Graduation for managers on the Gothenburg Executive MBA programme

19 June 2014

On June 13, it was graduation day for the participants on the Gothenburg Executive MBA programme. After 21 months of study, around 30 managers have successfully honed their knowledge in leadership and corporate management alongside their regular occupations. The programme has a distinct international focus, is run entirely in English and includes lectures and workshops at the School in Gothenburg every third Thursday-Saturday. During the two final terms, the participants focused in greater depth on specific areas as part of a concluding degree dissertation. 


Björn Axelsson, André Knüppel

The Executive MBA participants presented their degree dissertations at the School at the end of last week, after which they had the opportunity to celebrate together with colleagues, family, friends and staff. There was a tangible feeling of relief following a hectic period of seminars and writing.

– We have spent around 400 hours on our dissertation, said Björn Axelsson, HR manager at AB Volvo, and André Knüppel, President of the consulting company C2U, who wrote about subsidiary managers in a multinational corporation under institutional pressure.

– But we are certainly satisfied with the results and we learned a great deal as the work progressed. Our solutions are not only of value to us but also to our home organisations. We intend to present the dissertation to certain sections of the Volvo management, Björn Axelsson added. 

Considerable breadth among participants and dissertation subjects

The participants on the Executive MBA programme have widely varying backgrounds and work in different industries. What they have in common is that they are all managers, frequently holding global positions at companies such as Whirlpool, Stena, Volvo and Emerson, although there are also participants from smaller companies, such as Avondale and Mediel. The average age is 41 and the age range is 31-56. Almost 40 per cent are women. On average, the participants have 11 years’ managerial experience.

Martin Svensson, Comwell

The choice of subject for the degree dissertation is entirely up to the participants and in many cases they choose something that would benefit their own organisation. This is appreciated as all the participants have been nominated and sponsored by their employers. In this year’s Executive MBA programme, the participants focused on areas such as international business, change management, innovation and corporate strategy.Martin Svensson, president of Comwell Sweden, and Johan Wilen, Senior Engineering Manager at Whirlpool, have studied customer satisfaction in the service industry.– Our dissertation shows that formal organisation and leadership are not sufficient to generate value for the customer. Informal leadership is required and the way customers are treated needs to be adapted to the specific situation. The informal reality in tourism is highly complex and greater scope and freedom of action are required when people meet, says Martin Svensson.


For further information, please contact:

Per-Olof Larsson, President, GU School of Executive Education, phone +46 31-786 5381, +46 70-898 16 00, 
Olof E. Johansson, Business Manager, GU School of Executive Education, phone +46 31-786 1383,  +46 73-320 1383, 


GU School of Executive Education at the Gothenburg University School of Business, Economics and Law provides the only AMBA-accredited Executive MBA programme in Sweden. It also provides tailored training programmes for internationally oriented companies on the Nordic market. The training programmes are run in a number of countries, including the USA, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and South Korea. By combining academic substance with practical relevance, the customers’ key workers can be developed. The School of Economics, Business and Law in Gothenburg is one of almost 70 business schools throughout the world that hold five-year EQUIS accreditation.


Photographs: Per-Olof Larsson and Comwell Sweden