Alumni Ambassador Petteri Vartiainen: It is important to acknowledge your personal set of values and be ready to hold on to them
When and what did you study at Aalto University School of Business?
I started my studies at the School of Business (former School of Economics) in 1993 and graduated in spring 1999. My major was economics and I did a broad minor in finance.
What jobs have you held since graduation?
During the final phase of my studies, I started as an intern at Finnish Guarantee Board (Suomen Valtiontakuukeskus), where I also completed my Master’s thesis on companies’ credit rating models.
After graduation, I continued to work there as a Corporate Analyst. When Finnish Guarantee Board merged with Kera Plc, and Finnvera was founded, I started working in export financing.
In 2002, I moved to Stockholm and started working at a Dutch bank ABN Amro in export and project financing. After spending few years in Stockholm, I returned to Helsinki and took a job within the same bank as a Relationship Manager.
I currently work as a Director in Corporate Coverage at NatWest.
Your advice for the students who reflect on their studies?
It is important that the job you do is motivating and the tasks are according to your personal set of values. Defining your own areas of interest works as a good basis when selecting the field and the major in which to study.
Although the major obviously gives you the direction towards the working life, choosing it should not be seen as restrictive, but more as enabling.
You should have the courage to try new things, also outside your comfort zone, because building a broad and wide-ranging basis is important for one’s career. When you are open-minded, it is possible to explore something you did not think of before.
Your thoughts on business world? How should the current students reflect their studies to the world?
When the world is continuously changing, especially the working life is very fast-paced and sometimes difficult to interpret.
It is important to acknowledge your personal set of values and be ready to hold on to them. This creates a strong basis on which it is easy to reflect the events in the working life and in the world.
These events obviously affect our everyday lives, but certain values should remain the same: for example, by respecting others and by being honest and trustworthy, you can gain the trust from the others, too.
By getting to know people and by expanding your personal network, you can raise your knowledge capital.
What do the networks mean to you?
Interaction always plays a key role at work, regardless of the task. By getting to know people and by expanding your personal network, you can raise your knowledge capital.
I try to create networks outside my own field. The more extensive and multi-dimensional your networks are, the more they have to give.
Personal networks are important in many ways: you can get new thoughts and ideas, the people in your network can inspire you, and you can find new work opportunities through the networks.
The contacts established during the studies will often become life-long relationships.
Many students, especially the ones who have only begun studying, are worried about how to find the first job in their field. Do you have any advice for them?
As a part of the alumni activity, I have acted as a mentor for soon-to-be graduates. In these conversations, we have talked a lot about finding the first job.
Although you might have an idea of what you want to do, be flexible. There are often several ways to reach your goal, and the best route is not always the direct one.
Be open-minded towards new opportunities, and do not delimit the options too much.
You act as an Alumni Ambassador at the School of Business. What does being an alumnus mean to you?
The School of Business is a very important place for me. The significance of the School has even strengthened after my graduation, and the friends, contacts and obviously all the knowledge capital received during the studies have played a central role at work. I could not quite perceive all this while studying.
When I graduated, the School’s alumni activity was not that organised, but I am very pleased to see how the alumni are nowadays a steady part of the School’s community. Every School of Business student and alumni should be proud of their roots!
Read more about the School of Business alumni cooperation and about the other Alumni Ambassadors who, like Petteri Vartiainen, are involved in developing the School’s alumni activities: www.aalto.fi/school-of-business/school-of-business-alumni-ambassadors.