The Financial Times recently published its annual ranking of the world’s best business schools for management and leadership development. For the 18th year in a row, SSE Executive Education has achieved the top position in the Nordics and the Baltic states. It has also improved its global ranking, climbing up to 21st place from 26th last year. The high quality of the educational programs comes from many years of integrating research and business, not least through close collaborations with some of Sweden’s biggest companies. One of these is Scania.
SSE Executive Education and Scania have been developing programs together in a unique partnership since the 1970s. Over the years, these programs have come to play a natural and integral role in Scania’s leadership development. Today, almost 50 years later, this partnership increasingly focuses on change, development and dialogue – which suits both parties down to the ground.
“We’re currently partners on four of the six consortium programs: IMP, FEM, TIO and BPD. Other big names involved include Sandvik, Stora Enso, Atlas Copco, SEB and DeLaval. The programs have given our executives a chance to develop alongside their colleagues and other companies’ managers within the program environment,” says Henrik Henriksson, President and CEO of Scania.
Long partnership a key factor
SSE Executive Education is pleased to be in partnership with Scania and believes that the many years they have spent together have proven a recipe for success for both parties.
“The key to our success is that our corporate customers have allowed us to stick with them, enabling us to jointly create programs that constantly take their business and their leaders to new heights. With long-term partnerships, we can always be learning and developing together. Over the years, we’ve been privileged to meet managers from across every part of the member companies. Our dialogue with Scania has kept the programs relevant and strategy-led,” says Elisabeth Kamoun, who heads up the consortium programs at SSE Executive Education.
Turned a crisis into an opportunity – through education and development
The strength of the partnership came to the fore during the financial crisis of the early 2000s in particular, when Scania, unlike others in the industry, chose not to lay off their employees. Instead they continued to focus on development, not least among the company’s managers – in a drive to shore up their long-term competitiveness. This proved to be an inspired decision.
“Moving an employee from their daily workplace into a learning environment makes them open to new perspectives and insights. Together with other leaders, they gain a helicopter perspective and see the company’s operation in a larger context. These insights are incredibly important, particularly in times of crisis,” says Elisabeth Kamoun.
With such a firmly established partnership, executive development has also become a popular goal for many of Scania’s leaders. The programs at SSE Executive Education are now seen as an important plank of career development for many of Scania’s managers and leaders. These programs serve as a complement to the internal leadership training, for further development of managers at Scania.
“It’s like a kind of internal leadership certification. For many of Scania’s managers, the programs are a natural step forward and something they really want to do. It’s an incredible testament to the added value that our programs offer,” says Elisabeth Kamoun.
Continuing to grow together
Europe currently accounts for around half of Scania’s sales. Latin America and Asia, on the other hand, make up 20 and 15 percent respectively. Now Scania is forging ahead with plans for further growth in these markets. They are doing so in an age of digitalization, electrification and autonomous vehicles, which requires new knowledge, perspectives and insights. One thing is for sure – the future needs confident, competent and curious leaders who can boldly navigate the journey ahead.