School of Business alumni story: Minna Kuusisto

Our Economics alumna Minna Kuusisto, who works as an Economist at Finnfund, has gained experience from banking, sustainable business consulting and development financing in her career, among other things. “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”.
School of Business alumna Minna Kuusisto

I am Minna Kuusisto, and I work as an economist at Finnfund. It is a state-owned development financier, which makes new investments worth over 200 million euros annually in businesses operating in Africa, Asia and Latin America. I studied economics at the School of Business and graduated in 2014 – not quite within the target time, but on the other hand, I started working full-time already during my studies.

Why did you want to study economics?

I was fascinated by the social science side of economics. I wanted to understand how the economy functions overall, and to better understand the different causal connections. I have always been interested in the big picture of things.

How’s your career path been?

During my studies, I worked part-time at Sp-Fund Management Company. I started at my first full-time job as a market analyst at the Bank of Finland in 2011. Before that, I had already been working there as a summer trainee. For over four years I was part of the monetary policy implementation of the euro area, and I had the opportunity to be at the vantage point of the central bank’s crisis measures. After that, I worked as an economist at Danske Bank, where I gained experience from the customer interface for the first time. After the years in banking, I wanted to do something different, and ended up in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland to develop a new investment-based instrument for development policy. Then, I worked as a consultant for sustainable business at Gaia for a bit over one year before I started at my current position at Finnfund.

Based on my own experience, I encourage to apply boldly to those positions that interest you.

Minna Kuusisto, School of Business alumna

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!

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Economics, Bachelor of Science (Economics and Business Administration) and Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration)

The Economics programme provides tools and knowledge to understand and explain current phenomena in the world from an economic perspective.

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Master's Programme in Economics

The Economics programme prepares students to structure and understand the world through in-depth economic expertise and strong analytical skills, combined with computation and data processing skills. It is meant for students who are fascinated by complex challenges such as climate change, inequality and innovation, and want to address these challenges in an analytical manner. Students have the unique opportunity to be part of Helsinki Graduate School of Economics, formed by Aalto University, Hanken School of Economics, and University of Helsinki, that aims to train the future generation of world-class economists.

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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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