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Executive MBA graduate Aksu Tuominen - Henley Business School Finland

MBA for lawyers and in-house counsels?

Leadership and management skills are seen as increasingly important for both private practice lawyers and in-house counsel.

What’s the advantage of combining a law and management qualification? Read on for thoughts from Aksu Tuominen, associate and lawyer at Castrén & Snellman Attorneys Ltd, who completed the Henley Executive MBA while working simultaneously.

Lawyers are often required to become leaders without relevant education. An MBA opens up a lawyer’s perspective.

Aksu Tuominen, associate and lawyer at Castrén & Snellman, has completed two academic degrees: Master of Laws and Master of Arts.

“My university studies were quite theoretical, therefore I was looking for something more practical.”

Aksu completed his three-year Henley Executive MBA in the beginning of this year.

”The Henley MBA is very practical with a lot of assignments. Among others, we also attended company visits.”

Only a few lawyers have completed an MBA degree, also in the programme there were only a couple of people with a juridical background. Combining economic and law studies at university seems to be a more common approach.

“Nowadays, there’s a demand for a broader view from lawyers not only juridical. An MBA degree brings that. In addition, lawyers often reach already early in their career leadership positions, for example as supervisors or project leaders. Also from that point of view, an MBA is a good choice for lawyers.”

Aksu completed his degree mostly during his free time – encouraged by his supervisor and the management. The MBA studies were also packed with books. Which ones would he recommend to lawyers?

Juristikirje asked for his list of books, including his comments.

Rhode: Lawyers as Leaders
”A professor from Stanford Law School speaks about lawyer leader’s weaknesses and strengths. Lawyers often end up as a leader without leadership training.”

Davenport & Prusak: Working Knowledge
”I wrote my dissertation about distribution of information in organisations also known as knowledge sharing. ‘Working Knowledge’ is a classic of knowledge sharing which teaches you that information sharing in organisations is a quite everyday thing and includes many everyday actions. Sharing information in an organisation is important because when a person leaves the information easily leaves with them.”

Maister: Managing the Professional Service Firm
”A classic written by a lawyer. The message of the book is that specialists should get building assets in addition to milking assets. Lawyers easily only focus on milking assets, which bring money in the short term. Building assets are the know-how you might need in the future.”

Van Winkelen & McKenzie: Knowledge Works
”Written by Henley Business School experts. Profound: At Henley we want to make leadership ‘pracademic’ based on science. Van Winkelen supervised my dissertation.”

Kaplan-Norton: The Strategy-Focused Organization
”A basic business book about leadership.”

Styhre: Knowledge Sharing in Professions
”The book discusses that expertise is relative and that you’ll only be perceived as a professional if you can communicate your knowledge to others and others understand your knowledge and what you’re talking about. This means you can’t be an expert by yourself. Thinking about this, social media is a great opportunity for lawyers, but you have to be ready to share your skills without considering how you’ll benefit from it.”

Henley Business School - Executive MBA graduate Aksu Tuominen

Photo: Heini Larros/ Juristikirje

The article has been translated from Finnish.

The original article has been published in Juristikirje

Jennika Rantanen - Henley Business School Finland

Jennika Rantanen

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