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Noora Launonen V2

Meet Noora Launonen, a courageous and curious Junior Product Specialist at Evli. Noora’s story of beginning her professional journey illustrates how an open attitude and an eagerness to absorb new knowledge can make a significant impact right from the outset of one's professional path. Her journey demonstrates the possibility of finding a rewarding career while remaining true to one's values and beliefs. Her insights can encourage and guide others to embrace their future careers with a fearless attitude. 

Finding the courage to self-educate 

When Noora completed her Master's degree in Social Sciences, majoring in Economics, in the summer of 2022, she was still fairly new to the business world.

In the final phase of my studies, I gained experience from an internship at Evli’s subsidiary Aurator Asset Management Ltd. During that internship, I took a liking to the organizational culture at Evli and started dreaming about landing a position at Evli after graduation.

When the opportunity for a Data Analyst role at Evli opened up around her graduation, Noora chose to embrace the challenge.  

"The role required proficiency in multiple coding languages. I took up quite a challenge since during my studies I had only learned to code with one language. Nevertheless, I still applied and got the job. I then learned these necessary coding languages independently while on the job.

Drawing from her experience, Noora emphasizes that adapting to a new role is not about having perfect knowledge upfront, but rather about possessing an active approach and the willingness to self-educate.

It was a significant step out of my comfort zone but worth it. Naturally, you must have a genuine interest in acquiring the necessary skills. However, it's important to remember that with sufficient motivation, meeting every single criterion in the job-seeking process is not always essential.

“When transitioning from my studies to the professional world, I felt pressure to know and master everything immediately. I was afraid of failing.”

Despite Noora's courageous decision to apply for the Data Analyst position, she had to confront certain fears as she transitioned into her professional life.

I tend to lean towards perfectionism. When transitioning from my studies to the professional world, I felt pressure to know and master everything immediately. I was afraid of failing.

Perfectionism is a common sentiment among students and young professionals, especially when venturing into their first job. As Noora discovered, this can lead to self-imposed pressure to excel and a pervasive fear of failure. 

However, I quickly came to understand that failures are a natural part of the journey and serve as valuable opportunities for growth. Moreover, I recognized that the workplace is actually a learning environment, where the foundational knowledge from my studies could be expanded upon.” 

Aligning career with aspirations 

A few months back, Noora moved on to a new position at Evli and she now works as a Junior Product Specialist.

"In my current role, I focus on our mutual funds, commonly known as traditional funds, which encompass both fixed income and equity funds. I am now specializing in these areas."

Noora finds that her new current position aligns well with her career aspirations. One of the things she appreciates is how the job parallels her academic background in economics, particularly the problem-solving aspects.  

My economics studies were very problem-solving oriented. I get a good feeling when I have a problem and I can solve it. This sense of accomplishment is mirrored in my current position, where I encounter and resolve challenges regularly."

She also believes that the rewarding aspect of her job also stems from regularly engaging with new knowledge and the dynamic nature of staying informed.

In this role, closely following the stock market and keeping up with current news is crucial and rewarding.

Noora considers herself fortunate to have secured a position in a workplace she enjoys working at right after graduation. In light of recent discussions on the increasing prevalence of burnout among youth and especially students, there is a growing expectation for future employers to cultivate genuinely positive workplaces that uphold flexibility and tolerance.

Noora offers insightful advice for young individuals and students seeking such supportive work environments. 

"Securing a job at a company that you truly appreciate is entirely possible, so it's worth the effort to pursue. While personal motivation and passion for the field are essential, evaluating a company's values and observing its employees can be very telling. For instance, a strong indicator of a positive workplace is when you notice employees have sustained long-term careers there."

“It is important to have self-compassion and not overcommit professionally. No one benefits from you burning out.”

Work-life balance is also an important factor in the viability of future workplaces. Noora discusses her own methods for achieving balance in her life.

There's no one-size-fits-all method for maintaining a good work-life balance, even though I wish there was one. What works for me is enforcing a strict division between work and personal time. It is important to have self-compassion and not overcommit professionally. No one benefits from you burning out.

She condenses her advice into a single, memorable guideline:

Learn your limits and act firmly within them.” 

Noora appreciates a good balance in her life. In her free time, she enjoys doing sports, reading, and traveling. 

Meaning from mentoring and continuous learning 

For everyone charting their professional paths, Noora is eager to share her positive experiences with mentorship, having benefited from being both a mentor and a mentee. She believes that these interactions have been valuable and encourages everyone to seek these types of opportunities.  

My first experience in mentorships was with the Women’s Career Society, taking on the role of a mentor. That initial involvement sparked a series of ideas, prompting me to join Evli’s in-house mentoring program. There, I was fortunate to have Hans-Kristian Sjöholm as my first and current mentor."

Noora acknowledges that the thought of seeking mentorship can be daunting, particularly when unsure about what it entails.

"I initially wondered whether I could offer anything valuable to my mentor or if I might just be taking up their time. However, the engaging discussions we've had dispelled those doubts. I would urge everyone to seek out mentorship; it's a mutually enriching experience that can offer knowledge and growth to both mentor and mentee."

“It's crucial to recognize that your education doesn't stop once you enter the workplace; ongoing learning is essential.”

In addition to mentoring, Noora wants to share tips on other things that can inspire and give meaning to everyone for their future careers. The first tip is related to making a hobby out of your future potential career already during your studies.

For those considering a career in finance, Noora offers some additional tips.

"It's crucial to recognize that your education doesn't stop once you enter the workplace; ongoing learning is essential. For instance, artificial intelligence wasn't a major topic during my academic studies, yet I find it imperative to understand and utilize it in my current role."

Noora's philosophy is well illustrated in her closing remark:

It's always worth bravely trying and learning new things. It's a sure way to move forward.” 


Text: Vilma Paksuniemi

Original article published in Women's Career Society's blog.

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