Jukka Saksi is an executive coach and the creator of the “Johtaja on Media!” concept, which deals with the role of leaders in shaping an effective media presence in the digital age. The path to a JYU alumnus started from the JSBE Executive MBA programme, which he completed in 2007–2008. It launched a speedy study career: He graduated with a master’s in economics and business administration in 2009 and completed his doctorate in 2013.

Saksi was born in Joensuu, but moved to Järvenpää at the age of six. In his teens, he did not have any career-related dreams or aims. He dropped out from general upper secondary school, because working in construction in order to buy a car felt more enticing. After his military service, Jukka studied at the Vantaa Institute of Arts and Crafts and graduated as an artisan. He dreamed of becoming a top decorator, but the economic recession of the 1990s led him to sales and customer service work, first in the car business and then in insurance.

Saksi decided to move from Järvenpää to Helsinki and started upper secondary school studies at the Ressu Evening School. He graduated from there in 1996, after which he started bachelor’s level marketing studies at Mercuria Business School. He got a job as a sales team leader.

“I wanted to advance to more demanding duties. I had worked as a sales team leader and felt that I would have resources for a sales manager’s post, for example, and kept applying for it,” Saksi explains. “However, my educational background was always an obstacle. I had a bachelor’s in business administration, but they were always looking for master’s level business professionals for those posts.”

Saksi was highly frustrated with his situation and applied directly for master’s studies a couple of times, but that route remained closed to him. Nevertheless, he was still highly motivated and next investigated the options for pursuing an MBA. He liked the study programme in Jyväskylä, both because of its content and the schedule that enabled students to progress quickly.

“I wanted to move forward and learn new things, gain credibility and increase my market value, network with other MBA students and get a chance to continue in master’s degree studies.”

From the outset, Jukka had a strong will and enthusiasm to advance in his studies. Because he was studying while working, he used various learning techniques and developed ways to motivate himself. These included listing his tasks in Excel with colour codes, thinking about his future after studies and reminding himself about the temporariness of this stage. Actions such as these helped carry him through his studies.

“Contact days with discussions and exchange of ideas with student colleagues were the best part, the assignments were inspiring, and the encouragement by the Avance people also felt good.”

With his bachelor’s degree, Saksi could apply directly for a master’s degree programme, and he did so already before completing his MBA. The 100 study credits he earned inside of a year as well as his Open University approbatur studies in HR management were convincing merits in the application process and so he was admitted to the master’s degree programme in entrepreneurship. He graduated with a master’s degree in 2009. His dream about MBA + the master’s degree had come true!

“I became more confident in my leadership and expertise, and my studies gave me tools and the ability to analyse things, and in a less black-and-white style than before. Via the MBA network, I have got coaching jobs in companies as well.”

Saksi was recruited by a Finnish company that supplies furniture for public premises. There he worked first as the sales manager and later as the business manager. Soon, however, he moved to managing director’s posts in a few companies. He also continued with doctoral studies, completing his degree at the University of Jyväskylä in 2013.

Since the beginning of 2017, Saksi has been a full-time entrepreneur. The “Johtaja on Media!” concept originates from his doctoral dissertation, in which he examined the transition of leadership in the Finnish finance sector. In 2015, he conducted blog interviews with some well-known Finnish managers. From the very beginning, Saksi was active in social media, gradually developing his brand.

“The blogs had about 5,000 readers and it was soon suggested that I should write a book,” he explains. “This gave birth to the Johtaja on Media! book. It includes 75 interviews with top Finnish managers.”

Saksi currently trains managers to find a personally suitable and natural way of communicating in a crisis-ridden managerial environment, and coaches supervisors in difficult managerial situations. In May 2020, he is publishing a new book, Arvovalta, which deals with the growing significance of values in managerial and expert work. In crises, values become increasingly important. He feels his MBA studies played a crucial role in his career. His studies inspired him to understand, develop and explore leadership. For the first time, he started to think about working on something related to managerial consultancy.

“Although the coronavirus crisis has reset the calendars and order books anew for a while, my work is exactly what I want to do. Entrepreneurship is my cup of tea!”

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