Master’s Programme in People Management and Organizational Development supports Heini Ynnilä’s journey from expert to leader

When archaeologist Heini Ynnilä realized that experts are not always the best leaders she decided to develop her leadership skills in a Master’s programme that is tailored for students who are enthusiastic about managing people and developing organisations
Heini working with other students

Why did you apply to the Master’s Programme in People Management and Organizational Development?  

Through my work, I have realised that subject specialists and experts are not automatically great leaders but leadership is something you need to have a keen interest in – a skill you need to learn and develop. And when I understood how important it is to be able to fluently work with colleagues and clients, I realised that I wanted to focus on people management. In the end, everything in business boils down to people and how people are managed makes such a big difference! 

Can you briefly introduce yourself?

My name is Heini Ynnilä and I originally come from a small Finnish village called Suomusjärvi. My background is in archaeology and I did a doctoral degree (DPhil in Archaeology) in Oxford where I lived for over 5 years. I was especially interested in Mediterranean culture and infrastructure, and I have conducted field work in Jordan in the ruins of Petra and in Italy in the ancient city of Pompei. 

I came back to Finland mainly due to family reasons and swapped the academia to a business environment. I have now been working at an architecture agency for several years. 

 What kind of work did dream about when you were young?  

History has always fascinated me. Actually, the place where I come from, the small village of Suomusjärvi, is quite famous for its archaeology and there is even a period in history called the Suomusjärvi culture. Although I don’t know exactly how much this influenced me, I got really interested in history and archaeology. 

Do studies here at Aalto differ in comparison to your previous study experience? 

Yes, they do. I highly appreciate the emphasis on applicability and real life understanding of the theories and concepts, which is characteristic for studies at Aalto. This approach is much more down to earth compared to my previous studies.  

I was also pleasantly surprised by the fact that many of the courses at the School of Business remind me of courses in social sciences. Social and environmental sustainability have always been very relevant to me both in my work and my studies. 

Do you have a place on the campus that you really enjoy and spend time at? 

I find the Aalto University Otaniemi campus area very interesting. It is a living and growing entity that has changed so much during the last few years. I have studied the campus area in my work, and I really appreciate its long history. My favourite part on campus is the former Architecture department area in the Undergraduate centre. It feels holy.  

What is the best thing about the Helsinki capital region and Otaniemi?  

The seaside. I bike to the campus from the Jätkäsaari district throughout the year and I always love riding along the shoreline.  

What do you want to do after you have graduated? Do you have a dream job? 

I want to combine my understanding of the built environment with people management skills and sustainability. What that means in practice, however, remains to be seen.   

People Management and Organizational Development, Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration)
School of Business students sitting

School of Business alumni stories

Here you can find School of Business alumni stories. Our alumni share their professional journeys and give advice and tips regarding working life. The stories have been sorted based on the alumni's majors. The newest publications are placed first in the major groups.

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