Alumni story: Communications took Heli Aalto to KONE

Heli Aalto believes the School of Business prepared her for analytical thinking. She works as the director of New Equipment Business at KONE.
Heli Aalto

When and what did you study at the School of Business?

I started studying at the School of Business (then named the Helsinki School of Economics) right after high school in autumn 1997 and I graduated in 2002. My majors were Finnish and communications, with an extended minor in accounting.

What jobs have you held since graduation?

I have spent nearly my entire career at KONE, where I was first employed as a financial communications officer. The start of my career was a really interesting time because of KONE's Partek deal, the subsequent divestments and the eventual division into KONE and Cargotec.

After a few years in communications, I became more interested in working directly in the customer interface and with business. When I returned from maternity leave in 2010, I moved to our domestic company as a marketing and communications manager. I became director of modernisation and a member of the management group in 2013.

What do you do now?

I just moved to Poland, where I'm now director of the new equipment business in our New Emerging Markets unit, which includes Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and the Ukraine. I'm responsible for developing our entire delivery chain, from sales to equipment installation.

How have your studies been beneficial in working life?

The School of Business provided me with a broad-based degree and the skills to think analytically.

I also had a summer job at the school, which gave me valuable work experience that was particularly useful when I started applying for permanent positions. I was also active in the student organisation and the networks I formed there have supported my professional development after graduation.

Can you share a memorable event from your student days?

My most important 'find' at university was my husband: we began dating during my first autumn at the school. My closest friends are also from the school, and different groups of us still get together for a May Day picnic on Ullanlinnanmäki, a skiing weekend in Iisalmi and a Christmas brunch.

Our Christmas brunch tradition began with an exam held on a Saturday right before Christmas. After the exam, we decided that we deserved a really nice lunch. This past Christmas, we met for the 20th time. 

Any advice for future students?

A business degree is a good choice because it provides the skills needed for many career paths.

Some of my former classmates work in traditional sectors, but one is a civil servant in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs while another is a news editor. Choose your major based on what really interests you. Fortunately, the School of Business still offers a wide range of options for major studies.

Further information:

  • The application period for the bachelor's programme in English (BScBA Mikkeli): 10 – 25 January 2017
  • Application period for master's programmes: 15 December 2016 – 25 January 2017
  • Application period for bachelor's programmes in Finnish: 15 March – 05 April 2017
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