You work as an economist at Finnfund. How did you end up in your current position and what kind of work assignments and responsibilities do you have?
I had been interested in Finnfund as an employer for a long time already. I spent the fall 2019 in Nairobi while working as a consultant, and there I met Jaakko Kangasniemi, the CEO of Finnfund. They happened to have a new position at Finnfund, which suit my profile perfectly. At Finnfund, my responsibilities include assessing macroeconomic and political risks of our target countries and producing various country and market analyses. Based on my own experience, I encourage to apply boldly to those positions that interest you. Even if you would not instantly succeed in getting the job, showing your interest may be awarded later.
In your opinion, what has been particularly important in your studies or what has been most useful?
The economics studies are known to be quite theoretical. Although the courses mainly consisted of differential and integral calculus, on the other hand, the phenomena that were studied were familiar from everyday life: economic growth, employment, inflation.
Regarding my own employment, I think that the most beneficial aspects of my studies were the continuous challenging of oneself and learning to learn. Many courses were difficult, but I managed to go through them by cooperating with other students – we helped one another. So, if you can manage through the advanced macroeconomics courses, you can manage through anything.
Would you do something different in your studies?
I would put more effort to the first year’s basic courses, because with them you can already go a long way in the working life. On the other hand, the relevant knowledge and skills related to work can be achieved simply by doing the work, so it is never too late to learn. Furthermore, it is important that the theory of economics is taught at the School of Business, but the courses could involve even more case study method where theoretical knowledge is applied to business cases. Hopefully this is already happening.
What kind of advice would you give to students who are interested in sustainability or development work?
Tailoring your studies as well as hobbies and e.g. student association activities according to your own interests is certainly worth doing. The universities offer tremendous possibilities for that. For instance, I completed minor studies in African Studies at the University of Helsinki during my studies. For that, I would like to thank you Tuomas Välimäki, my former supervisor at the Bank of Finland, who allowed me to do Swahili language studies alongside with work. My advice is: be curious and network with those people whose career paths you find interesting, already during your study time. Almost everybody will be delighted by a coffee or lunch invitation.
Find out more about Minna’s career path in LinkedIn!