Alumnus of the Year Matti Alahuhta emphasises the importance of continual learning
What did you study at the Helsinki University of Technology and when?
I studied in HUT’s Department of Electrical Engineering from 1971 to 1976. My majors were in telecommunications and digital technology, and then later during my post-graduate studies in telecommunications and economics. In 1990, I defended my doctoral dissertation on ”Global growth strategies for high technology challengers”.
What was the reason you chose the field you studied?
I thought that telecommunications would be the field of the future.
What memories do you have from your studies?
Studying didn’t require any great efforts. It was about working systematically.
What tools did you get from your studies for use in working life?
My studies of course gave basic skills and competencies, but they also stirred up the desire to learn more. It was particularly during my postgraduate studies that I realised the large importance of continual learning.
What kind of work positions have you had?
I worked in research to begin with, then in the 80s as a head of sales and then I led global business operations from 1986 up until 2014. I was at Nokia for 26 years in all, and had global management roles there from 1986 to 2004. I was then CEO of KONE from 2005 to 2014. Since then, my main role has been as part of DevCo Partners, where we acquire significant ownership shares in medium-sized Finnish businesses and actively develop them. I am also on the board of two Finnish and two foreign exchange-listed companies.
What greetings would you like to send to students at the School of Electrical Engineering? What kind of skills should be developed for the future?
Studies are a great opportunity to learn and to develop new skills and capacities for oneself. In my opinion, it is worth selecting both your study area and your work according to what interests you. In that way, you learn and achieve results. It is important to take the attitude that, in this changing world, learning is more and more a continual process.
Text and photo: Linda Koskinen