Alexander Wirtz receives a master’s thesis award

The winning thesis is in the field of finance, and it looked at a wide range of factors that have been hypothesized to affect an individual investor’s equity allocation decisions
The picture shows Alexander Wirtz in a meeting room.
Alexander Wirtz encourages going to lectures in person because of the great opportunities for discussion with professors and peers. Photo: Alexander Wirtz.

The Foundation for the Advancement of Finnish Securities Markets has awarded MSc (Econ.) Alexander Wirtz’s master’s thesis with an acknowledgment prize of 5000 Euro. The thesis with the title “What Matters to Finnish Individual Investors? Investment Beliefs Related to Equity Allocation” is in the field of finance.

Wirtz did his Bachelor’s studies at the Cologne Business School in Germany and began his studies in the Master’s Programme in Finance at Aalto University School of Business in 2019. He graduated in September 2021.

“I am extremely proud and amazed that my master’s thesis was awarded this prize and I really want to express my gratitude towards my wife and my family for all the support that they gave me during my master’s thesis process. I also want to use this opportunity to once again thank my supervisor Professor Matthijs Lof for all the help and advice”, Wirtz says.

Differences between Finnish and U.S. investors

In the winning thesis Alexander Wirtz studied a wide range of factors that have been hypothesized to affect an individual investor’s equity allocation decisions. He collected survey responses from Finnish individual investors via multiple online platforms and contrasted the results against those of U.S. investors.

“My analysis showed for example that Finnish individual investors perceive themselves to be less susceptible to risks stemming from labour income, health-related expenses, and commitments towards fixed living expenses compared to the average U.S. investor”, Wirtz explains.

“Whereas the three highest rated factors the Finnish individual investors considered important for their portfolio equity allocation were their personal experience investing in the stock market, their short-term consumption needs, and the lack of knowledge and uncertainty towards stock market risks and returns, all social welfare risks were ranked extremely high in importance to the average U.S. investor.”

Studies gave many essential skills

Wirtz currently works as a consultant at EY-Parthenon Finland. He is part of the strategy team with a focus on buy-side and sell-side commercial due diligence primarily for PE firms. He says that the financial knowledge he gathered during his studies at Aalto University has been invaluable as it has helped shape his understanding of financial markets and how to prepare and invest for the future. His studies also gave him many essential skills that have allowed him to thrive and be successful at his current job.  

“I learned structured problem-solving, critical thinking, effective teamwork and communication, as well as many other valuable skills.”

The Covid-19 pandemic began only a few months after Alexander Wirtz had started his master’s studies at Aalto University School of Business and he ended up spending most of his time studying from home. He did, however, enjoy his student life.

“The first few months were really fun, and I am glad that I was able to experience at least a bit of campus life. My recommendation to anyone who is planning on studying at Aalto is to participate in as many student events as possible because you get to meet a lot of great people and there are so many interesting things to experience”, Wirtz says.

“I would also recommend going to all lectures in-person because of the great discussion that you will have with your professors and peers. As a bonus, the new School of Business just looks amazing and has everything that you could possibly need to make studying extremely comfortable and enjoyable.”

Understands the happiness of the Finns

Alexander Wirtz currently lives and works in Helsinki, Finland, and he is planning to stay in Finland for the long-term. 

“My plan for the future is very simple as I just want to continue enjoying life and have fun with everything that I am doing. I am very grateful that I have a lot of time to spend with my wife and my family and I am thoroughly enjoying my current job and working with great colleagues at EY-Parthenon. The longer I stay in Finland the more I am beginning to understand why the Finnish people always rank the highest in the world in terms of the happiness index.”

He encourages current and future students at Aalto University School of Business to rely on the support and the opportunities that the school provides.

“This probably sounds a bit cliché but the main advice that I would like to give to anyone who is reading is to never give up and always continue striving towards any goals that you have set for yourself. During my studies, there were times where I really felt that it was impossible to cope with everything that was going on at work, with studies, writing my thesis, applying for internships and jobs, and finding time to spend with my friends and family. But in the end, everything worked out well and we are given such a great support network and so many fantastic opportunities at Aalto.”

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