Leadership is nothing new to Bodil Ericsson Torp, who since 1998 has been an integral driver of successful Bonnier Group enterprises. But as she prepares to takes on new responsibilities as Director of Human Resources and Communications in April and in concert becomes a member of Bonnier’s group management, an Executive Master of Science in Communication Management (MScom) education is a key support provided by the Bonnier Group.
Ericsson Torp, a Swedish citizen, has served as president/CEO of Workey AB, Bonnier Digital’s unique search engine to gather job listing advertisements, since April 2010. Her prior assignments within the group include Executive Vice President with Bonnier Responsmedier Group AB (2009-March 2010), President of Bonnier Responsmedier AB (2004-2009) and Sales Manager with Bonnier Responsmedier Försaljning AB (1999-2000).
“I was asked in October by the president of Bonnier to join group management and build up a new department as Director of Human Resources and Communications,” she said, explaining that the company has a long tradition of HR and communications working hand-in-hand. She will assume her new role on April 1.
A top-tier education
During the same conversation, Ericsson Torp’s boss told her the company would provide her with a first-in-class graduate education to support her in her new role. The program of choice: MScom.
“I had expected a small course somewhere in Sweden, but when I received the MScom package and opened it, I was taken by surprise. This really is a top-tier program, and I had 24 hours to make my decision,” said Ericsson Torp. “It took me less than 24 hours to discuss the opportunity for a new role with Bonnier and an opportunity for a really excellent executive education with my husband. He’s very supportive. I decided to go for it.”
For Ericsson Torp, going for it means moving from being the CEO of a small to mid-size company to assume a strategic role within Bonnier Group’s top management, something she knows she can do with confidence because her company is providing her with the necessary tools in the form of an MScom education.
“What I expect to gain from MScom are the latest theories, practices and research across all of the communication disciplines. I want a toolbox for communication management because both internal and external communications, as well as HR, will be within the scope of my new responsibilities,” she said. “MScom is an exciting educational springboard for me because of its international orientation. The Bonnier Group operates in 16 countries, so it is important for me to have the international orientation that MScom provides.”
Learning by doing
That MScom is the Bonnier Group’s program of choice for its top executives speaks well of the company’s regard for communications as a strategy driver, said Ericsson Torp.
“I’ve seen the value of MScom after only one eight-day session. The ‘Systems of Thinking’ seminar was especially useful to me because it’s a good way to get the big picture in order to solve a problem,” she said. “The ‘Marketing Management’ and ‘Organizational Behavior” seminars also were very good refresher courses for me, and I also found the use of business cases to be helpful. MScom isn’t just about listening to lectures; it’s about learning by doing and by engaging in exchanges with communications colleagues from many countries and backgrounds.”
As she prepares to take the next step in her career, Ericsson Torp said she’s glad to have MScom as a touchstone.
“It’s very exciting to get some more education as I take this next step,” she said. “I can already see that MScom is an environment of excellence, from the way the program is managed and the selection of faculty and curriculum to the program format and opportunities to exchange insights and best practices with my MScom13 classmates.”
Text based on interview carried out in February 2011.