Alumni Ambassador Sami Pauni: Executive MBA degree brought me new job opportunities
When and what did you study at Aalto University School of Business?
I did an executive MBA degree at the Aalto University Executive Education during the years 2013–2014.
In what kind of positions have you worked since graduation? Where are you working now?
I am a lawyer and I started my career in the early 2000s at a law firm Roschier. I have always been interested in stock-listed company regulations and corporate acquisitions. Last 13 years I have worked at a globally leading food and drink packaging company Huhtamaki in different legal and corporate responsibility related positions.
Now, I am a member of the Global Executive Team at Huhtamaki, with the responsibility for legal, corporate responsibility, compliance and risk management areas. I live in Mumbai, India. India is one of the most important growing markets for Huhtamaki – we have 17 factories here. I am here on a two-year posting, but I do the same tasks as I would do in Finland. It has been interesting to practice working remotely as a virtual team and act in a global role from India. In addition, I have learnt a lot about Indian culture and the life in one of the world’s most densely populated cities.
How have the studies been useful for your career?
Before completing my EMBA degree, I was the General Counsel. I wanted to broaden my perspective, receive new ideas and learn. For that reason, I started my EMBA studies. Those two years of studying were really rewarding years – even though it was sometimes tough to combine studying with the work life. Luckily, I have always had a great team around me, who backed me up when I had my phone switched off during lectures!
EMBA degree also brought me new job opportunities: after graduation, I had a discussion with my supervisor about my interests, and soon after graduation I was appointed in the Global Executive Team and became responsible for the areas I mentioned.
Your advice for the current students?
When working with legal, I have noticed how the School of Business gives great knowledge to its students. There are several double degree students in my team, graduated from both the School of Business and the Faculty of Law. I would argue that the business studies are really useful to the law students – and maybe also vice versa! I know many financial managers who have degrees from both fields, or at least some law studies completed with their business degree. I also recommend doing an EMBA degree at a stage, when you have already gained some work experience. Studying is completely different when you have been in the work life for a while.
In addition, don’t forget to read (a lot and everything!), be broad-minded, travel and familiarize with other cultures. If you have an opportunity to go abroad during your studies, use it!
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?
I have always grasped the opportunities when facing them – I have not always known where they will take me or whether it is the ”one”, but I have gone forward. Allow your dreams to change along the way – though you should also be patient.
What do the networks mean to you?
I don’t particularly like the words networks and networking, for I understand those as some kind of opportunism and purpose-orientation. It is important to get to know people, exchange ideas, challenge and be challenged. We as persons make the world – and that is why it is important to know people from many different contexts.
However, I do not believe in creating one’s career merely via networks – knowledge and showing your talent are crucial, too. Networks might help you be in the right place in the right time.
You act as an Alumni Ambassador at the School of Business. What does being an alumnus mean to you?
Being an alumnus is an honor – especially as I am not a first-degree student of Aalto University. The School of Business students and alumni are smart, dynamic, curious people who dare to question. It is great to be involved with talented people like this!
Get to know Sami Pauni’s career path more closely on LinkedIn!
Read more about the School of Business alumni cooperation and about the other Alumni Ambassadors who, like Sami, are involved in developing the School’s alumni activities.