How did studying at the School of Business prepare you for working life?
I gained a strong and diverse foundation for working life from the School of Business. In particular, the master’s studies’ case assignments and the Capstone course, which allowed my group to do a very interesting consulting project, provided opportunities to try out my own skills in practice. In addition, especially in auditing work and in my current job, the learnings from the School of Business have been invaluable. While studying at Aalto, my pressure tolerance and problem-solving skills developed considerably as well as my knowledge on business in general. These skills and knowledge are very useful in any kind of work.
You currently work as a Consultant and Venture Analyst at Verona International Oy. How did you end up in your current job? What kind of assignments do you have?
Towards the end of my studies, I became even more certain that consulting is the direction I want to take next in my career. In particular, the capstone course, which links the master’s degree together, and where we solve real-life company cases, reinforced my feeling, and on the other hand, I found that I also have a lot to offer in the consulting area. Our capstone course group was awarded as the best group on the course - the Capstone Group of the Year - and encouraged by this, I went through various work possibilities and found Verona International. After getting to know the company, I had a strong feeling that that’s where I want to work and that I belong to that community.
I made an open application, and after active contacting, I got an interview, after which the recruitment process included a case assignment, its presentation, and a follow-up interview as well as suitability tests. To my delight, I got the job and started as a consultant in Verona in the spring of 2021. I have enjoyed my work immensely. The end of my studies and my graduation were a difficult place for me, as school has always been a hugely important thing to me. Fortunately, I can say that my current job offers me exactly the things that I enjoyed most in school too: I get to learn something new every day, study all kinds of phenomena and constantly challenge myself. In addition, we have a wonderful work community where my colleagues are the best. My job is also my hobby and I often find myself researching work-related things in my spare time.
The consulting assignments I have been involved in have been strategy processes and assignments related to business transformation. These have included operational environment analyses, assistance in the various stages of strategy work, as well as more concrete development work. In addition to consulting, an increasing proportion of my working time consists of preparing venture analyzes and assisting in them at various stages. My numerical skills and a very analytical way of thinking fit this well and this is especially my cup of tea!
Your work includes presentations, customer meetings and networking. What tips would you give to the current students of the School of Business in developing skills needed in these areas?
I think that performing and public speaking are skills that can be practiced and developed. Some people have a more natural ability to perform, while others have to practice it quite enormously. In addition, the situations, where public performing or speaking is needed, vary a lot; in certain situations, performing can be very easy for you, while in another situation it can be really challenging. Personally, I have been performing in front of other people since childhood in music classes, gymnastics, and dance hobbies, and later especially in work assignments that include representing. So, I have been able to practice my performance skills quite a lot and always enjoyed it.
My tip for students is to trust yourself and remember that ‘practice will make you a master’. In terms of performing or public speaking as well as any other skill, I think that only through practice can one learn. This includes wonderful comfort: you do not have to know everything right away and, on the other hand, failures are part of learning. ‘Attitude Matters’ is my second motto that guides everything I do. I take a lot of interest in things I don’t know yet or have experienced failure, and in my current job, for example, I’ve done things I didn’t even know I could do. I want to encourage all students to trust their own abilities and follow their own interests without fear of failure or limiting what they do because of their level of competence.
There is a lot of talk about networking, and social skills as well as the ability to make trust-based contacts are very important skills especially in knowledge work. On the other hand, what kind of contacts the network consists of is even more important than the amount of them, because even one good contact can go a long way. Activity and interest in other people help here, and I encourage students to seek out situations where they can discuss topics of interest to themselves with different people. For me, networking has been a huge benefit already during my career so far, because apart from my current job, I have been able to get into the recruitment processes of my previous jobs often through my contacts.
Did you use Aalto University or School of Business Career Services during your studies, or did you participate in recruitment fairs? Your tips for students to attend recruitment fairs?
During my studies, I browsed Aalto's career pages and job vacancies for School of Business students, but I did not use these services that much because I already had networks and contacts in the places I wanted to get to work. Later, I have been representing my employers at the Arena fair (now called the Aalto Talent Expo), and I recommend every student to take advantage of these opportunities. No matter what your own direction and situation is, you can get new ideas through Career Services and recruitment fairs, and at least new important contacts.
What do you expect from the future?
I will continue to follow my heart and interests fearlessly. In the future, I look forward to being able to continue to do things that interest me. I also look forward to an increasingly significant role and growing responsibility in various areas at my work, and I want to constantly learn new things and develop both as a person and as an expert.
I have also considered postgraduate studies, such as doctoral studies or board of directors training, the latter of which I intend to complete in the near future. I don’t want to make very precise plans; I try to enjoy this moment and do exactly the things I really like. I want to keep my childish enthusiasm in what I do, because I believe that enthusiasm and playfulness nurture creativity, which in turn allows for the best results.
Get to know Iines’s career path more closely on LinkedIn!