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Our Kauppis Memory: It's not November without the ARENA fair

‘Many wonderful interns have been of great help in our work.’
Aalto BIZ 110, Annemari Rautio and Tanja Makkonen
Photo: Aalto University / Anni Hanén

To celebrate the School of Business 110 years this year we ask former and current members of the School of Business community (especially faculty and staff) to share their memories of the School. These memories will comprise the ‘My Kauppis Memory’ or ‘Our Kauppis Memory’ series of stories.

We started working in the Career Services of the School of Business in autumn 2007, only a few weeks apart. The ARENA career fair was held soon after both of us had started, so there was hustle and bustle from the get-go. We wonder if our simultaneous arrival at the Career Services of the School of Business was the reason why the members of the community often confused us with each other. 😊

We have many fun memories of organising the ARENA career fair over the years. The organising itself was always a great deal of work, although few people understand how early many decision are made and actual steps are taken. We also got our hands dirty in building the fair, hanging posters all over the main building, carrying fair related stuff through the building; there was all kinds of things to prepare. You couldn't use your everyday fasteners on protected walls, so many posters and signs fell on the floor on the same evening we had put them up. We hanged some of them up for the third time on the morning of the fair. One year a company representative had brought their freezer full of ice cream ‘today’, even thought we had agreed on ‘tomorrow’, which caused some confusion, too. 

Last minute changes 

The organisations involved and their internal changes always added their own flavour to the already delicious soup. We have seen massive co-determination announcements only weeks before the event as well as mergers and name changes from exhibitors, not to mention organisations that come along at the last minute. One time, a company officially changed its name just a few weeks before the fair. That was too late for the fair guide, which had their old name and brand, but they presented themselves with new signs at the fair. That's something for the students to puzzle over. Sometimes we received new brand materials on time for the fair guide, but they had to be kept strictly secret until the guide was published. 

Annemari (Rautio) says that the most memorable fair trade challenge was when the entire assembly hall went black! I think it was the first fair that Tanja (Makkonen) and I were involved in. Luckily, it was only a human error: someone had unplugged the wire 😊.

Electricity is also related to another unusual incident, but at that time, we were already in Otaniemi. We organised a training for students on how to submit a CV and job application in the Väre building (of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture), when nearly the whole campus suddenly went dark. Fortunately, I had organised the training for quite a few times before, so we succeeded reasonably well without electronic aids. And luckily, the classroom had many windows that offered some natural light, so we didn’t have to train them in the dark, Annemari says.

Warm exhibition atmosphere and wonderful interns

The fairs have always been cosy and the atmosphere warm with all the participants. At times, we were anxious to see whether there would be any students as the forecast had promised a snowstorm for the fair day, but people had waded through snow to get there, and a happy hum of conversation filled the Töölö main building. I also look back fondly at fun moments with students and business representatives in After ARENA. You see, we had a tradition to end the actual fair day with an informal part and meet at the Proffa restaurant to relax. One particular rendition of Aikuinen nainen (‘An adult woman’ by Paula Koivuniemi) comes to mind... 😉, Tanja says.

Our whole time at the School of Business team has been filled with many wonderful interns and ARENA coordinators, who have been students of the School of Business. Both of us have remained ‘25-years-old’ thanks to the young company 😉. Many interns and coordinators are still part of our network, and it is wonderful to see them from time to time, now also in our alumni activities.

Tanja explains that the students are at the centre of her work. I do this for them and being able to help is the most meaningful part of the job. I remember a time when a student we had helped with job applications and interview exercises later appeared on the office door with a bag full of sweet buns. The student had gotten the job they had applied for and brought us a bag of buns. We were amazed yet grateful, and the buns were naturally delicious. But they didn’t need to bring us buns; helping is our job that we really enjoy.

Tanja Makkonen
Senior Manager, Career Services

Annemari Rautio
Senior Manager, Corporate Relations

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