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Alumni Ambassador's story: Juha Aarvala

Our Alumni Ambassador Juha Aarvala has been working in the field of medicine for over 20 years. He shared his career story with us and gave some advice for the current students: “Your activity during the studies counts a lot, in addition to the networks and being resilient. The true value of networks is something you should never underestimate! Thus, visit different events, meet new people and learn new things through them.”
School of Business Alumni Ambassador Juha Aarvala

Tell briefly about yourself.

I studied in the School of Business during the years 1989–1993, majoring in marketing. My minors were accounting and entrepreneurship. After graduation I have worked in different sales and marketing positions: I started in the trainee program at Unilever, from where I proceeded in to more challenging tasks, first within the same organization and afterwards, to a Product Manager position at Philips. A bit later, I worked as a Product Group Manager and a Marketing Manager at Leiras. Having gained the experience from these positions, I took part in the launching of a start-up business in Finland as the CEO of a start-up company Magnum Medical Finland.

Since the beginning of the decade, I have acted as the CEO at Orton, and since 2015, as the CEO of Clinical Research Institute HUCH (HYKS-instituutti). The mission of the Clinical Research Institute HUCH is to promote internationally recognized clinical research for the wellbeing of patients. The company conducts contract-based research in the entire Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), Finland.

How did you end up working in the field of medicine?

I was headhunted to Leiras in 1997. At that time, Leiras was one of Finland’s biggest marketer, and it interested me. In the field of medicine and health care, you get to work with very smart people with different kinds of education backgrounds. The work that we do not only helps people but also gives deeper purpose for the work - other than just earning your living.

It is worthwhile to learn the model of lifelong learning.

School of Business Alumni Ambassador Juha Aarvala

How have the studies been useful to your career?

During my studies, I learned to handle bigger entities, to separate the essential from the unessential and to get a very comprehensive picture of the factors affecting the business functions – not forgetting the wide network that I was able to obtain. I completed my degree in a fast pace, and therefore had to plan my doings quite carefully, but also so that I had the time for the extra-curriculum activities! The hobbies and activities during the studies might have a crucial meaning in the beginning of your career and later on.

I encourage you to network with people, go to an exchange period and enjoy your studies! It is however worthwhile to learn the model of lifelong learning – that is, getting used to the fact that studying won’t end after one degree, but continues through your lifetime.

Thoughts on the business world or current issues? What are you doing at your workplace?

The development of AI, digitalization and robotics shapes strongly the field of medicine. On the other hand, the familiar things such as interaction with people, service design and leading and motivating people are constantly present in our doing and discussions.

I want to encourage all to be open-minded and have self-confidence that your skills, with some updating, will be enough to get along. Everything will work out all right, as the old saying goes. There is always an opportynity in change!

Some students might be worried about getting their first job in the field. Do you have any advice for them?

I graduated in the midst of the depression of the 1990s. I approached different companies for 600 times before getting my first job. After that, everything has been much easier. Your activity during the studies counts a lot, in addition to the networks and being resilient.

You should never underestimate the meaning and the true value of the networks! Visit different events, meet new people and learn new things through them. You should take an advantage of the various opportunities offered by the Aalto University School of Business to meet alumni in different career events, participate in the mentoring program and get career counseling.

We, as the School of Business alumni, are glad to share our own thoughts and experiences on studying and working life. I myself received an extremely useful toolkit for (working) life from the School of Business, and it feels good to be able to give something back. I’m still a very proud alumnus of the Aalto University School of Business!

Further information:

Get to know Juha Aarvala’s career path more closely on LinkedIn!

Read more about the School of Business alumni cooperation and about the other Alumni Ambassadors who, like Juha Aarvala, are involved in developing the school’s alumni activities.

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