Alumni Ambassador's story: Terttu Sopanen
When and what did you study at Aalto University School of Business?
During the years 1990-1998, I studied Finnish language and communications as my major and accounting as my minor.
In which positions have you worked after graduation?
Since the time I was studying, I have worked in different communications and marketing positions, developing brands, communication and marketing. In addition, I have been involved in developing the Nordic and Finnish alumni activities in the early 2000s, and been part in committing alumni to the creation of Aalto University. Now, I work as a Senior Consultant at Brunnen Communications.
In what ways have the studies been useful for your career? What is the significance of the major subject?
The studies have given me a good basis to deepen the knowledge. Even though some of the theories might become outdated, the studies still form the frame for one’s career and professional identity.
Combining business and communications and understanding the connection between them is becoming more and more valued in the job market, and that is what you learn when studying communications.
School of Business Alumni Ambassador Terttu Sopanen
Digitalization is changing the nature of our work and the ways we think, but what remains is the interaction between people.
Share something memorable from the time when you were studying.
I wrote my Master’s thesis on the professional slang used by dealers and auctioneers. I collected manually a massive slang vocabulary, posted a number of questionnaires to the dealers and auctioneers, in addition to the time spent sitting in the dealing rooms, following the traders’ work.
After collecting the vocabulary, I was supposed to check the understanding of the slang with a finance expert outside the traders’ occupational group. I asked the then Assistant Professor Vesa Puttonen to go through the vocabulary and see how he interpreted it. His first reaction was: “I’m not going to do your thesis work for you!”
Finally, he understood that it was about testing the slang vocabulary rather than doing the whole thesis work. Kindly he tested it and made comment on the meanings of the words. This was essential for my thesis work, and I was very grateful for his help.
Your advice for the students who reflect on their studies?
It is more important to find something that currently interests you, rather than wondering whether it is the right choice for the future. According to a survey by OECD, 40 % of the British people currently work on a different field than what they studied, a third of the French, and even every fourth Finn.
You should follow the business world and connect it to your studies. I suggest you do lots of case projects with companies and carry out your Master’s thesis for a company/organization. Keep you eyes open, believe in yourself and take the chances! The School of Business degree is appreciated in the working life. Just capture your expertise and strengths, and offer it boldly to the organizations that interest you!
What are the current issues and challenges at your workplace?
It is a clichée – yet true – that the business world is changing. Digitalization with AI, robotics, and many others is changing the nature of our work, the ways we work and the ways we think, but what remains is the interaction between people – the meaning of communication is even more emphasized. Open and active interaction and culture have become essential factors for successful business.
It is nice to be involved in a field which basic task is to generate meaningful interaction daily. We help our customers to be more impressive and to make results that are more visible. We make our customers more meaningful for their customers.
You act as an Alumni Ambassador at Aalto University School of Business. What does being an alumna mean to you?
I’m proud of my degree and that I’m a part of Aalto. I’m also a part of a very traditional community, which has had and will have a substantial impact on the development and future of Finland and the Finnish business.
As an alumna, it is my joy is to be part in strengthening Aalto University. Let’s take good care of it and simultaneously make sure that the value of our degrees will keep on growing!
Get to know Terttu Sopanen’s career path more closely on LinkedIn!
Read more about the School of Business alumni cooperation and about the other Alumni Ambassadors who, like Terttu Sopanen, are involved in developing the School’s alumni activities: https://www.aalto.fi/school-of-business/school-of-business-alumni-ambassadors