A Strategy for Success
The MBA has worked like rocket fuel for Christian Christiansen’s career and four years after graduating from AVT Business School he is ready to take on his first job as a CEO.
A 100 per cent increase in salary, a new job as CEO and part owner, and a long list of good results that have made huge differences to his employers. This is the current status of Christian Christiansen – four years after graduating from AVT Business School with an MBA diploma.
»The MBA was a great experience for me. I like that the MBA is not just an academic exercise, where you learn a lot of theories, but a very practical education that constantly gives you new tools that you can use the minute you return to your company,« says Christian Christiansen.
He was especially thrilled about the courses on strategy and, looking back, he is convinced that what he learned at AVT Business School about developing and executing strategy has been the key to his success.
»Before the MBA, I knew absolutely nothing about business strategy, so this was all new to me. I learned how to develop a classic sales strategy and found it extremely fascinating. It gave me a very valuable toolbox that I have been able to use again and again over the years. I am sure that I would not have been able to develop successful strategies or deliver the results I have if it had not been for the MBA,« says Christian Christiansen.
At the time, he was Head of Sales at Bluegarden (Multidata), but shortly after graduating he was made Director Sales & Markets, Partners and handed the task of developing a new Partner strategy.
»I basically made a carbon copy of the strategy I had developed for my MBA project assignment and went straight on to executing this strategy at Bluegarden. It really paid off.«
Bluegarden increased its number of clients in the Partners Division by 40 per cent within one year while Christian Christiansen made himself eligible for a new and better job. On April 1, 2014, he moved to Tryg to take on the job as Sales Director in the B2B Division and he is quite sure that his MBA was part of the reason why he got the job.
»My background and experience were probably the main reasons why they chose me; but I am quite sure that the MBA played a part. My boss had an MBA himself and I think it gave me an advantage that he was familiar with the education and knew that I would be able to work and think strategically,« says Christian Christiansen.
He was made responsible for Strategic Partners, B2B Insurance Brokers, Transportation Insurance and Greenland. The first task was to develop a new strategy that would bring in more customers and again he turned to his MBA assignment and adapted the strategy with the learning points he had picked up while executing the strategy at Bluegarden.
It led to a lot of changes at Tryg – including new work procedures and a different approach to B2B customers – causing sales to grow by a staggering 56 per cent from 2014 to 2015. He was number one in sales and employee satisfaction among the directors in the B2B Division.
Christian Christiansen believes that his strategies have succeeded because he has taken a more structured and serious approach to strategy development and has been very focused on execution.
»What some companies like to call strategies are, in my opinion, only letters of intent. It’s fluff. Three or four pages that are put right back in the drawer before the ink is even dry. Nothing happens. That is how I also used to write strategies in the old days, but it simply doesn’t work. Now, my strategies are based on in-depth analysis and are typically up to 50 pages – exactly as I was taught at AVT Business School. And the strategies include clear action plans that you can start working on right away.«
Strong Business Case
These days, Christian Christiansen is working night and day to develop a business strategy for a new company that will be open for business on October 1. He has left Tryg and has taken on his first job as a CEO and managing partner with an 80 per cent ownership. The plan is for Købstædernes Forsikring to offer company pension plans through a subsidiary called Købstædernes Pensionsrådgivning. Købstædernes Forsikring owns the remaining 20 per cent while Skandia Pension will act as the insurance agency. Christian Christiansen and his colleagues will sell the product to companies and offer advice on retirement plans to their employees.
»We are working on the overall business strategy at the moment and trying to figure out exactly how we should position ourselves in the market. That is the key to our future success. We are, however, very optimistic and expect that we will be able to add insurances worth DKK 1.5 million to our portfolio every month,« says Christian Christiansen, who will be looking at a personal salary that is the double of what he earned at Bluegarden before he studied for his MBA.
Christian Christiansen is a graduate of the MBA Class of 2012.
IN DEMAND »The MBA is very popular among head hunters and I have never gotten as many job offers as I did after I got my degree,« says Christian Christiansen, CEO of Købstædernes Pensionsrådgivning and MBA graduate from AVT Business School, Class of 2012. Foto: Sarah Bender/AVT