Leader in spotlight Pia Aaltonen-Forsell: From Social Sciences to CFO

Author Henley Business School Finland

Published 17.5.2024

Executive MBA Leadership Leader in Spotlight

CFO with a less obvious background

Pia Aaltonen-Forsell is CFO of Outokumpu, the largest stainless steal producer in Europe. She does not have the most obvious background for a CFO: she is Master of Social Sciences in economics. She thinks that her background is a great asset, since as a CFO you need to understand the economy in general, not just business. 

– I have noticed that, in many instances, I tend to think differently and in some critical points it has clearly been an advantage, she reckons.

Pia graduated as M.Soc.Sc in 1999 and after 15 years she felt that she could upgrade her skills. So, she decided to do an MBA and chose Henley as it was a truly international program. She graduated in 2018.

Pia believes that the MBA has broadened her view on things, and, no doubt, helped her a lot in her work, as despite its strong theoretical background, it is also close to the daily work. Ih the time we live in, it is more and more important to know theoretical frameworks, but above all, to knowhow to apply them in real life.

In the future Pia wants to manage herself and other better, to learn more on artificial intelligence and the green transition.

What would I say to those thinking of doing an MBA?

If you want to do an MBA, you need to be genuinely interested – the degree won’t come on its own. Apart from broadening your knowledge, the MBA will also bring you many other advantages. Pia thinks that during the program it is easy to make friends, meet likeminded people and get a good network of interesting people.

– And you should forget the most surprising thing: you will enjoy and learn the English university culture!

Read our other Leader in the Spotlight interviews.


Henley Business School Finland

Henley Business School Finland