Vladimirs Bolbats has been working at Swedbank for more than eleven years, out of which the last five years in managerial positions. During these years, most of the experience has been gained in finance and daily banking. Bolbats highlights that his experience in daily banking has been very enriching, as this area in banking is subject to innovations. In the past few years, Swedbank has developed a digital wallet, Apple pay and other impressive innovations which Bolbats was glad to be able to be part of. Since July 2019, he heads the Savings and Insurance division in the Baltics and is responsible for retail investment products, pension offerings, possession and life insurance.

In 2008, after 3-4 years of considering the EMBA, Bolbats felt confident enough and decided to pursue the programme. SSE in Riga was quite a straight-forward choice for him. “First of all, I highly respect this business school and truly believe it is one of the best in Europe. My brother graduated from SSE, and I remember his excitement and hard work when studying. I wanted to have a piece of this SSE experience to myself. Second of all, I was looking for a comprehensive curriculum that comprises financial economics.”

When Bolbats looks back, he thinks that the EMBA is one of the most valuable experiences he has had in his adult life.

There are three things Bolbats liked the most about the EMBA. First, it is fellow students. This programme is unique in a way that executives who study at SSE Riga represent different industries, competences, and roles. “Regardless of the experience and role, SSE Riga made us become students once again and engage in the completely new learning experience,” Bolbats says.

The EMBA gets experienced executives out of their daily lives at the office to study, build relationships and develop new perspectives. During the study process, there are many possibilities for students to spend time together – 4 days a month and more time dedicated to homework.

SSE Riga offers a very diverse curriculum, including financial accounting, behavioural economics, marketing, corporate governance, negotiation skills, macroeconomics, etc. Bolbats adds that financial economics with Tālis Putniņš and macroeconomics with Yuri Romanenkov were his favourite modules. Also, the international module in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, comprising classes, company visits and meetings with the local fintech community, was very rewarding.

There are several skills Bolbats has improved during the EMBA. Critical thinking in making decisions based on hard data, while staying humble, is one of them. Likewise, he has developed argumentation and negotiation skills that are important in responding to challenging views. “Eventually, my analytical thinking and hard skills to work with data were also improved. Because most of the modules are focused on student ability to find root causes and analyse dependencies between inputs and outputs – especially in financial economics and macroeconomics,” Bolbats adds.

SSE Riga EMBA students are high-impact professionals from a diversity of industries. For the past five years, most students are in their mid-thirties or older with considerable professional experience.

For those who are thinking of doing the EMBA at SSE Riga, Bolbats encourages, “It is definitely worth it. After such a rewarding experience, I would like to study full-time again at SSE Riga. Everything here is well-run and put together - the content, lecturers, student community, and even the location is great!”


Explore the SSE Riga Executive MBA programme and apply for studies by June 1, 2020.