According to Homecoming Day, continuous learning will be expected from business school graduates in the future

Alumni populated the main building of the School of Business in Töölö for the last time.
Vesa Puttonen (on the left), Taavi Heikkilä, Marianne Vikkula, Heikki Malinen, Kristiina Mäkelä and Casper von Koskull in the panel discussion. Photos: Lasse Lecklin

The keynote speaker at the Homecoming Day for alumni organised by the Aalto University School of Business was Casper von Koskull, CEO and President of Nordea. In his keynote speech, von Koskull discussed the theme of the alumni day ‘Brave New Work – the future work of business school graduates’, and pointed out that the change in work and work culture has never been as fast as now.  He also emphasised that the pace of change will increase in the future, which is why business should be more agile than before. ‘Customers are impatient and knowledgeable, and we should make an effort in serving them’.

A panel discussion moderated by Professor of Finance Vesa Puttonen tackled, for instance, the skills employers expect business school graduates to have in the future. Casper von Koskull stated that customers’ needs should be understood both today and in the future, and in addition, a positive attitude and excitement should be conveyed at work. Heikki Malinen, President and CEO of Posti, called for business school graduates to have the right attitude, curiosity, good communication skills as well as a will to learn new things and work in an international environment. Taavi Heikkilä, Chairman and CEO of SOK, said that students’ technological skills should be strengthened in all areas of business.

The panel also discussed business school graduates’ own hopes in regards to their careers and work tasks. According to Marianne Vilkkula, previous CEO of Slush, young people usually regard work as meaningful when they are given responsibility and freedom to do things in the way they see most appropriate. Vilkkula also highlighted the importance of analytical skills in business school training.

According to Aalto University Provost and Professor of International Business Kristiina Mäkelä, continuous learning will be emphasised in the future – business school graduates will have to be ready to adopt new tools as well as new ways of thinking. She also said that authority is now earned by competence rather than position, and business school graduates expect work to be meaningful, no matter what the topic.

CEO of Reima Elina Björklund is the Alumna of the Year

After the main seminar, the alumni divided into parallel programmes hosted by the departments of the School of Business. These programmes dealt with the future work of business school graduates from different perspectives. Thereafter, previous Rector of Helsinki School of Economics Eero Kasanen talked about the School’s history from Fabianinkatu to Runeberginkatu, and challenged the Dean of School of Business Ingmar Björkman to answer a few questions about the move to Otaniemi. Ingmar warmly thanked Eero and Matti Lehti, Chancellor Emeritus of Helsinki School of Economics, for their significant input in the creation of Aalto University. The alumni gave Eero and Matti a standing ovation.

Elina Björklund, CEO of Reima, was presented the title of Alumna of the Year for the next two years. She was prevented from attending the alumni day for family reasons, but she sent a video message. Björklund said that nothing replaces meeting people face to face, as such meetings build trust, which is of crucial importance in business. Björklund sees the move to Otaniemi as essential, so that experts from three different fields can meet and generate something new.

Over 500 alumni participated in the alumni day. They also had an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the Business 3.0 construction project and discuss the move to Otaniemi and the new building with the project leaders and architects. The School of Business will move to Otaniemi on 15 February 2019.

Jyrki Heinimo, who started his studies in the School of Business in 1984, described the move as sacrilege, but quickly added that he understands its benefits.

‘It’s great that the Homecoming Day still took place in Töölö. I see that as a recognition for the alumni who studied in Töölö. The arrangements have been excellent and the discussion lively, which proves that the theme is interesting and the alumni are active.’

The evening continued with good food, socialising and dancing until late at night.

Thank you to all of the participants. We wish the alumni of the School of Business a good autumn! See you in Otaniemi!

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