Helmi Haakana, student
Created 19.3.2024
Updated 20.3.2024

Master's student Helmi Haakana knew already in upper secondary school that she wanted to work in the commercial sector. She studied business subjects as electives and eventually began studying economics at the University of Vaasa. Haakana, originally from Porvoo, came to LUT Business School through a transfer application.

“I wanted to transfer to Lappeenranta because I knew that here you can study both business and technology. That was a top priority for me,” Haakana says.

In addition to finance and economics, she has studied software engineering, which has proven useful both in her master's studies and in working life.

“In the financial sector, we work with a variety of systems, so technical expertise is of use. Thanks to my studies in software engineering, I also have basic knowledge of coding, which helps me with mathematical thinking and, for example, perceiving Excel functions and formulas with ease.”


Job-hunting is laborious – with or without a video CV

Haakana currently works as an analyst at management consultancy Alvarez & Marsal. She is also finishing her studies in the Master's Programme in Strategic Finance and Analytics at LUT Business School. Originally, she started at Alvarez & Marsal as a trainee. However, her process of finding a job was a bit unusual.

In spring 2022, Haakana was thinking about the upcoming hunt for a summer job. After consideration, she decided to publish a video CV on her LinkedIn account. Haakana had no previous experience in filming herself or combining a video with a CV. Luckily, there was plenty of instructional material online about both shooting a video and combining it with still material.

Making the video took Haakana a few days. However, the most difficult thing was not the technical implementation but committing to it.

“I was a bit nervous about the process, so I had to really decide that now I’m going to start. On the other hand, job-hunting is always painstaking. You must spend time on it, and it can be a nerve-racking experience. With the video CV, I kind of applied everywhere at once.”

The approach worked surprisingly well. The video quickly gathered hundreds of comments and Haakana received dozens of invitations for job interviews. Eventually, she was able to choose the job offer she liked the most.

It's good to remember that even jobs that are not a dream come true accumulate your skills and help you forward.

A tip for job-hunting: Make use of your strengths

Haakana still works for the same company that hired her then. Her team consults companies on restructuring, i.e. aims to improve the health and efficiency of companies in financial difficulties.

Haakana was not previously familiar with consulting related to restructuring, even though she knew about consulting work on a general level. However, her choice proved to be the right one, and she has not had to apply for a job since.

“I may have been lucky because my video started trending, but I've also consciously progressed towards a certain goal.”

She also recommends this to other students who are thinking about looking for a job.

“When looking for a job, you should head towards what you want to do. Of course, this is not always possible, and it may take a while before you find your dream job. However, it's good to remember that even jobs that are not a dream come true accumulate your skills and thus help you forward.”

She also recommends using your strengths already when looking for a job. For example, a person who is a natural speaker can perform to their advantage in a video application or by contacting companies directly.

“Contacting companies directly can also bring up job opportunities that are not yet open for applications, but for which one's skills are a perfect fit.”


The campus spirit is reflected in both friendships and studies

Haakana's studies at LUT are expected to end in autumn 2024. Because of work, she has already moved from Lappeenranta to Helsinki.

“The best thing about the Lappeenranta campus was the sense of community. Everyone studies on the same campus, which makes it easy to get to know students from different fields. My core group of friends includes, of course, business students, but also, for example, students of environmental engineering.”

The so-called Skinnarila spirit is perhaps also reflected in the university's other functions. Haakana especially praises student counselling, which has been of great help in integrating studies and work, both at the bachelor's and master's levels. The professors have also done their best to answer students' questions even if they have dealt with subjects outside the course in question.

“Especially the courses related to project management and overall project skills have proven useful. They have taught me how to approach and manage large entities without feeling overwhelmed.”

The emphasis on sustainability in LUT's study modules is also reflected in business studies. According to Haakana, the courses have included a lot of ESG-related elements that have provided a good basic knowledge of the subject. ESG refers to responsibility related to the environment, social responsibility, and governance.

“A lot of attention is paid to ESG these days. Even though it is not at the core of my own work, it comes up in essential things, such as reporting.”

Read next: