EBS Helsinki Alumnus Heikki Ojala: “I wouldn’t be where I am right now without EBS.”

Heikki Ojala
Heikki Ojala
2021 marks the 10th date of establishing Estonian Business School’s Helsinki campus. We will introduce you EBS Helsinki Alumni in the next few months; April was dedicated to the graduates of 2014, May to the graduates of 2015. Let’s get to know their stories and how EBS and its community has changed their lives.

Name: Heikki Ojala
Graduation Year: 2015 BA, 2019 MA
Study Programme: IntBBA with specialization in finance and accounting, specialization in MA organizational change and leadership
Workplace: KPMG Finland
What did make you choose to study at EBS Helsinki? Where did you hear about the study possibilities?
I’m not entirely sure from where I heard about EBS the first time. Right after high school I tried to get into Aalto University, but did not get in. During this time, several Finnish people, including some of my friends, had decided to study abroad in Tallinn. I had heard good things about EBS and student life in Tallinn, but I wasn’t yet sure if I wanted to study in Tallinn as a full-time student. However, after some research I found out that EBS Helsinki had been established recently and they offered a finance program. I always knew I wanted to work in finance, so I decided to apply.
How has studying in EBS changed your life?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how EBS changed my life. Of course, I wouldn’t be where I am right now without EBS as a university degree is a requirement everywhere, especially in finance. I got my current job because I wrote my bachelor’s thesis on transfer pricing and later applied to a trainee position in the transfer pricing team of KPMG.
EBS also taught me many things that I can utilize at work. For example how to do proper research, how to work well in groups and especially how to manage my time. The latter is especially useful, because in our line of work there are usually several ongoing projects at once, and you have to be able to manage your time effectively.
Did you work during your studies?
I was working for KPMG while I was doing my master’s studies. It is of course difficult, especially during busy season, but EBS Helsinki was perfect in a way that the studies were held mostly bi-weekly from Thursday to Saturday. That way the effect on work was quite minimal, but of course you have to find time to do the assignments for the classes. Studying while working full time is a challenge, but the fact that EBS Helsinki offers a program like this is definitely a huge plus. It teaches you to better manage your time.
What was your first corporate job? Did you start working in the field that you were studying? Was it easy or difficult to find a job in your speciality?
I got my current job after graduating from the Bachelor’s program. I wrote my thesis on transfer pricing and after graduating applied to a trainee position in the transfer pricing team in KPMG. After close to five years, I’m still working there and have really enjoyed my time. I’m not sure how difficult it is to get a job in the field, but I feel that EBS gave great prerequisites to work in finance and I don’t see why there would be any obstacles in finding a job in the field. In addition, graduating from EBS offers excellent opportunities to work abroad, which is of course extremely valued today.
Where do you work and what is your position at the moment?
I work in KPMG Finland as an assistant manager. I work in the International Tax team where I have been 5 years this year. My duties mostly include preparing economic analyses and benchmark studies for various clients, ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.
What is your future dream? How do you see your future career?
I would still like to work abroad at least for a short while. I was in an office exchange program in Tokyo early 2020, but unfortunately corona changed the plans a bit and the trip was cut short. Nevertheless, I managed to spend some time there and thoroughly enjoyed my time. Therefore, I’d like to try it out again once things get better.
Tell us about your student life in EBS Helsinki – were you active also in HEBS (EBS Helsinki Student Organization)? How active is the EBS alumni network, and how much benefit do you get from it for your career?
The student life was amazing. I met some of the best people there, with whom I still talk today, both in bachelor’s and master’s level. When I joined, the HEBS wasn’t quite as active as it is today, but I was briefly part of it while I was studying. I really hope that I can join some of the 10 years celebration events this year and get to see some familiar faces there.
What would be your alumni career advice?
Don’t give up on your studies. Even though it sometimes feels difficult and tiring, keep at it. Later you’ll see that student life is probably among the best time in your life, which you will always remember. You will make both great friends and great memories.
Read here also the interview with EBS Helsinki Alumna Paula Kuusipalo-Määttä who graduated in 2014. In June, we will meet Alumni from the year 2016. It will be a great journey to look forward to and mark our anniversary year!