Tobias Nielsen built a solid business skillset through the CBS EMBA

“From Copenhagen to London: Timing and motivation were crucial factors”

Tobias Nielsen embarked on his EMBA to take his already successful career in radio to the next level, and duly found himself swapping Copenhagen for London. Here, the new Project Director of Audio for Bauer Media explains how he puts his new business skillset to good use, and how he finds executive life in London.

I’ve always been in radio. When I was a teenager, I started doing local radio in the town that I lived in near Copenhagen, and then in 1992 was recruited as a DJ on Denmark’s number one commercial radio brand The Voice. From there, I moved into management and programming and – to cut a long story very short – I became the COO of the radio division at Discovery Network in Denmark in 2012. It was a great position and it gave me the opportunity to pursue the strategic and administrative side of the business, rather than the creative side that I had focussed on for so long.

Broader horizons

After a few years, the business was bought by Bauer, an international media group, and I started to look for opportunities to further develop my career. An Executive MBA seemed like the natural fit for my ambition and CBS here in Denmark felt like the perfect opportunity.

I started the EMBA in 2015 and have never worked so hard in my whole life. That said, I’ve never been so energised in my life and it was inspiring to sit alongside all these classmates from many different industries. And even though I was in my mid-forties and had a good amount of executive experience behind me, there was plenty to learn and add to my business skillset. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the course came at the perfect time – any earlier and my kids would have still been growing up and my time would have been even more precious.

Course strengths

The mix of more conventional business disciplines with skills such as innovation and entrepreneurship appealed to me and I started to develop a different – far more valuable – perspective on business. At the same time, so much of the course related to my day job. An example was when I created and rolled out a CSR strategy for Bauer in Denmark as part of the CSR course. I also wrote a master thesis – known as the Integrated Strategy Project on growing the radio business in a digital market and that is still the basis of the company’s digital strategy.

When I had six months left of my MBA, I was filled with excitement about taking on new challenges and I decided to fly to London – a place that my wife and I have always loved – for a meeting with the company president. A short time later, I got a job over there and I began work on 1 March 2020.

New horizons

My role involves heading up one of the largest innovation projects that Bauer Audio has ever embarked on and I’m working with teams from so many different parts of the business. The MBA definitely played a big part in getting me here and – aside from the educational value – it showed me the value of being challenged and of trying something new. To come here and be faced with a blank sheet of paper would have been intimidating a few years ago, but now I can recognise the opportunities and I have the training to establish the team, perform the analysis and make the necessary decisions that will drive the project forward. It’s reassuring to know that you can rely on that business skillset.

The move has been so right for me and, while moving in the middle of a global pandemic hasn’t exactly been ideal, there are many benefits. Working remotely is very efficient for certain tasks and the role is very well suited to that. It’s a dedicated project that involves managing and motivating a team and I have to say that it’s been a pleasure. I am sure it will keep me busy for many years to come.

City living

My wife and I have the privilege of living right in the heart of a city we love and it’s something we really appreciate; every morning we take a walk together down Regent Street and Bond Street and take it all in. And as life hopefully returns to normal in 2021, there’ll be so much to explore and enjoy. Could I have got here without my MBA? Definitely not.