Member Spotlight— Mia Ahlström, Board Professional, Entrepreneur, & Executive Management Consultant

Mia Ahlstrom, MBA thesis, Interim Resources, Board of Directors
  • March 18, 2024

Gathering around recent research  

Near the end of February, the BBTP community gathered at our monthly Member Meeting to hear from Mia Ahlström about her MBA research. Mia is a Board Professional, Entrepreneur, Executive Management Consultant, and MBA student at the Helsinki School of Business. BBTP Members were thankful to gain insights from Mia’s MBA thesis, entitled: Interim Resources as a Strategic Tool for the Board of Directors.  

If you could not make it to the presentation, we have gathered some highlights below. To get the full presentation or to read the full thesis, contact Mia via the details at the end of this blog post.  




Interim Resources as a strategic tool for the Board of Directors 

As drivers of the company’s strategic direction, the Board of Directors (BoD) are crucial decision-makers. Since effective talent management plays a pivotal role in shaping corporate strategies, Mia sought to investigate how BoDs use Interim Resources to reach strategic aims.  

Mia Ahlström’s MBA research examined the following question:  

To what extent is an executive interim assignment a viable option for a company's Board of Directors when critically assessing strategic competencies and resources?  


To answer this question, Mia analyzed three sources of data, including interviews with members of the BoD from both listed and non-listed companies. Out of the 12 Board Professionals that Mia interviewed, 7 said their company had experience using Interim Managers as resources.  Supplementary data came from two different surveys— StaffPoint’s Interim Market Survey from 2023 and a survey designed by Mia to match the topic of the thesis, taken by Interim Professionals in BBTP’s network.


Sources of data


Results: Learning from BoDs who already use Interim Resources 

In her research, Mia found Interim Resources to be a crucial strategic tool for those companies that venture to use them. In interviews with BoD who had used Interim Resources, the majority (85,7%) said Interim assignments have been strategically important and crucial for their companies.  

Mia found that Interim assignments are not only integral to addressing immediate needs but also play a central role in shaping an organization's strategic competence. For example, Interim Resources are important for fostering the development of capabilities and contributing significantly to a company's competitiveness and strategic initiatives.  

Interim Professionals themselves also report a high success rate. Success is measured by how well they can complete (and exceed) the expectations of their assignment. Many Interim Professionals report that companies are so impressed that they extend the assignment or form another one for an additional purpose.


Impression and success


Results: Learning from BoDs who have not (yet) used Interim Resources      

Despite the value of Interim assignments, many companies are still unaware of Interim Resources and their potential uses. Mia found that the level of awareness about Interim assignments was low among BoDs in companies that had never used them before. Interviewees from the BoDs reported inadequate awareness about Interim Resources and expressed interest in knowing more about their potential benefits.

With the high level of satisfaction from companies who have used Interim Professionals, Mia sees an opportunity to advertise Interim Services more. She found that the majority of BoD (whether they had previously used Interims or not) were willing to consider increased utilization of Interim Management resources for various purposes.  


Future possibilities


Results: Developing future Interim assignments  

With the growing use of Interim Resources, companies are still learning where Interims can be of use and how to develop Interim assignments. Mia’s research identified several areas of improvement for the BoD:


  • Allocate competent resources toward a specific strategic focus

    Effective talent management needs comprehensive strategy and proactive succession plans. The BoD should actively and intentionally develop this strategy and consider what Interim Resources can offer toward reaching strategic goals.
  • Be thoughtful and up-front about Interim selection criteria 

    Relevant experience, flexibility, and cultural compatibility are at the top of Interim selection criteria. However, cultural compatibility is not always stated clearly as a criterion. The BoD should critically consider what value certain behavioral skills bring to the team and include an introduction of company culture into recruitment and onboarding processes.  

  • Give Interim Professionals the power to make an impact 

    Nearly 30% of Interim Professionals expressed dissatisfaction with the level of decision-making authority provided in their assignments— rating it as either “very poor” or “poor”. For impactful Interim assignments, the BoD must address decision-making authority and set clear goals and monitoring. These are among several important wishes from current Interim Professionals. 

Results -- support


The pivotal role of Interim Management 

The BBTP community extends a warm-hearted thank you to Mia Ahlström for sharing a taste of her MBA research— research that highlights the critical role of the BoD in shaping talent strategy and underscores Interim Management as a useful tool in their possession. 




To learn more about Mia’s findings, the BBTP Team highly encourages all interested parties to get in contact with Mia directly. Access to the full presentation or the thesis is available upon request.  


Mia Ahlström  




Are you a member of the BoD and interested in hearing more about what Interim Professionals can offer your company? 

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