Economics is not only about GDP or fiscal policy. Studying economics offers a wide range of career opportunities both in the private and the public sector in Finland and abroad.
Each year, a majority of economics graduates of Aalto University end up working in corporations, big and small. One of them, Eeva Hietamäki, who graduated from Aalto in early 2018, started her career at Compass Lexecon, a USA-based economic consulting company. Eeva’s portfolio comprises especially mergers and cases with abuse of dominant position. She tells that data-managing and problem-solving skills are in a central position in her job, along with communicational skills, because complex models must be explained intelligibly to customers.
Naturally, not all jobs require this type of in-depth economic substance. Eero Vassinen, an Aalto alumnus, works as a digital strategist at Sanoma Media Finland. His responsibilities include increasing Sanoma’s market share in digital advertising, which is becoming ever more important in the rapidly changing media business. Eero tells that even though his day-to-day work doesn’t necessarily require any detailed models he studied at university, economics has given him a highly applicable and wide-ranging understanding of markets and the economy, which he has been able to take advantage of.
Overall, using both economic methods and understanding is a growing trend within Finnish businesses. Marko Terviö, professor at the Aalto University, points out that the use of economists is increasing within major Finnish corporations. In the United States companies might have entire teams of economists working for them, which is likely to become more common in Finland as well. Professor Terviö’s view is that that’s about to increase demand for economists as well as resources in education.
And not only the private sector, but also public institutions are in need of talented economists. It is well-recognised that an important reason behind the Helsinki Graduate School of Economics – a new economics unit bringing together three Helsinki-based universities to provide world-class education and research – was a concern over shortage of young, talented-enough macroeconomists.
One of them is Joonas Koukkunen, who works as an analyst at the Bank of Finland. His career started in 2012 when he got a summer job from the Bank. After that summer, he never returned to being a full-time student but instead was offered a new position.
Joonas compares economics and finance as credentials for getting work in a bank. He states: “never have I heard that somebody was turned down from a job because he had studied economics and not finance.” Career paths can be similar because financing is after all just an application of microeconomics.
All in all, studying economics can lead to a wide range of careers in almost any industry. Furthermore, economics is a great starting point to work anywhere in the world thanks to its universal nature. From Asian non-profits to London City, economists are needed to make sense of the world and the economy