EMBA travel diaries – Tuscany

Diving deep into own leadership – reflections from eMBA study journey to Tuscany, Italy

After attending two rather traditional study journeys with classrooms and lectures (among other activities) in university surroundings in USA and Hong Kong, the expectations for the final study journey to Italy were to some extent blurred and unclear, since we knew that “something completely different” was going to happen…

eMBA2014 -group spent three intensive training days in Mugello Valley, Florence area, “learning from the past and present in order to design and lead the future”, as our cooperation partner FUTOUR describes this deep dive experience.
In the midst of daily routines and challenges of work life, most of us do not often have time to really stop and think – e.g. about one’s own leadership path, way of working, priorities, ambitions. During our study journey in Italy, we focused quite a lot especially on this dimension of personal growth. Facilitation, workshop activities, themes to be discussed, all aimed at contemplating own professional and personal life. Choosing Mugello Valley and Renaissance era as the contextual setting is inspiring people to create room for creativity, possibly designing “new renaissance” in their own leadership.
As one of the participants Paula Virri describes the journey: “The study journey to Tuscany was a great experience. The renaissance spirit inspired me very much. During the week we experienced the power of art and I really believe that after the journey we all are much stronger personally and in our work.”


Our programme was intensive both in time and in contents. We visited some particular companies, with a special strategy, product or history (e.g. Nomination, La Marzocco) – all of which emphasized the role of passion, mission, people and family. We saw special venues, with physical or metaphorical context to leadership. We experienced interesting activities, with business value, historical meaning or some other link to the daily life of leaders. During and in-between all these elements we reflected, questioned, practiced and discussed what was happening, what kind of insights were we gaining – individually, in sparring groups with our Senior Mentors or as a whole group.

Tuscany_golf For some people the week gives instant insights, but for some, the effects of this trip may become visible later on – the experience is very intensive and it may take time to process all the elements in own thought process. eMBA Turku programme tries to continuously develop and support the personal growth process in each individual, as we at TSE exe see that this is a vital component of good leadership. Pushing people out of their comfort zone (as we do e.g. during this study journey) will have more impact than discussing issues on abstract level. Summarized by one participant Elina Koskela: “This journey gave me a somehow unexpected opportunity to really stop and think through my own leadership and where I really want to go in the future.”

You can see more details on the Renaissing programme design on the website of our cooperation partner FUTOUR: www.renaissing.it