, he combines practical experience with educational commitment. Henrik, the Honorary Consul of Finland and official representative of FIBAN – the Finnish Business Angels Network in New England, collaborates closely with innovative companies and institutions aspiring for growth. 

Additionally, he serves on the Rektor’s international advisory board and the EMBA advisory board of Hanken School of Economics, and the advisory board of Ascendus, a NYC headquartered non-profit small business financier.