Where do you currently work and how did you end up in your current position?
I have now been the CEO of aTalent Recruiting for five years. Our company focuses on recruiting people with a university background and with 0-10 years of work experience. Every year, we recruit about 500 people to good positions in the Finnish industries, mainly for business, engineering, and IT roles.
I followed aTalent already during my studies and I was fascinated by the company's culture and people-centered industry. I had discussions with aTalent about the position of CEO already towards the end of my studies, but at that time I didn't end up to the company yet. However, I was very satisfied with the process at that time, and a few years later I got a call when the CEO of that time was moving to another job, and I started as CEO.
What do you think has been especially important in your studies for your career?
The most useful thing is that I became used to doing large amounts of work and diverse challenging tasks efficiently – especially when I had a job alongside with my studies. Problem-solving, producing high-quality text, presenting things clearly, and working on a variety of case assignments continue developing my thinking today. Especially one course from my studies was very memorable: ‘The development paths and strategies of Finnish companies’. The course had a lot of high-level visitors involved. Furthermore, I was part of organizing KY-Sail's sailing trips to the Mediterranean, which developed my organizing skills and pressure tolerance. I also appreciate the fact that during studies, I grew up and matured as a person with my various fellow students, without even noticing it.
Share something memorable from the time you were studying.
I am very glad that in my first year of study I was able to experience the student organization KY's 100th anniversary celebrations and, after graduation, the ceremonial conferment of the School of Business.
Throughout my studies, there are many great memories, which are often associated with new experiences and laughing our heads off with great fellow students. I especially remember the autumn when I made a trip to Champagne with the wine club Baccus, a surf trip to Portugal with the KY-Ski club, a two-week KY-Sail sailing trip to Greece and finally a trip to the World Championships for student sailing in La Rochelle, France. I took less study courses then, but later accelerated my studies.
My exchange studies in the Chinese Special Administrative Region, in the former Portuguese colony of Macao, was also a culturally special experience.
Your advice for studies or tips for working life and looking for a job?
My own view on studies has always been clear: it’s worth following your own interests and enthusiasm, because then there’s a better chance of really becoming good at something.
My tip for working life is to take a ‘people first’ attitude. Everything goes easier and better when there is trust and good mood with the people around you – be it colleagues, customers, suppliers, or other partners.
There are many ways to look for a job. However, if you want to maximize the number of different opportunities, I recommend finding a certain angle related to business operations and then profiling your skills according to that angle. Especially in the early stages of a career, it might be a bit more challenging to find employment if you are a generalist. Many graduates with little work experience often write quite general job applications: ‘I am hardworking and responsible and get along well with others.’ However, every employee is expected to have these qualities, so you won’t stand out with those qualities. I recommend using concrete examples to tell what you know or have accomplished that will support success in the job you are applying for.
You are an Alumni Ambassador for Aalto University School of Business. What does being and alumnus mean to you?
Being an alumnus means that I have joined other alumni as one small link in the history of the Finnish universities and business life. At its best, the cultural, scientifically high-quality, and societally influential community continues to live, even when studies end.
Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Thank you to Aalto University, School of Business, KY student organization and to all my fellow study friends for fun and educational years!
Find out more about Niklas' career path on LinkedIn!