Andreas Baker’s professional history doesn’t match the usual Executive MBA (EMBA) candidate profile. He has an extensive background in international relations and human rights and is the head of Elections at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly.
The OSCE is an international organization spanning North America, Europe, and the former Soviet Union. Andreas’ role covers election monitoring, where countries wanting to improve their democratic development will invite international observers like him to observe their electoral processes.
He believed that previously the OSCE wasn’t in close interaction with the business community. So, he stepped out of his comfort zone and enrolled in the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) Executive MBA to complement his conflict research experience with new managerial insight, helping him to support the OSCE’s senior management team.
Benefit from a flexible teaching method
Students on the CBS EMBA study in one of two formats. Either all at once over a period of 21-25 months, or through the business school’s stepwise Executive Certificates. Andreas chose the latter so he could maintain his dynamic career while studying.
Students must complete four certificates within five years to receive the degree. Certificates focus on Understanding the Organization, Exploring the Organization’s Environment, and Managing Strategic Execution. Students then personalize their EMBA through concentrations in Digitalization, Entrepreneurship, Governance and Sustainability, or Finance.
“I really liked this aspect of the course,” Andreas comments. “Although an EMBA is very corporate-focused, the analytical tools within the course can be applied to the humanitarian and political field.”
At OSCE, Andreas is responsible for regularly deploying hundreds of parliamentarians to OSCE observation missions around the world, including in countries affected by conflict.
As a spokesperson for the Parliamentary Assembly, he liaises with journalists to cover the evaluations gathered by these observation missions across key news outlets.
Andreas took several human resources and leadership modules that armed him with the skills to succeed in his industry’s political climate. He explains that these skills proved invaluable when he was directing the OSCE’s election observation missions.
Network with multinational peers
Copenhagen Business School has the largest MBA network in the Nordics—CBS’ alumni connect over 80 nationalities worldwide.
The EMBA requires students to meet twice per month for classes that last between Wednesday and Saturday. Andreas is based in Copenhagen, so he networked with his peers every fortnight in the city during the degree.
“It was very enriching to work with people from various industries and backgrounds,” he notes. “Although everyone had managerial experience, students used very different approaches. I found these diverse perspectives compelling.”
The CBS EMBA also takes students overseas. They visit places like London, Chicago, and Mumbai. The overseas modules require a full week out of the office and give students the chance to learn how businesses operate in different cultural settings.
Each city enables students to dive deeper into different areas of expertise, including marketing, macroeconomics and financial markets, or innovation. Andreas flew to Shanghai for his overseas chapter to specialize in Supply Chain Management. He says the international experience enabled him to see how his EMBA could be applied in real life situations.
His trip to Shanghai facilitated more regular interactions between himself and his peers, enabling him to build closer relationships. He says he was able to get to know and learn from his classmates on a more personal level.
Apply knowledge in real time
The EMBA at CBS concludes with the Integrated Strategy Project (ISP). Students choose an issue that impacts their organization and use the theories and techniques they’ve learned during the EMBA to solve that issue.
“It required a deep dive into applying the EMBA in one area,” says Andreas. “It was a way of forcing deeper thinking, going through some conceptual acrobatics, and drawing on all the applicable subjects from my course to develop a strategy. It was tough, but I’m glad I did it.”
Although he acknowledged that there were some limitations to applying all aspects of the EMBA to his role, Andreas says he was pleased to find how the course broadened his conceptual thinking and approach to politics.
“I’m seeing everything in a new light, and I’m more open to different approaches,” he concludes. “The EMBA forced me to think differently and helped to bring more innovation to the way I approach my work.”
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Copenhagen Business School (CBS)
Copenhagen - Denmark