Copenhagen MBA Drives Danish Tech Startup’s US Expansion

Phil Hanson got the job at Queue-it through Copenhagen MBA’s alumni network—the largest of its kind in Scandinavia

Phil graduated with an MBA from Copenhagen Business School in 2015

Phil Hanson wouldn’t have got a job at Queue-it without an MBA at Copenhagen Business School.

Most jobs in Denmark are found through networking. And the Copenhagen MBA network is the biggest of its kind in Scandinavia, with 1,400 alumni representing over 80 nationalities.

At an MBA alumni event hosted by the school, Phil was introduced to Queue-it’s co-founders. After graduation, he started a new sales and marketing role at the Danish tech startup. Within six months, he was promoted to VP of marketing. Now, he’s VP for North America, leading Queue-it’s expansion into the US.

Queue-it is a leading developer of a virtual waiting room technology—used by ticketing companies and online retailers—which helps to control surges in website traffic with a first-in, first-out online waiting system.

Its customers include Lilly Pulitzer, Too Faced, Sydney Opera House, and AXS.com. One third of its business comes from the US, and Phil opened a new North American office in Minneapolis in June.

Phil moved from the US to Denmark and chose the Copenhagen MBA for its focus on leadership and entrepreneurship. The school has close links to Copenhagen’s vibrant startup scene—a network of entrepreneurs, potential mentors, partners, and venture capital investors.

The Leadership Discovery Process (LDP)—a unique personal development course focusing on cognitive coaching, brain functions, and team dynamics—runs throughout the MBA curriculum, culminating in a multi-day leadership project in the wilderness of southern Sweden.

When BusinessBecause last spoke to Phil, he’d just started the Copenhagen MBA program, excited by an intensive one-year course, and predicting the MBA would make him a more attractive hire in the Danish jobs market. He was proven correct.

How are you using your MBA learnings to drive Queue-it’s expansion into the US?

At Queue-it, we now have about one-third of our business in the US, and my current focus is establishing the US-based office for our customer-facing operations. This will help us continue to deliver a great service to our customers and also get closer to new prospective customers in the enormous digital business market that the US offers.

In doing so, I’m using skills I learned on my MBA every single day. Whether it’s applying Strategic Human Resource Management, in terms of considering the different types of people we want to bring in to the organization, to Marketing Management, where we are considering the ideal customer profile, potential complementary partners, and other market opportunities.

How did the job at Queue-it initially come about?

Without Copenhagen Business School, it’s unlikely that I would have connected with the team of co-founders at Queue-it. Our CEO, Niels Henrik Sodemann, presented Queue-it after a Copenhagen MBA alumni event, and afterwards our alumni relations manager Michala Roder made the introduction. Along with Niels, Martin Pronk, our CTO, is also a Copenhagen MBA alumnus.

Culturally, network can play a significant role in landing a job in Denmark – it’s rumored that 40-60% of jobs never get posted because they are filled by network first – and it’s safe to say Copenhagen Business School played a huge part in helping me, as an American, build the network to connect with an outstanding team of co-founders at Queue-it.

How else have you profited from your Copenhagen MBA experience?

Condensing a full MBA program to one year creates an environment that forces intensive learning.  The impacts of completing so much work, learning and collaboration in a relatively short amount of time forced a deeper level of understanding and impact.

This also really created an allowance for, and at times emphasis on, reflection on earlier moments in my career. Supplementing this with the MBA curriculum that covered business theories, models, and frameworks, you can really look at past experiences and consider whether you would have handled them the same or differently, and how you might handle them in the future.

All of this packs into a definitely intensive year of transformation – both personally and professionally – that I hope to apply and build on for the next segment of my career.

What advice do you have for prospective MBAs?

I would urge applicants to think about why they feel they want or need an MBA. Do you have a focus area that you are looking to grow or enhance? Are you looking to get closer to a specific peer group or network that a program is known for?

Do you have strong values and beliefs that a program must align with? Or, are you just looking to add those three letters after your name or on your resume? Depending on which question you want answered, you’ll likely end up with different selections.

There is an MBA program for everyone these days and probably one that will answer the questions associated with your key goal, so making your choice based on where you will find value and add value to your career will set you up to achieve the best value in your investment.

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