Alumni Ambassador Tatu Mäkilä: I can warmly recommend entrepreneurship, if you are interested in taking small risks
"To me, being an alumnus means giving back, and thus, I am very pleased to help", says Mäkilä."
When and what did you study at Aalto University School of Business?
During the years 2003–2008, I studied first finance, but then I changed my major for entrepreneurship and leading small businesses, because those interested me more. I completed also the IDBM program as my minor.
What jobs have you held since graduation?
During my studies and graduation, I worked as consultant in an international consulting firm, but I quickly switched to work as a sales manager in a small software company, because I wanted to gain experience in starting one’s own business. It was also a logical step towards the world of SaaS (Software as a Service).
In 2010, with the help of my fellow student I founded my own company, which I have used for billing my own work whenever I haven’t been employed at one of the companies I’ve founded.
What do you currently do?
Together with a good friend of mine, I recently founded a commercial design agency called Curreon, where we focus on providing digital products for health, wellbeing and cleaner environment. In addition, we use our own entrepreneurial experience in supporting fresh businesses that fit into our values. I am open for new venture ideas, and even though we may not always be able to cooperate, we wish to help new entrepreneurs at least in some ways.
At Curreon, we are currently working on two new service concepts. The first is a service to maintain personal wellbeing, which will be published early in the year 2018. The second is called “Vapaus Bikes”, where companies or consumers can rent a bike as a service from us, and this service is already in action as we speak. After the rental time we are planning to donate the bikes for charity, unless our customers want to claim the bikes for themselves. Especially the renting of electric bikes seems to interest many, due to the high purchase price and insecure maintenance.
How do different hobbies and activities affect one’s career path?
I took part in founding the “KY Run” club and I have worked as a trainer for the entrance exams during my studies. The hobbies and jobs during my studies have given me good experience, since afterwards, I have been part in two jogging businesses and learnt the basics in business administration as an entrance exam trainer.
You can still cope with the same basic knowledge, at least as an entrepreneur, when you remember to follow the developments in technology and society, and make use of all this in your own daily work.
Organizational activities, fellow students, study projects and the summer jobs done during your studies will help you to create contacts, through which you may find work later on.
In entrepreneurship, the most important things for me are self-fulfilment, doing new, even a little crazy things and defining my own schedule.
Your advice for the students who reflect on their studies and your advice for their career?
You should select the subjects and courses based on your own, true interests and so that you can benefit from them when reaching for your goals. It is easy to follow the trends and think about how you want to be part in changing the world. Remember also to be yourself at work, since otherwise the job will become too rough.
I can warmly recommend entrepreneurship, if you are interested in taking small risks. In entrepreneurship, the most important things for me are self-fulfilment, doing new, even a little crazy things and defining my own schedule. This way I do not have to regret anything when I become older. Due to the positive atmosphere towards entrepreneurship and decreased costs of founding, it is nowadays easier to become an entrepreneur, and you can always go back as an employee, if you realize later on that it fits you better.
When looking for a job, especially the students with skills in marketing and sales can contact me, although I cannot guarantee anything. However, eventually there will probably be jobs available either from my own companies or from the companies of my friends.
What do networks mean to you?
Networks are very important and useful to me. If you are willing to give your own time in order to help others, you will probably receive help yourself whenever in need.
In addition to the alumni activities, I am currently a member of the Future Board. For the ones interested in working in company boards, I will take the chance to market the Future Board: it is a network of young board experts, which trains young talents towards the company boards in the future. The activities include education of the members and sharing information, but the members also get useful contacts through the network.
If you do not have a family company background, the most challenging criteria in joining the Future Board might be the experience in acting in a board of a company whose revenue is over 500 000 €. However, this is not something that a young, active entrepreneur could not handle!
You act as Alumni Ambassador at the School of Business. What does being an alumnus mean to you?
First, to me being an alumnus means giving back. The studies have given so much to me and thus, I am more than happy to help the current students and Aalto University within the limits of my own abilities and spare time.
The most challenging task seems to be the activating my former fellow students in the alumni activities, since many of them are busy with family, work and other networks. I hope that the title of Alumni Ambassador gets my friends interested in the activities, the fame and the glory.
I have nothing but a positive image of the alumni activities at Aalto University, and I would like to thank the staff members for their excellent work in developing the alumni culture in a supposedly challenging environment.
Is there something else you would like to say?
Remember to enjoy the time of your studies, and do not stress too much. Take care of your own wellbeing, rest more than feels necessary and be selfish in a healthy way. Go on an exchange or apply for a job abroad, for you learn a lot from yourself in different cultures.
If your dream job requires narrow expertise, remember also to develop yourself as a person for example with sports, arts or other sciences – otherwise your life will become too simple and dull.
Good manners and being polite should not be forgotten; people tend to forget those in all that rush.
Currently, Mäkilä is working as a Chief Growth Officer at Vapaus.io. (2020)
Get to know Tatu Mäkilä’s career path more closely on LinkedIn!
Read more about the School of Business alumni cooperation and about the other Alumni Ambassadors who, like Tatu Mäkilä, are involved in developing the School’s alumni activities: www.aalto.fi/school-of-business/school-of-business-alumni-ambassadors.