Master's Programme in Information and Service Management is the most tech-savvy programme at the Aalto University School of Business. The ISM programme shapes students into future leaders of the digital era with a unique combination of leadership, business and technology. ISM provides students with in-depth expertise in developing, managing and leading data-heavy businesses, making graduates highly sought after in the job market.
Alumna Eleonora Nazander: 'Analytical methods can help us find solutions to almost any problem'
Would you shortly introduce yourself?
I am Eleonora. I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia. After finishing a bachelor’s degree in my hometown, I came to Finland to do a master’s degree in ISM. After graduation, I started working as a business intelligence analyst at Stora Enso. Stora Enso gave me a chance to participate in their global leadership trainee program, which included getting to know how to do business in China, as well as an international assignment in Brazil.
After several years at Stora Enso, I made a switch into consulting by joining Bain & Co. Currently, I work as a Senior Specialist in Bain’s Advanced Analytics function in San Francisco. My areas of focus include customer segmentation, driver analysis, whitespace analysis, data visualization, etc.
What made you choose ISM? What did you specialize in?
I was always interested in quantitative methods and wanted to use them to solve business problems. Information and Service Management was a perfect match, as it teaches you how to apply statistical methods to marketing, logistics and finance. In my opinion, the program provides students a perfect mix of business and technical skills.
I specialized in the Business Analytics track, which resonated perfectly with my interests.
How have you translated your acquired skills to your work life?
My work is directly related to what was taught in ISM. To give you a few examples, the Database Marketing course gives a perfect background for working in customer analytics. It includes customer segmentation, in-market tests, predicting churn and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) analysis. On another note, I did a lot of work in sales forecasting while still at Stora Enso. This is a rather complex issue well-covered in the Time Series Analysis course.
I must say that the ISM master’s program was not the end of my studies. After graduation, I have been doing a lot of additional studies mostly through online courses on Coursera, DataCamp, Edx, etc. They were essential for strengthening coding skills in R, Python and SQL. Additionally, I was lucky to attend courses on leadership and business at IMD International Business School in Switzerland and Stanford Continuing Studies in the US.
What was your favourite course?
It was probably Simulation. It provided amazing intellectual challenges to be solved through the means of statistics. The course was undoubtedly difficult, yet each and every problem was fascinating. That’s when I realized what type of work I wanted to do in my career: complex intellectual problems requiring statistical methods.
I would also like to mention one course I took as part of the minor in Finance. The Corporate Finance course is absolutely outstanding in how much essential knowledge about the functioning of a company it gives to students.
In my opinion, the Information and Service Management program provides students a perfect mix of business and technical skills.
What direction are you looking to advance next?
In the future, I would like to apply statistical methods and data visualization for social impact problems. From climate change to poverty, there are just too many solvable issues in the world to stay indifferent. I strongly believe that analytical methods can help us find solutions to almost any problem.
What would you like to tell prospective or existing ISM students?
Be hungry. Learning can be an incredible joy, if you give yourself to it. Find what you are interested in and invest as much time as you can in becoming great at it. The modern world is very fast-paced and competitive, which means you will have to keep learning even after getting your diploma if you want to have a great career and impact.
Any tips for international students looking for employment in Finland?
From my personal experience, finding your first job can be very tough. I faced a lot of rejections, despite very good grades. Don’t give up! There are two pieces of advice I would like to give to those looking for jobs:
- Play on your strength. Identify your strengths and work on improving them even further. It is much harder to improve in the areas of your weakness, so, investments in strength will have greater payoffs. Remember, that everyone has weaknesses. Eliminating them will bring you to the average level, but will not make you an extraordinary candidate.
- Don’t think that good grades are enough. Most people find jobs through networking. Make sure to go to every company visit and career fair. Meet company representatives, ask them smart questions about their company and specific roles. Make them remember you. If you mention the encounter with company representatives in your motivational letter, it will make it easier for recruiters to relate to you.