Success Story: Elsa James

Elsa James
Elsa James
Elsa James is an entrepreneurial-minded alumnus that started working for Rovio Entertainment Corporation as a social media trainee before having any educational background in that field. She now holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Administration from EBS Helsinki and is working as a marketing specialist at Rovio.

Name: Elsa James 

Graduation year: 2020

Study programme: Bachelor’s Degree in International Business Administration, 

specialising in Marketing and Communication

Workplace: Rovio Entertainment Corporation


First corporate job: In 2015, I wasn’t really in the best place. I had dropped out of art school, and was in the process of dropping out of computer engineering at the University of Turku. Then suddenly, my mother met her friend in a grocery store, who told my mother that she was working for Rovio and that it was a great place to work. She knew that I liked videogames, so she urged me to apply for their open positions. I ended up taking her advice and applied for six different trainee positions at Rovio that summer. Unfortunately, I got rejected from all the posts that would have made sense for me considering my educational background.  But then, surprisingly, I was asked to join a video interview for the position of Social Media Trainee. Without any studies in the field of marketing, I got accepted! They saw that I fitted their organization very well, as I was funny, knew how to draw and had a reasonable understanding of pop culture. In the summer traineeship, I worked with social media marketing, online moderation, and graphic design, learning lots about marketing and finding my passion for it.


After the summer, my contract ended, and I decided to quit computer engineering and move back in with my parents. The next day I got a message from a manager at Rovio, asking me to come for an interview for a project that he thought I would be a good fit. So the hard work I did during the traineeship paid off, and I managed to get a full-time position at Rovio! They had remembered my personality, how I took the initiative and helped others, as well as my quirkiness -- and those qualities are still pushing me forward in my career today and putting me into super interesting projects. For example, recently I was sent to the Cannes Film Festival to interview our actors of Angry Birds Movie 2, to make a series of them, bringing more visibility for Rovio. 


Current job description: I have now been working for Rovio over four years. I moved from Social Media Trainee to Marketing Trainee, and currently my title is Marketing Specialist. My primary responsibility is to take care of our social media channels, like Facebook and Instagram. I I also work with content creation, brand strategy, and corporate social responsibility. I have really enjoyed working with our brand and CSR, being able to focus on what it is that our company stands for. 


Dream job: There are so many things that I would like to do so I cannot just name one.  In positions in marketing, I could work as a Marketing Manager or Brand Strategist. At the time, I only get to manage a team occasionally, but I would like to learn more about how to lead people. However, I mostly work for directions, not certain positions. I enjoy making people happy, and I believe that working in entertainment, perhaps as a talk show host would suit me. Having a positive impact and bringing benefit to other people is truly important to me.


Why I chose to study at EBS: When I was 25, I finally got diagnosed with ADHD. Until that point in life, I had been struggling with meeting my standards and fitting in with the other kids. And for me studying in English was essential as I find it so much easier to learn in English than in Finnish as my dad is Canadian and I’ve been living most of my childhood abroad; I was born in England and later moved to live in Texas.  Thus, I spent time thinking about where I would like to do my Bachelor as I wanted to gain a degree not to close any doors in life. During my time at Rovio, I had also found my interest in marketing, so I wanted to improve my knowledge in that field.

I heard about EBS for the first time from my friend who had studied there. What I mostly appreciated hearing was that the studies were conducted part-time and taught in English. EBS was accessible to me considering my schedule working full-time, so studying part-time enabled me to switch my focus point easily from studies to work. It also didn’t hurt for the campus to be located close by where I lived. 


The most important takeaways from EBS: ‘’A good PowerPoint can take you anywhere.’’ Through all the presentations I held, I learned to sell my ideas as well as have and develop my own opinions. I was lucky to have a job in marketing already during studies, as I was able to use all the theoretical knowledge from the university in the usable form at my work. Even today, I benefit from my educationas my urge to move towards a leading position is supported with all the leadership courses that we had at EBS. Those skills can help me become a better leader and help me to assist my colleagues in performing better and reaching their goals.


Personal motto

“Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” - Robert Schuller

“Make your mistakes into learning opportunities.” - Elsa James

‘’Done is better than perfect.’’ - Ben Barry


Alumni career advice: Find people around you that support you, and be tenacious and keep trying, especially when life seems to be against you, because practice makes perfect. And finally, remember to celebrate your accomplishments.