Tears, long nights & making lifelong friends – SSE EMBA

The diversity of Paul Seimann’s classmates at the Stockholm School of Economics Executive MBA means he can now look at his job, his tasks and his colleagues from a completely different perspective. Here’s his EMBA story.

In short

Paul Seimann (Austria) – Stockholm School of Economics

Why did you choose the Stockholm School of Economics for your Executive MBA?

I started looking at MBA programs in more detail around 2015. I started screening programs in Europe and went to an open house in Stockholm, where I visited SSE. It was the first face-to-face touchpoint with the organization and I looked into the whole environment. In the end I chose SSE because of the agenda and because of the setup of the program, meaning that in 18 months I studied [at the campus] for 10 program weeks. That helped me because I did it unsupported by my company, meaning I took my vacation for it. The third point was that it felt right! I felt at home in Stockholm and in SSE because people are so open, friendly and warm-hearted.

Did COVID-19 affect your EMBA experience?

I joined one program week fully online from Austria and I joined one week locally in August in Stockholm. With Zoom technology and great preparation from SSE, the classmates and the professors, even though it was just online it was a great week.

What is the time commitment for the EMBA at SSE?

In between the 10 program weeks, it’s in general between 15 to 20 hours of self-studies a week. That’s because there is a lot of reading, a lot of preparation and a lot of group work. At the beginning you read a lot and prepare the basics. Then they add in group work and exams.

How does SSE select its students?

What SSE does is select the most colorful cohort possible. They really do an amazing job with selecting and compiling the cohort. My cohort was 56 people and within this group we are divided into subgroups, and there they managed to put in so many characters, backgrounds, industries, ages…there are so many individuals in the group.

How did you personally benefit from this diverse network?

You work on simple projects sometimes but [your classmates] bring such different views and mindsets that you start to look differently at tasks. You have so many different inputs that you can take with you and get different results. I recently had one case [at work] where I had a legal issue. I called a former classmate to help me, and although it was a no-brainer for him for me it was quite a tough challenge. So I can utilize this network for my daily job, even though we’re not in the same country.

Any tips for future Executive MBA candidates?

Be sure you will have the time, because you only get out what you put in. I would have said to myself to start reading earlier, because not having English as my native language [meant] it was quite an intense period at the beginning when I built the capacity to read, learn and articulate everything in English. The third tip? Just have fun! Enjoy the program and enjoy the trip. Be sure to utilize what you get [from the program] because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

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