Alumni Ambassador Emilia Rantala: The Aalto on Waves trip was a turning point in my life

Our alumna Emilia Rantala became accidentally part of one of the very first Aalto-level study projects at the newly formed university. Aalto on Waves took her from Lisbon over the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Brazil, and brought along a broad network and many new friendships.
School of Business Alumni Ambassador Emilia Rantala

When and what did you study at Aalto University School of Business?

I studied accounting in the School of Business in the years 2006–2012. My minors consisted of the exchange period during the Bachelor level and management studies in the Master’s degree.

In which positions have you worked after graduation?

After graduation I worked three years at KPMG as an Accounting and Reporting Specialist.

For the last two years, I have worked at KONE Corporation as a Controller, preparing group financial reports, performing financial data analysis, and developing the interpretation and application of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

In what ways have the studies been useful for your career? What is the significance of grades?

The grades only tell a part of the story behind your learning and knowledge. After all, only a few employers demand excellent grades, even though they might have a look at your study certificates in the beginning of your career.

Nevertheless, you should still make an effort on your studies, but not at the expense of the very important social life!

Share something memorable from the time when you were studying.

To be honest, the first memory that comes to my mind does not relate that much to studying itself but to the above-mentioned social life.

At the end of my studies, I accidentally ended up in one of the very first Aalto-level study projects at the newly formed university. Aalto on Waves was a project that included a group of hundred students, alumni and staff members of Aalto University to travel together on a ship from Lisbon, through the Canary Islands and over the Atlantic Ocean, to Brazil.

Along the journey, we worked on different group projects, had many workshops and did some exams as well. Above all, we got to know the world by visiting the cities, universities and companies along the way.

The trip was a turning point in my life and brought about many important friendships with great people form the fields of economics, technology, and arts.

Your advice for the students who reflect on their studies?

Based on my own and my acquaintances’ experience, I would like to highlight three important pieces of advice:

  1. You should select your major based on what truly interests you. Work becomes such a big part of your life that you should navigate your career according to your own motivation. I chose accounting since I like to work with numbers and acquire measurable results to support analysis and decision-making.
  2. If possible, include an exchange period in your studies. The School of Business offers extremely good opportunities to not only broaden your knowledge and network abroad, but also broaden your own point of view towards life, studies and future. My own exchange period in Singapore gave me loads of good memories around South-East Asia!
  3. If I were now a student at the School of Business, I would go through the study offering at Aalto University and try to make the most of it in regards to creating your career path, also outside the traditional School of Business studies. Moreover, nowadays the startup-scene in the Aalto society is unique on a Finnish scale – and even globally. During the time of my studies, there were no such opportunities available.

Many students worry about finding their first job in the field. Do you have any advice for them?

During the studies, it is good to get work experience, for example through summer jobs. It does not matter what kind of work you do in the beginning.

My own career path has formed more by accident than design, and you should not plan the early stage of your career in too much detail, but stay open-minded towards different possibilities and opportunities. Persistence and patience are sometimes needed when applying to jobs, but you should never give up!

Good guys are always welcome to the work life, and the School of Business offers a steady basis for your career.

What do networks mean to you?

Creating networks and friendships during the studies is important and useful in many ways.

In Finland, the circles can be small and you meet the same familiar faces in the work life than you have met during your studies. Previous contacts with people makes the cooperation easier in the future.

Besides, creating networks and friendships during the studies makes studying, but also the life after graduation, much more fun! An excellent way to broaden your networks is to participate in the student activities – be it in KY, AYY or something else, being part of them offers friends and contacts worth one’s weight in gold, for the rest of your life.

You act as an Alumni Ambassador at Aalto University School of Business. What does being an alumna mean to you?

I am extremely proud to be an alumna and an Alumni Ambassador of the School.

It is interesting to watch the School and its people develop. If sharing my experiences and knowledge to the current students helps at least one of them, it is worth it.

Further information:

After the interview, Rantala was working over three years as an Investor Relations Manager at Wärtsilä and from autumn 2022 at Rovio as Senior Investor Relations Manager. (2024)

Get to know Emilia Rantala’s career path more closely on LinkedIn!

Read more about the School of Business alumni cooperation and about the other Alumni Ambassadors who, like Emilia Rantala, are involved in developing the School’s alumni activities:

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