Alexandra Valtanen, alumni in Business and Technology, tells about her studies and career
Sustainability has always been important to me. However, when I was doing my BSc in Environmental Engineering, we were constantly told how the business world inhibits sustainable development. Such solutions are often considered too costly, a claim I never took for granted. As a result, I wanted to learn more to conquer the controversy between environmental and economic sustainability. To do this, I needed to study business. Hence, I applied to Master’s Programme in Business and Technology (B&T) and I have not regretted this decision.
B&T really has changed the way I think. As an engineer, I was used to the idea that there is one best or most optimal solution. However, the management world is much more complicated; with smart managerial decisions, the second or even the third-best technology can win the game and vice versa. I also learnt to look at the customer benefits in monetary terms. Eliminating hazardous chemicals and waste with new technologies, for example, often helps save money. When the cost reduction potential of a new green technology is shown elegantly to the customers, the technology will diffuse much faster.
After my first year as a B&T student I was offered a logistics & procurement trainee position in a large Finnish industrial company providing solutions for process industry. The company’s offerings enable more effective heat recovery, hence enhancing customers’ operations. At the same time, one focus area in their R&D is to ensure that the offerings remain attractive in terms of price. When I started my work in the company, I was really excited to see such a mindset in action!
Even as a logistics trainee, I noticed how I was able to improve the environmental sustainability – and bring cost savings at the same time. For example, by optimizing shipment plans, it is possible to choose a more ecological shipment mode, while reducing costs by decreasing the number of individual shipments. It was really empowering to see that environmental and economic sustainability can support each other.
After the summer job, I got offered a thesis position and being trained for a position in technical sales support. All my colleagues specializing product engineering and project sales have some environmental technology background. I get really inspired watching them change their customers’ mindset towards being more sustainable; my colleagues in the sales help customers to design and order more environmental-friendly solutions that, at the same time, bring financial benefits to them. That is what I wish to do in the future, too!
If you want to widen your horizons, explore the world of business & technology and likely end up in an interesting managerial position, B&T is the right choice for you.