Master's Programme in Information and Service Management is the most tech-savvy programme at the Aalto University School of Business. The ISM programme shapes students into future leaders of the digital era with a unique combination of leadership, business and technology. ISM provides students with in-depth expertise in developing, managing and leading data-heavy businesses, making graduates highly sought after in the job market.
School of Business Alumni story: Li Xu
Who are you? What and when did you study at Aalto University School of Business?
I am Li Xu, originally from Shanghai, China. I arrived Finland in 2005, and completed my 2 Master’s degrees: Master’s degree in Finance from the University of Vaasa and after that, Master’s degree in Information and Service Management from Aalto University School of Business. I started my Aalto journey in 2011 when I moved from Vaasa to Helsinki.
The ”highlight” of your studies in regards to employment? What has been important or useful during your studies?
The reason for applying for a second Master’s degree was mainly due to the job requirement: I was recruited by Lindström Oy as a Controller, and later I was in the Business Intelligence team, in charge of Lindström’s group data warehousing projects, the key user of BI tool and roll out to 24 subsidiaries countries. In this respect, the studies at Aalto provided me with the insight of contemporary BI technology trend.
In my studies at Aalto, I liked the most the guest lecturers from Finnish companies (e.g. Rovio, Sanoma, Qlikview), because they shared the real life business cases to the students with regards to BI implementation. In addition, the exchange period in Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Finance MBA) enhanced my finance and investment knowhow, and by studying in such an international, high level academic institution, my network was expanded. This was also the milestone linked to my current career point as a China Finance Director of Valio Oy.
Would you do something differently in your studies?
If I have had more energy and time in studying, I would have been more active in discussing with professors concerning research projects, in which I could participate (as I was previously working as a research assistant in the University of Vaasa). I would have liked to focus on the research field in Finance IT (Finland & China cooperation).
How did you end up working for Valio in China?
It was an awesome opportunity when I saw the job description from LinkedIn in 2018, and I applied for the job. I was fully convinced that I would be the one to be chosen by Valio, due to my background and with strong knowhow about both culture and business environment. My skillset was also ready – thanks to my ex-employer Lindström Oy, where I had worked for 8 years and had learnt a lot from different assignments. I had broad experience in internal audits, cross-border M&A project, DW&BI projects, and so forth.
Eventually, the dream came true and currently, I am working as China Finance Director as well as one of the board of directors sitting in both Valio Shanghai and Valio China legal entities.
What has been the most interesting part of your career so far?
Valio Group has high expectation on the growth of the Chinese business. B2B business has been existing in China for the past decades, and starting from 2018, Valio China strategy designed to grow their own brand and launch the consumer business in the market.
To some extent, it is a startup company and the most interesting part is to grow myself together with the business. Dairy market is growing strongly in China, and to introduce a new brand to Chinese consumers, lots of business and financial challenges will be encountered. However, I am prepared to face all the difficulties and concur them one by one together with my team.
Get to know Li Xu’s career path more closely on LinkedIn!