How did studying at the School of Business prepare you for working life?
In my opinion, the most essential benefit of higher education is how it teaches to think and understand new information and complex entities. In particular, the rapid absorption of new knowledge is becoming increasingly important in modern working life. In that respect, I value my studies in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Helsinki as much as my School of Business years. Of course, the marketing studies at the School of Business also offered a very broad and strategic view on the field of marketing and its toolkit. As a result, it has been relatively easy to understand the underlying logic of different industries, for example.
How do you think the field of marketing, advertising, and branding has changed in recent years and what kind of future prospects there are in the field?
The transition to digital platforms in recent years and the emphasized role of data and technology in the marketing communications toolkit have certainly been the most significant changes. Unfortunately, this has also made our industry more short-sighted even internationally, but fortunately marketing professionals have started to realize this lately.
However, that transformation has clearly increased the demand for certain skill sets. In the field of advertising alone, the number of different execution options has multiplied, and managing the whole requires more and more new kinds of expertise. There is quite a lot of talk about T-type experts, but in my opinion, the profile is more of an H-type: a hybrid expert who excellently masters more than one specific area and, moreover, is very broadly knowledgeable about other things more superficially.
I believe that the role of marketing and branding will only be emphasized in business in the future as we move from the current consumer culture to increasingly conscious choices. Concerns about our planet’s carrying capacity are likely to lead to consumers becoming more and more specific about what is important and valuable to them. Only companies that are skilled in marketing strategy will be able to remain relevant in that situation.
What kind of tips would you give to students who are interested in a career in marketing or advertising?
The transformation in the field of marketing I mentioned earlier will probably mean that there will be a growing demand for data expertise in the future, especially if it is combined with some other special skill. However, I would recommend studying broadly – you have time to deepen your expertise later in working life – and throughout your career. Aalto University offers great opportunities for broad and multidisciplinary studies, and this in the core of Aalto’s mission. Personally, I did not make as much use of the broadness of Aalto’s study offering as I would now hope.
Furthermore, contrary to my own story, I would recommend current students to leave room for focusing on your studies and challenging yourself through them, instead of mere performance mentality, even when working life is already calling. There aren’t that many similar unique learning opportunities available after graduation.
What inspires you in your work every day?
The most inspiring part of my job is the problem-solving related to client work, and the fact that the range of possibly correct answers is so large.
Another source of inspiration is, of course, my colleagues at TBWA\Helsinki. Being able to learn every day from the best creative professionals in the country and be inspired by their accomplishments is one of the biggest reasons I enjoy my job so much.
Find out more about Aki's career on LinkedIn!