On a mission for sustainable development in Mexico

Anna Asikainen works for a consultancy in Mexico that specialises in sustainable development solutions and climate change. She has noticed that traditional Finnish ‘sisu’ can go a long way in an international environment.
Aalto-yliopisto / yhteisö

Senior Consultant Anna Asikainen focuses on climate risks and opportunities at the South Pole Group and develops solutions for climate funding, emissions markets and climate change-related risk management.

‘This is basically my dream job. I get to work with public and private actors on a daily basis and help promote concrete measures for the good of our planet,’ says Anna.

Mexico represents a market of 120 million people, and Anna has carved her own success with a dash of Finnish “sisu” and determination. The differences between work cultures have proven to be a benefit: the cornerstones of Finnish work culture, such as flexibility, efficiency and shorter workdays, have fit in well in a multicultural work environment where projects are implemented on a much grander scale. Anna also learned some workplace Spanish during her first year in Mexico, and knowing the language has opened a lot of doors and helped her reach her current, interesting assignments.

Anna’s business degree has proven to be a benefit in her current work, as her ability to understand funding mechanisms and economics has played an important role in the climate change and international development projects that she is part of. According to Anna, multidisciplinarity is an important strength at Aalto.

‘For my master’s final, I researched the implementation of clean forms of energy in the Mexican market − a topic that I had gained an interest in when I was on exchange in Mexico during my bachelor’s degree studies,’ Anna notes.

Anna’s best study memories include the Aalto LAB Mexico project that she participated in in 2012 during her master’s studies. She worked in Calakmul, Mexico in the state of Campeche in a Maya community for a “community-based social development” project that focused on developing various solutions to challenges related to social, planning and infrastructural issues, in collaboration with the members of the community.

‘We slept in hammocks under the stars − Aalto multidisciplinarity at its finest! Even traditional celebrations at the School of Business, such as May Day and the annual gala, are unforgettable experiences.’

At her current job, Anna is almost always working concurrently on several different projects, and her operating environment is constantly changing based on the global political landscape,  international climate negotiations and signals from the private sector. During Anna’s master’s studies, learning to combine her studies, part-time job, student organisation activities and hobbies taught her organisational skills, responsibility and how to manage stressful situations, and these skills have now proven to be real assets. Anna has noticed that Finns are regarded positively in the international job market.

‘I appreciate the quality and thoroughness of Finnish higher education − at Aalto, we were taught for example the basics and methods of academic research as well as numerous useful theories, which helped lay the foundation for understanding wider-ranging phenomena in the economy and society as a whole.'

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