School of Business alumna Oona Anttila: Internship was an important experience for my career

Our alumna Oona Anttila became interested in the themes of sustainable development already at the beginning of her studies, and later she applied for the multidisciplinary Creative Sustainability master’s programme. She currently works at the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Nairobi, Kenya.
Kauppakorkeakoulun alumni Oona Anttila
Oona Anttila, School of Business alumna.

Who are you? What did you study at the School of Business and elsewhere and when did you graduate?

I am Oona Anttila, and I hold a M.Sc. degree in Economics and Business Administration from Aalto University School of Business. I graduated in 2018 from the multidisciplinary Creative Sustainability master's programme. I completed my bachelor's degree at the Turku School of Economics with a major in international business and a minor in economic geography.

Why did you want to study in the Creative Sustainability master’s programme?

During my bachelor’s studies, I was very interested in sustainable development and wished to study more courses related to this topic. I knew I would like to work with sustainable development themes in the future, so I tried to find a master’s programme that suited me. I heard about the Creative Sustainability master’s programme for the first time from my supervisor at the time, and it sounded like a great next step for me. What inspired me in the programme was the multidisciplinarity, pragmatism, and criticism of the prevailing structures.

What has your career path been like?

My career path has not been the most straightforward, but all my work assignments have somehow been linked to societal issues. I have applied for jobs that interest me and made career choices intuitively. During my bachelor’s studies, I worked for an organization called Tikau, which supports the self-sufficiency of rural villages in India by carrying out development projects in direct collaboration with local artisans and NGOs. During my master's studies, I did an internship at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at the Permanent Mission of Finland in Geneva, after which I worked at Integrated Healthcare Design in business development. After graduation, I started at UNOPS, and after three years, I’m still on that path.

You work as a Partnerships Analyst at UNOPS, the United Nations Office for Project Services. How did you end up in your current position, what does UNOPS do, and what kind of work assignments do you have?

I ended up working at UNOPS through an EDUFI internship in the headquarters in Copenhagen, after which I applied for other positions in the organization. UNOPS is the United Nations Office for Project Services, which delivers about $ 2 billion a year in projects in more than 80 countries in the areas of development cooperation, humanitarian aid and peace and security. UNOPS operates mainly in fragile and conflict-affected countries where the needs are acute.

I am currently working as a Partnerships Analyst in the UNOPS Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, through the JPO Program of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The team I work for is responsible for developing projects and programs in Eastern and Southern Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania, Eritrea, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Uganda. My job includes developing new projects and programs, including the preparation of project proposals and budgets, and the establishment and development of partnership relations with actors in the region. Our projects are funded by partners such as the World Bank, the EU, the Global Fund, UNICEF and WHO.

Responding to complex challenges and developing solutions requires expertise from different fields.

Oona Anttila, School of Business alumna

How did studying at the School of Business prepare you for working life?

The multidisciplinary Creative Sustainability master’s programme encouraged to work with students from a variety of fields. Responding to complex challenges and developing solutions requires expertise from different fields and the ability to look at the challenges from many perspectives. In my current job, I work daily with experts from various fields and that is one of the most meaningful aspects of my work.

Assignments from various companies and organizations in the master’s courses taught useful skills in managing customer relationships and partnerships. In addition to this, they pushed me to learn better time management as well as develop tolerance for pressure. Self-confidence towards my own competence increased through assignments when I was able to combine theory with practice.

The master's programme also gave concrete tools and skills for group work, organizing workshops and managing service design processes.

You did an internship through the School of Business's internship support programme at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Finland in Switzerland. What kind of experience was it? What kind of tips would you give to business students who are interested in doing an internship in state organizations?

Although my internship lasted only three months, it was a very important experience for my career. My internship was in the trade policy team, so I focused specifically on the World Trade Organization (WTO). I got the chance to attend various meetings, negotiations, and events on which I wrote reports. I was particularly interested in trade and development issues, so I was able to follow closely the meetings of the WTO Committee on Trade and Development and the UNCTAD (The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development). During my internship, I learned a great deal about multilateral collaboration and diplomacy. My interest in the work of the UN was strengthened by the months I spent in Geneva. I warmly recommend business students, who are interested in international politics, to apply for an internship at a mission or embassy. You don’t have to know everything in advance when applying for an internship, the main thing is to be curious and interested in learning something new. I knew little about trade policy when I applied for the internship, but I had a great passion for learning and finding new perspectives on looking at the world.

What do you wish for your future career?

I want to continue working on complex global challenges. I hope that my work will be meaningful also to other people or to nature, instead of being meaningful just to myself. I want to do my part in ensuring that future generations are left with a fairer world in terms of the environment, human rights, and equality.

Find out more about Oona’s career path on LinkedIn

Master's Programme in Creative Sustainability - MSc in Economics and Business Administration

The Master’s Programme in Creative Sustainability (CS) provides you with the skills and knowledge to promote sustainable development through business. The linkages between business and sustainability are highly important in contemporary organizations, whether you wish to be a sustainability specialist in business or a management professional operating in some other field.

Creative Sustainability students gathered around a laptop

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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Internships - School of Business

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