Tell us about your career
After graduation, I worked for the summer at Amer Tobacco’s accounting department. In the fall, I sailed off to the United States for an AIESEC internship at Jenifer House, a small mail order company in Massachusetts. While visiting friends in New York City, I met a young man who would become my husband the following year.
After moving to New York City in 1970, the beginning of my work life was challenging. This was long before Nokia and Finland’s global ”best country” reputation; people hardly knew where Finland was, let alone the Helsinki School of Economics. My marketing and business law majors were a hard sell, but my accounting minor worked. I was hired as Royalty Clerk for Dell Publishing Company, verifying royalty payments to contract terms. After a few months, I got a little better job as Senior Accounting Clerk for Hertz Rent-A-Truck, processing sales tax payments to cities all over the US.
My first major career turning point came when I was accepted into the MBA program at Baruch College, the business school of the City University of New York. This legitimized my BBA in the eyes of recruiters, and I was hired by a huge mail order company, Columbia Record Club, as Accounting Supervisor. I was now an employee of CBS, a conglomerate that, in addition to TV stations and record labels, also owned publishing companies.
I stayed at CBS for 12 years, moving from the record club division to Manager of Business Planning in the book publishing division, to Director of Operation for the magazine group’s mail order department, to General Manager for couple of multi-million circulation national magazines, to Director of Acquisitions for the entire magazine publishing division. At CBS, I learned about magazine start-ups and mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
Second big turning point came in 1985, as CBS sold the magazine group and I left the company to become Chief Financial Officer for Communication International, a publisher of regional and national magazines in the United States, and inflight magazines in the Middle East. Over the next eight years, we bought and sold a number of media companies, until the owner semi-retired.
In 1993, many different strands of my career came together as I started my own publishing consulting business, specializing on regional media, magazine start-ups and M&A. Over the next 22 years until my retirement, I consulted with numerous national and regional publishers and found a special niche in conducting financial standards surveys for various regional publishers associations.
As I graduated from Kauppakorkeakoulu (HSE) at the age of 21, I could not have expected in my wildest dreams that I would end my career as a nationally recognized expert in regional publishing – in the United States! Neither would I have guessed that my accounting classes were the stepping stone that got my career started. Another surprise looking back is how a wide variety of random work experiences proved important years later, for example, how my AIESEC internship’s mail order experience paid off many times.
Obviously, English language skills were important, but I also found that HSE gave me a solid foundation in business management concepts and theories for my MBA studies.
What inspired you to donate to the School of Business?
Living in the United States, I am already used to donating to my and my children’s universities. I wanted likewise to show my appreciation to the HSE and support its mission.
Your greetings to the 110-year-old Kauppis
Keep up the good work! I have always been proud to say that I am a graduate of the best business school in Finland.
Your greetings to the current Kauppis students
Look for varied experiences; don’t silo too early. You’ll never know which little detail in your background moves your resume to the top of the pile.
Our warmest thanks to you Seija for supporting the School of Business and sharing your amazing story with us!