Lena Hackelöer

Director of Market Growth and Strategy, Klarna

German-born Lena Hackelöer was recruited by Klarna while writing her master’s thesis. She has been working in several different positions for the Swedish company since. She now lives in Stockholm with her boyfriend, dog and a managing position at Klarna.

BI found Lena more than she found BI. Once she decided the school was the right choice, it was so close to deadline that she had to send her application with UPS overnight delivery from Germany to Norway.

- They must have thought I really, really wanted to get into the program. Turns out it was worth it, Lena says.

The Scandinavian way

She believes that studying business in Norway has opened up for a new perspective on management and innovation.

- Innovation is a much bigger topic in Scandinavia, as is internationalization of companies. I think this is due to the fact that the home markets are limited, so they have to look beyond their own borders for growth, she says.

Lena works for Klarna, one of Sweden’s fastest growing companies. Klarna offers payment solutions for e-commerce.

- Think PayPal, but better.

During her few years she already achieved impressive things at Klarna. She has has led the global B2B marketing activities, been Vice President Global Merchant Growth and Online Sales and much more.

From the school bench to working life

Lena was recruited by Klarna while researching and writing her master’s thesis and has worked there since. During her years at the company, the company has entered several new markets and many doubled the number of employees.

- It has been a rollercoaster ride, and often decisions have to be rushed and projects executed with little time for contemplation. My background from BI has helped me make quick decisions in absence of having perfect insight into the consequences, something I learned is a typical challenge that managers face. We referred to it as “bounded rationality” at BI, she says.

She explains that some of the most important skills she has taken from BI surprisingly also include process of managing difficult stakeholders and convincing people of your ideas by solid argumentation.

The great thing with BI is that theory does not linger on the surface, but it comes to life though real life cases, dialogue with professors and company visits.


Niklas Zennström, who founded Skype and Michael Moritz, an early boardmember at Google, are amongst the inspiring people Lena has met through her work.

- I am often surprised how people that have achieved so much in business can still be so humble and easy to talk to. I am passionate about people, whether it’s my friends, my team or my colleagues. Nothing keeps me more energized than being around motivated people with a positive attitude. Making a difference, both privately and workwise, while actually having fun is what keeps me going.

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