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Aalto Alumni Strategy Circle shared best practices in mergers and acquisitions

The Aalto Alumni Strategy Circle brings together strategy professionals and business leaders to learn and exchange ideas about the most relevant current topics in strategy through interactive sessions involving international academics and local professionals.
Professor Jens Schmidt opening the first Aalto Alumni Strategy Circle. Audience in the front.
Professor Jens Schmidt opening the first Aalto Alumni Strategy Circle. Photo: Antti Halonen

The Strategy Circle meets 3-4 times a year. The events are open for all Aalto alumni who are interested in the topic of strategy. “The Aalto alumni strategy circle is a great event for facilitating discussions among strategy professionals but also to bring in new ideas from the academic side”, says Kaj Hagros, Chair of the Aalto Alumni Network Board 2022.

The first Strategy Circle event was held on 30 November, 2022 discussing best practices in mergers and acquisition (M&A). The speakers included Koen Heimeriks, strategy professor at Warwick Business School, Sebastian Knight who is responsible for M&A at Esperi Care, and Marko Koski, partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Koen Heimeriks shared insights from his latest research on fostering collaboration in the acquisition integration process. He highlighted the importance of involving key people from the seller and let them have a say in how the integration is done. He also noted how creating incentives for engaging in collaboration rather than simply for achieving financial outcomes can foster creating synergies.

Marko Koski reminded the audience that most acquisitions actually fail to deliver on the initial goals. He emphasized the importance of aligning the M&A process with overall strategy, and in particular that acquirers should focus more on value creation after closing the deal.

Sebastian Knight provided insights on how the healthcare service provider Esperi Care, manages the acquisition and integration process. He also noted the importance of being systematic. In fact, the company has completed about 140 M&A transactions and has a detailed process in place for managing these. But personal experience and having contacts to potential acquisition targets is also important.

In the discussion it was noted that we typically only consider the buyer/acquirer side but tend to forget the seller side. If you plan to sell your company, you can only do that once. Sellers can also be strategic and think about potential buyers and create contacts with them years in advance. Another topic was how to get started with M&A if you don’t have experience. The advice was that if you want to grow with M&A you may want to start with a simpler and smaller deal that you can understand and gain some experience before doing more complicated deals, such as buying a company abroad.

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“There are plans for future events on topics that include “Strategy and sustainability” and “Strategy and AI”. The plan is to have one such event about every three months, always involving both the academic and practitioner side and an opportunity for discussion, exchanging ideas and best practices, and networking”, explains Jens Schmidt, a strategy professor at the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, who co-initiated the strategy circle and facilitated the event.

If you are interested in attending or want more information, sign up here.

The Aalto Alumni Strategy Circle events are hosted by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management in cooperation with Aalto Strategy Alumni. 

Aalto Strategy Circle After Work: Strategy and Sustainability

The Aalto Strategy Circle brings together strategy professionals and business leaders to learn and exchange ideas about the most relevant current topics in strategy through interactive sessions involving international academics and local professionals.

The next event at 8 March, 2023
Strategy Circle 2022 audience
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