Björn Axelsson, Human Resources Director, Volvo Group Trucks Operations, Executive MBA graduate class 2014
Since graduating from the University of Gothenburg in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences, Björn Axelsson has climbed the career ladder within the Volvo Group.
His career with Volvo actually started back in 1999 when he assembled jet engines at the Volvo Aero Corporation for the Swedish air force fighter JAS 39 Gripen. Following several management positions in Sweden and globally, he is currently Human Resources Director at Volvo Group Trucks Operations at the Tuve production plant in Gothenburg. The site has more than 2,000 employees.
Reflecting on the first half of the Executive MBA programme, Björn concludes that it is a demanding programme and that the benefits are commensurate with the time and effort you devote to the programme and its application at the workplace.
“The Executive MBA has given me an insight into the various functions of a management team and the interplay between these functions to bring about collective action. At our meetings, I have the courage to become more deeply involved in issues that fall outside HR, making me a more valuable member of the management team.”
For Björn, who has a solid academic background in social sciences, the courses focusing on finance and economics have proved to be most valuable, in particular the Management Accounting module. Björn thrives in an academic environment and is more thrilled by the academic aspects and the underlying theories than the average MBA participant, who tends to prefer the more practically oriented modules. What appeals most to Björn is the broad scope of the programme, which allows him to acquire in-depth knowledge in a range of business-related topics.
“My understanding of management has developed during the programme and my confidence as a manager has been strengthened. Both the lectures and the exchange between the participants are valuable. As an Executive MBA participant, you are constantly challenged to improve your analytical thinking by using quantitative and qualitative data in a management context.”
Björn explains that the Executive MBA programme has made him more confident during the business reviews within the organisation. He also highlights the importance of intercultural management as he engages with colleagues at Volvo sites across the globe. Björn appreciates the holistic approach of the Executive MBA programme, which allows him to develop his managerial capability.
“An Executive MBA programme offers far more than a short management training programme. The Executive MBA programme is delivered over a 21-month period and provides time for serious analysis and the development of broader understanding and a more wide-ranging perspective on business and leadership. I would love to invest even more time in the programme but working 50 to 60 hours a week as I do, taking an Executive MBA is very demanding. But it’s definitely worth it considering what I’ve gained in terms of academic knowledge and a solid network.”