Here you can find School of Business alumni stories. Our alumni share their professional journeys and give advice and tips regarding working life. The stories have been sorted based on the alumni's majors. The newest publications are placed first in the major groups.
Alumni Ambassador Le Thuy: Data related skills are increasingly relevant in business
Who are you? What and when did you study at Aalto University School of Business and elsewhere?
Hello, I’m Le, an Information and Service Management (ISM) alumna graduated in 2017. I’m originally from Vietnam, born in Quy Nhon – a small city along the coast. (Small on Vietnamese scale means ~300k of population). I moved to Finland in 2010 to study International Business in Lahti UAS, and then did my master’s degree in Aalto School of Business with a major in ISM Business Analytics. I’m now working as a consultant at August Associates, a leading local strategy consulting firm in Helsinki.
Why did you decide to come to Finland?
Back in 2009 during my 2nd year at a university in Ho Chi Minh city, a friend of mine, who was studying here at the time, suggested me to come to Finland, which offered free education, magical nature and high standard of living. I didn’t need to think twice.
Thinking back, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Life in Finland has been more than great for me. I’ve graduated and got a dream job. I’ve also got the chance to learn and do new things like downhill skiing, riding a boat, or jumping into an ice hole (avanto) from sauna, just to name a few.
The connection with Finland has also been deepened in my family over the years. My sisters have joined me to come here and build their own lives. My parents have also visited us and immediately fell in love with the place.
Why did you want to study Information and Service Management (ISM) at Aalto?
I was participating in the mentoring program held by HERA (Helsinki Education and Research Area) in 2012. In an event, I was sharing my plan to start a master program and my mentor gave me the hint that data was going to be big and people who could translate insights from data into business actions would be the most looked for in companies.
I figured that ISM is the program that emphasizes on developing information-based skills and provides the most direct route for business students to become a data analyst. It was a valuable insight that I got from my mentor and it is still applicable now!
Le Thuy, School of Business Alumni Ambassador
I feel inspired by smart people who always strive for the best. They consequentially motivate you to do the same.
How did you end up in working strategy consulting at August Associates?
Strategy consulting seems like a natural career jump-start as it provides great exposure to a wide variety of industries and business problems. Moreover, the required core competence is data analysis – the skill I’ve learned from ISM studies.
August’s internship is an awesome opportunity to try out strategy consulting and get to know the firm. In the first 'Base Camp' – an intro session for interns, one of August’s founders drew a steep curve on the board and said that 'this is the learning curve you would get over the time at August'. That was proven during my internship with countless eye-opening and jaw-dropping moments.
What I found unique at August is its super community of ~25 rock-stars. The perk of a small company is not just 'Nice, everybody knows you', but it also means that senior colleagues know you in person and can give you 'tailor-made' development advice. That’s one of the significant learning accelerators, especially important for young people. As I value continuous learning and places where I can develop, I find that August is such a place.
How is it like to work in strategy consulting?
We usually work in projects of various lengths. Each project has a dedicated project team to focus on the specific business problems faced by the client.
I have participated in multiple projects of different types, e.g., growth strategy, commercial due diligence, profitability modelling etc. during my time at August. The work is exciting as there are always new and unique challenges in each project.
The work mode is also diverse with internal sparring within the team, independent work on analyses and documentation, and meetings and workshops with clients.
The nature of the work is, of course, intensive as you are expected to deliver high quality results within relatively short periods of time. However, it is at the same time rewarding. You know that you have the team strongly supporting you and at the end of each project, you feel extremely proud of what you and the team have achieved.
What inspires you and what is your daily motivation?
I feel inspired by smart people who always strive for the best. They consequentially motivate you to do the same. Also, being able to do the things you like and find meanings in what you do are extremely stimulating.
Besides work, the time spent with the people I care for is crucial for me. Interaction with them, however small, will always add some extra flavor to my days.
Finally, doing sports is a great way to stay motivated. I like practicing yoga and swimming. August community is also extremely sporty. Participating in HCR (Helsinki City Run) yearly is one of August’s traditions, for example.
Do you have any advice for School of Business and ISM students?
First, you’re in the right place! Data related skills are increasingly relevant in business, so try to learn and practice as much as you can when you have a chance.
You don’t need to have the answer to that big question “What do you want to do with your life?”. You only need to keep an open mind and be active. Consult senior people around you – they’ve done it and they will surely have something to share.
Brave your future* and try out new things – internship is an effective way to find the career that makes you tick. Plus, you can always reach out to me regarding ISM studies, strategy consulting and August.
What kind of advice would you give to international students who are looking for a job in Finland?
The Finnish job market has become more open recently seeing that many of my friends are now working in various positions in Finnish companies.
As an international student, you might find your limited Finnish skill a disadvantage. However, my advice to you is to focus on your strength, your uniqueness, and your potential contribution to the company that you are interested in.
If your long-term plan is to stay in Finland, I strongly advice you to pick the language as it’s a great way to integrate into the Finnish society.
Get to know Le’s career path more closely in LinkedIn!
*As August’s slogan goes, “Brave The Future” means facing it with courage
August Associates are the leading local strategy consultants in Finland. Founded in 2001 we are a firm of 25 capable professionals committed to helping companies rise above the crowd and surpass their targets. Deep customer relationships are at the heart of delivering relevant strategic counsel that is a perfect fit for the organization and their business. Combining experience with non-conformist thinking we go beyond the commonplace, providing solutions that Brave The Future.
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.