"Studies at SSE Riga provide a strong foundation for all students to become well-rounded business leaders and continue to advance in their careers," agree the second-year students who talk about their experiences of studying for the EMBA.

Ksenia Solovyeva is a general counsel at Food Union EU Group (on the left in the picture), a dairy and icecream producer in the Nordic countries, the Baltic region, and Eastern Europe with headquarters in Riga. She started working for Food Union in 2011 and has since then been engaged in various FUN projects, M&A deals, and compliance and corporate guidance procedures. She has been working on many Food Union EU Group projects, which encompass not only legal issues but also businessrelated matters that require general finance and management skills. This is why Solovyeva was motivated to further her knowledge and skills by enrolling in the EMBA programme. Before joining SSE Riga, Solovyeva graduated from the Moscow State Law Academy and studied business and corporate law in the United States.

When she was looking around for the best business school in the Baltics, two of Soloyeva’s colleagues, who had graduated from the EMBA programme themselves, recommended that she apply to SSE Riga. The EMBA isn’t easy, and her boss told her that it would mean two years off of her life. "But it is so worth it!" recalls Solovyeva. She considers her EMBA studies to be a very enjoyable and challenging journey.

According to Solovyeva, SSE Riga offers a unique opportunity to get acquainted with amazing people not only from the Baltics, but also from Sweden, where the international study module took place. During her studies she has gained a completely new skill set in finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship. "Some professors have been real stars, and I will never forget them and what they taught me," says Solovyeva.

During the study process, Solovyeva has polished her public speaking skills as well as the skills to prepare any presentation from scratch in less than two hours and present it to the public. What’s more? Given that communication is king in the business world, communications skills are another area of competence the EMBA addresses, with students having to find synergy and work in a team with other leaders.

Another one of these students is Eveli Opmann, CEO of Estiko Group (in the middle in the picture) from Estonia, who has over 15 years of experience in different managerial level positions. Opmann used to work as a CFO at Estiko Group, a company with four core business units: real estate, manufacturing, HORECA, and energy production from renewable resources. In 2010, she was promoted to manage Estiko Group’s real estate companies. In 2015 Opmann rejoined Estiko-Plastar AS, a supplier of highvalue packaging solutions for the entire Nordic region, as a sales director and three years later became the CEO of that same company.

Opmann had her eye on SSE Riga for a few years. She was looking for an international environment and world-class professors that were close to her hometown of Tartu. The last push came from a friend who had graduated from SSE Riga and told her, "If you want to go through an EMBA programme at all, SSE Riga is the best place to do it."

Studying for the EMBA lets students apply all their theoretical knowledge to practical examples and case studies. "I believe that all the new skills make EMBA graduates stand out and become better leaders," says Opmann. The EMBA programme has pushed her out of her comfort zone, and she has learned from outstanding professors and very inspiring classmates. During her studies, Opmann has felt encouraged to build teams, share ideas, and develop close relationships with other students. "Although it might take more time and effort than you expect, it’s worth studying for the EMBA at SSE Riga. Because there will be a lot of fun, as well!" she adds.

Jānis Čupāns is a partner at Deloitte Central Europe (on the right in the picture). His primary role is to grow and lead the tax consulting business at Deloitte in Latvia as well as manage the Clients & Industries programme in the Baltics. "Our business exists because of our clients and our people. On our client side, my responsibility is to ensure that Deloitte provides superior client service across all functions in all three Baltic countries. But on our people side, lifelong learning is a concept that I promote at Deloitte by making serious investments in education and training as well as by being a role model myself," says Čupāns.

After graduating from the Faculty of Law, Čupāns took on-site training and e-learning programmes for many years and was involved in challenging professional projects in a variety of countries, which improved both his hard and soft skills. However, he felt that this wasn’t sufficient in today’s fast-paced world and that there was still so much to learn.

Before starting the EMBA, Čupāns had become a partner, was a co-owner of a Deloitte Central European business, and had followed his dream of spending a week freeriding in deep powder snow in the Hokkaido Mountains of Japan. After accomplishing these important milestones in his life, he was looking to set new goals without making cardinal career changes.

To Čupāns, the EMBA studies at SSE Riga seemed a very good choice. Many SSE Riga graduates work at Deloitte, and Čupāns himself had taken part in several SSE Riga training programmes, including the Mini-MBA. Therefore, it wasn’t something new to him, and he felt confident about the quality of studies at SSE Riga.

The SSE Riga EMBA perfectly fit Čupāns’ needs and considerably improved his life. "The curriculum includes all the subjects that I was looking for, and all in one place at that. That’s great!" he says. The EMBA offers a very good mix of in-class learning, interactive discussions, individual learning, and knowledge sharing. The studies are very practical and hands-on, focusing on applicable skills in real life. Given his legal background, the in-depth instruction in management accounting and financial economics has helped Čupāns to link practical knowledge on those subjects with theory and thus close the gaps. "When discussing management accounting, financial economics, HR, marketing, and corporate governance-related matters at work, I very often refer back to the course materials or recommended literature," he admits.

In addition, some of the best things about the studies at SSE Riga are the classmates and new friends along with an unforgettable study trip to Southeast Asia. The EMBA brings together entrepreneurs, CFOs, CEOs, HR and marketing leaders, lawyers, fund and investment managers, bankers, and heads of business units. Business contacts are an integral part of the studies and make SSE Riga the best alumni network in the Baltics.

Čupāns concludes: "The EMBA at SSE Riga is highly recommended! And for employers, my recommendation is to invest in your people – it pays off!"

Find out more about the Executive MBA progamme at SSE Riga