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Executive Master of Business Administration

This network gave Andreas a head start

Andreas Fritzs√łnn says that he was not very good at school. But that did not stop him from reaching all the way to the top of the business world. The big turning point came when he became best-in-class in a study programme tailored to experienced business leaders.

Andreas wanted to move into more demanding management positions and work more strategically. He explored various possibilities and came across a management training programme that gave him what he needed. He is now CEO of a world-leading construction materials concern.

– I was not very good at school growing up. I thought maybe school wasn't the thing for me. In retrospect, I think that the school system in the 80s was probably not completely suited to everyone. I was impatient and restless. Fortunately, the school my children attend today is quite different.

So says Andreas Fritzsønn. Although his energy and impatience didn't necessarily fit well at school, it came in handy when he started working.

He has held several management positions in the construction industry. He took command a year ago as CEO of Glava AS/Saint-Gobain Byggevarer AS.

We met Fritzsønn at Bygdøy marina. He told us about his passion for sailing as we were surrounded by boats.

– It is important to have some spots where you can really relax and disconnect. When I'm out sailing, hiking in the woods, or maybe having a few beers with good friends, I manage to forget about the pressures of work for a while. All the things I should have done, or should be doing, are forgotten for a while. I think the ability to completely disconnect is essential for survival in a hectic working life," he said.

An extreme pace of innovation

Where Andreas disconnects by sailing, Elin Rosnes Sinervo loves to drive. For her, a road trip is a moment of freedom and relaxation in an otherwise hectic life.

Elin Rosnes Sinervo sees developments in the automotive industry raging forward at an ever faster pace. This requires leaders to be adaptable and willing to invest time and energy in entirely new areas. That is why she went back to school.

Elin looking out

– That lets me spend some extra time in my car. I take short detours or drive to a store that's a little further away than usual. I listen to music and enjoy myself. It's a nice place to reflect and have some Alone Time, she said.

When she started driving at the age of 18, she didn't envision her car playing such a central role in her career.

She began working in sales and marketing at Citroën immediately after finishing her studies. After a few years, she joined Norway's largest car group, Møller Mobility Group.

She has held several management positions in the Group 18 years down the road. She is now CEO of Volkswagen Møller Bilfinans AS, which is one of Norway's largest providers of car financing.

– Innovation is progressing at an extreme pace in the automotive industry. It is one of the most global industries in everything from development, value chains, marketing, production and sales. Mobility is also a major source of climate change, and all the challenges that brings, so we can really make a difference here. This is incredibly exciting and at the same time challenging to work with, Sinervo said.

Creating arenas for creativity and interaction

The Møller Mobility Group has seen some major changes in the years since Elin started working there.

– We have a wonderful history and a strong organization, but what brought the company to where it is today is not necessarily the recipe for the next 75 years. We have been very focused on one product: selling cars.

The Group is now working more towards flexible and customer-oriented products and services.

Technology and customer expectations are evolving at a furious pace, and we need to deliver what our customers and suppliers expect from us, she explained.

To succeed in this, management must meet the high demands being placed on it. Sinervo has always worked to stay up to date, but at some point she realised that she could benefit from replenished energy and new impulses.

She joined BI's Executive Master of Business Administration programme in 2021. She believes it gave her good insight into leadership, and she learned a lot from the programme.

– The programme triggers curiosity, which is invaluable in challenging the old habits in the leadership positions one holds. One dares to set ambitious goals and create arenas for creativity and interaction. It is also very useful and instructive to get to know other leaders well and share knowledge and experiences across industries, Sinervo said.

Andreas on a brew

Andreas Fritzsønn had an advantage or two that came in handy when he started working.

– I get energy from working creatively with others. Teamwork and challenges are a lot of fun. I also really enjoy diving into an Excel sheet, the CEO said.

Pretty good feedback

Andreas also wanted more formal competence after reflecting on what he wanted to do in the future. His career was well underway. He had gone from being a manager in a medium-sized construction company, which he helped to build up, to becoming a middle manager in a major Nordic company.

– I wanted to open up opportunities to move into more demanding management positions and work more strategically.

Fritzsønn explored the alternatives and came across the Executive Master of Business Administration at BI Norwegian Business School.

Executive Master of Business Administration

The main reasons previous participants chose this master's degree:

  • TheEMBA programme is for determined and ambitious individuals who want to develop as leaders and succeed in ambitious career plans. The programme is taught in English and consists of core courses, electives, a personal development programme and a consultancy project.
  • The programme has an international profile, both in terms of international courses, subjects, faculty and students.
  • Students can choose from electives in subjects such as Digital Business, Global Business and Sustainable Business.

 

Apply here

– I probably wouldn't be where I am today without it. In addition to the purely formal aspects of studies, I think that being able to combine research and theory with practice is a strength when managing larger companies. I guess it's a bit about not inventing the wheel every time, but building on what others have done, the 46-year-old said.

Andreas Fritzsønn began studying at BI in 2013. The combination of a full-time management job, young kids at home, and master's studies was overwhelming at times.

– There were certainly times when I got tired, but I don't really remember that now. I chose this myself, so there was no reason to complain. It was great fun to learn new things and meet other leaders on the same journey. The fact that everyone had extensive experience added an important dimension to the programme.

For Fritzsønn, his master's degree at BI Norwegian Business School was a small turning point. From not doing well in school in his junior year, he graduated from BI as the best in his class.

– Getting the best grades of everyone was pretty good feedback. It also shows what you can achieve when you are dedicated and disciplined, he said.

 Giving leaders what they need to move forward

– This programme is designed and tailored for leaders who are ready to take the next step in their careers, says Anders DysvikPicture of Andreas D

He is a professor at the Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at BI and associate dean for the Executive MBA programme.

– Most people apply to the programme because they feel they are at a crossroads in their careers. They want to make changes or progress in certain areas, but feel that they are not fully equipped to achieve their goals. An Executive MBA from BI gives managers the opportunity to acquire what they lack, whether that be management skills, business-related knowledge, relevant networks or more experience and confidence in certain areas, Dysvik said.

Together with Émilie Lapointe, professor at the Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour, he has a central role in the programme.

Pitcture of Emilie

Lapointe is head of the personal development programme. She says that the candidates in the programme are experienced and ambitious, and they have learned to find, use and acquire new and relevant knowledge within the business world.

– This enables them to lead companies through financially sustainability, using sustainable and ethical solutions for organizations in a global business environment. Our graduates are reflective leaders who succeed with ambitious career plans and possess the ability to manoeuvre culturally in an international business context.

– What do the candidates need to succeed with the programme?

– Motivation! A willingness to learn alongside and from others, considerable intellectual curiosity, and excellent skills in time management and organization. The programme is demanding, so support from friends, colleagues and loved ones is an advantage to effectively balance work and personal life throughout the programme, Dysvik said.

 

This article is produced by DNX