Alumnus Patrick Lees: Any working experience is valuable both on a social and career perspective

The career of Patrick Lees, School of Business Mikkeli Campus alumnus, took an unexpected turn early on and led him to work with renewable energies. “Small details and timing can have a significant impact on your career, and I urge not to be too fixed with your career plan.”
BScBA Program alumnus Patrick Lees on a ski trip to Koli

My name is Patrick Lees, and I work as a Commercial Manager for ABO Wind Oy, the Finnish subsidiary for a global wind and solar developer originally based in Germany. I am responsible for our financial administration and business development activities in the Finnish market.

What and when did you study at Aalto University School of Business?

I started studying in Mikkeli in the Bachelor’s Program in International Business in 2007 and graduated from the program in 2011. I continued my Master’s Degree in the Aalto University in the Information Service Management program while I did my minor studies in Creative Sustainability.

How’s your career path been?

During my studies in Aalto University, I was working in various positions to gain experience, finance my studies and try to understand my areas of interest better. Upon graduation, I was already on my way to start an internship at the Finnish Embassy in Mexico City, but only five days before starting the job I got an other job offer in the Energy Industry, and after a hard choice I decided to start a Graduate program for Prysmian Group, which in end brought me to Milan for a few years to work on Offshore Wind projects. Small details and timing can have a significant impact on your career, at least in my case, that’s why I urge not to be too fixed with your career plan!

How did you end up in your current position?

I ended working in the Renewables and Energy industry in 2014 with the Graduate Program with Prysmian so it was only natural for me to continue with Renewables once moving back to Finland in 2017. I ended up specializing in Wind Energy projects and eventually started working for a wind and solar developer in Helsinki in the spring of 2019. 

Learning the dynamics of groupwork has been an absolutely crucial take-away from my studies in Mikkeli.

Patrick Lees, BScBA Program alumnus

How would you describe the International Business Program?

The study curriculum in the International Business Programme is very different from what you might find in other business schools around the country. The three-week intensive courses with visiting professors ensured a continuous and steady workload around the year including a lot of groupwork, presentations and practical tasks. All in all, I believe this particular method of studying worked very well for me and the international aspect was something that always intrigued me as I also have a dual nationality.

In your opinion, what has been particularly important in your studies or what has been most useful regarding your career?

I believe that learning the dynamics of groupwork has been an absolutely crucial take-away from my studies in Mikkeli, where young students from different cultures and background were put together to work from day one. The most important aspects from my Master’s Degree studies were the very practical project courses I worked with in relation to sustainable farming in Mozambique and CO2 emission reduction potential calculations for Nokia, which most probably eventually led me to work with Renewables. 

BScBA Program alumnus Patrcik Lees

Did you work during your studies? What is your advice for students interested in working during their studies?

I was working part-time in product marketing at supermarket and events and as a primary school substitute teacher during my studies and worked for Hilti as a store manager when I was doing my thesis. I believe that if you have the motivation and time to do part-time work during your studies, it will not serve you any harm considering your future career. My only advice would be not to be too picky with your part-time work; any working experience is valuable both on a social and career perspective.

What is your advice for current BScBA students and recent graduates?

There’s only so much you can do in terms of planning your career too much ahead. Try and understand what it is that interests you and you will never know if some work might be interesting for you unless you try.

Share something memorable from the time when you were studying in Mikkeli.

I have a lot of warm memories from my times in Mikkeli, but I would probably pick our Mikkeli-summer in 2009 as an unforgettable experience with our small BABA-community. The warm summer days were a mix of Spanish studies, beach volley, outdoor games, and endless warm discussions

Find out more about Patrick's career path in LinkedIn!

Bachelor's Program in International Business, Aalto University

International Business, Bachelor (BScBA, Mikkeli) and Master of Science (Otaniemi) in Economics and Business Administration

The Bachelor’s Programme in International Business provides students with a comprehensive range of skills and knowledge to build, develop and lead companies on a global scale. A bachelor’s degree in business with an international focus opens up a wide variety of career opportunities across all industries and continents.

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