Behind the scenes

The last moments of the reign of Aalto ISM’s 2018 board are at hand. The annual general meeting of Aalto ISM, i.e. elections of the new board will be held on December 5th. Thus, it’s about time we shed a bit of light on our tasks and responsibilities, so that you can make an educated estimation of which role would fit you best when you apply for the board.

My name is Emma Falck. I have been serving as one of two corporate & alumni representatives – along with Juuso Kivinen – in this year’s board. Recently, we’ve gotten some questions regarding the board and I thought I’d take this chance to answer those questions. Don’t worry, this post will not (only) be about brainwashing you to join the board. We also want to reflect a bit on the past year and tell you what’s been up behind the scenes.

A year in the board

Joining the board was not a part of my plans until the evening of the elections. In fact, the same applied to quite a few of us. Some had thought of a different role than where they ended up. Some didn’t have a preference at all. Seven of us started our ISM journeys only last fall, having earlier studied somewhere else and barely knowing what Aalto ISM (then KY-Piste) was about during the evening of the elections. Maria and Sini were members of the previous board and Juho and Juuso were finishing their BSc degrees in Business Technology (the former name of the BSc degree offered by the Department of Information and Service Management). So, we had quite a mix of backgrounds.

What all of us did have in common was a vague feeling that doing something impactful for our fellow students and for ourselves within the domain of our studies would surely be fun and rewarding. Aalto ISM became our choice for pursuing this gut feeling.

We quickly turned into a group of friends who spent some of their free time working towards a common goal: enhancing the ISM community. We had a fantastic starting position for the year. Firstly, the brand renewal from KY-Piste to Aalto ISM had just been completed. This significantly eased marketing the association internally and externally. Secondly, the interest from companies towards business students with a tech understanding was – and continues to be – high.

The spring was relatively calm. We established ourselves and our critical networks, organized Career Evening, Columbia Road excursion, After Exam and Mursuinfo. We kickstarted planning the fall early on, which has paid off: the past few months have been awesome as we’ve gotten to reap the benefits of hard work in the spring and summer. In September we hosted two opening parties: Start18 for the new BSc ISM students with McKinsey & Company and Grand Opening for the new MSc student with eCraft Business Insight. We got to fly a bunch students to Dublin where we visited Oracle, Salesforce and Google.

We have also organized a record number of successful excursions together with our partners. At the time of writing eCraft BI, aTalent Recruiting, Accenture and Smartly.io excursions are already behind us while two still remain: RELEX and McKinsey & Company, both of which were filled in 1-2 days. In addition, we are still to host two larger events: Novemberfest, which is making a comeback after two years, and the already mentioned Annual general meeting/Christmas party. The board for the year 2019 will be elected in the latter one and we truly hope to see many of you there.

Having so many of you – both old and new faces – take part in our events, to the extent that many of them have had a waiting list, has been extremely rewarding. On behalf of the board I’d like to express my sincere thanks to all of you who have joined our events.

What to expect

Now, I won’t lie and say that the year has been like a walk in the park throughout. At times we’ve gotten on each others nerves or some have been less active than others. That’s when volunteering can get a bit rough, but also when you learn most – about yourself, about understanding others’ perspectives and about teamwork – and when you actually develop. Facing a challenge and overcoming it is after all more rewarding than smooth sailing.

All in all, being in the board of a subject club has been a very useful experience. In addition to the soft skills which we’ve developed and the friendships we’ve forged, we’ve expanded our professional networks and gained a more holistic understanding of the employers in the field.

The popularity of the club among ISM students is high and as already said, companies are eager to meet with ISM students. Although our club was founded in 2007, much remains to be done in developing our operations in the three core sectors – ISM community, relations to the faculty and relations to our future employers – as well as the support functions. This is IMO the most exciting part of being in the board. You truly get to leave a mark: you will not be heavily restricted by traditions (unless you want to), but get to largely influence how the year will look like.

For all these reasons and the ones which I forgot to mention, joining Aalto ISM’s board is a good alternative for any ISM student even mildly interested in taking on an extracurricular activity.

Before deep-diving into our roles I’d like to leave you with two pieces of advice: 1) keep your mind open and don’t fall to pray of prejudice and 2) don’t fear a challenge.

Aalto ISM board 2018

Currently, the maximum number of board members is ten. Three positions have to be filled during the annual meeting according to the association’s rules: Chairman, Vice Chairman and Treasurer. The others can be organized more freely. Of course, everyone helps each other out and we often work in pairs or small groups. In addition, there will always be tasks which do not fall directly within the scope of any specific role. The roles can also change!

Let’s look at the 1. Responsibilities, 2. Common tasks, 3. Useful traits of the roles and 4. Some personal benefits of being in the board.

Chairman – Sippo Rossi
1. Oversees the work of the board and represents the association in both formal and informal events, meetings.
2. Checking up with board members, assisting in daily tasks, attends meetings by KY and AYY. The chairperson also belongs to AYY’s Neuvosto which consists of all special status associations chairs and meets roughly once or twice a month.
3. Determination, commitment and people skills.
4. “I’ve established connections within Aalto ISM but also outside, to other clubs and guilds.”
Vice Chairman – Aigerim Nukenova
1. Serves as the right hand of the chair and organizes the annual study trip.
2. Checking up with board members, assisting in daily tasks, filling in for the chairman when necessary, reserving accommodation and planning visits of the study trip. In addition, VC assists with organizing events, e.g, contacting venues when needed, and works in close collaboration with the event coordinator. VC is expected to be ready to participate in meetings with company representatives and represent the association otherwise.
3. Determination, commitment, organizational and people skills.
4. “Hands-on organizational experience with the board and particularly organizing the study trip supported me in getting a summer job in Finland. Also, experience with the board helped me to become comfortable with contacting people and improve at public speaking.”
Treasurer – Isa Hietasalo
1. Handles Aalto ISM’s financial matters
2. Invoicing, paying bills, bookkeeping, planning budgets, writing financial statements at the end of the year.
3. Excellent eye for detail, precision and commitment.
4. “I’ve learned in practice about bookkeeping and accounting which has felt highly useful.”
Academic Affairs Coordinator – Iiro Rantanen
1. Represents ISM students towards the faculty as a halloped and a board member of Aalto ISM.
2. Talking with the faculty on a regular basis, inviting them to Aalto ISM’s event, ensuring that the students’ voices are heard at development meetings.
3. Patience and persistence and a passion towards student advocacy and ISM.
4. “I’ve met with lots of new, interesting people who I would not have met with otherwise.”
Corporate & Alumni Relations – Emma Falck and Juuso Kivinen
1. Establishes and maintains relationships with new and old partners, increases employer awareness about ISM students and facilitates meaningful encounters between the two.
2. Sending emails, negotiating partnership deals, phone calls, posting job adverts, visiting companies, ideating on events, drafting agenda of events, marketing events.
3. Good organizational skills and a highly proactive take. This year was the first time when Aalto ISM had two corporate relations representatives. We divided our tasks on the go and covered for each other when necessary
4. E: “Improving the board’s operations has been fun and learning to balance between different stakeholders to find the optimal solution has been useful. Of course all the nice memories we’ve gathered as a group are invaluable.” J: “I’ve gotten hands on experience in being an account manager. Being in the board has also brought a lot of joy into my life :)”
Communications – Juho Ylimartimo
1. Keeps students of Aalto ISM’s community informed on Aalto ISM related matters.
2. Creating marketing materials and Facebook pages for events, writing newsletters, social media posts and being the expert on Aalto ISM’s brand guideline.
3. Creativity, attention to detail and persistence.
4. “I’ve learned to create content for various occasions in a short period of time without prior knowledge.”
Event Coordinator – Jesse Rajala
1. Organizes Aalto ISM’s core internal events, e.g. Novemberfest.
2. Writing emails, phonecalls, reserving premises, catering, planning the program and agenda for events, marketing events and handling signups for events.
3. Good organizational skills and a highly proactive take.
4. “I’ve gotten to build real networks within companies in a way which would not have been possible outside the club.”
Senior Advisor – Maria Agerskov (Chairman 2017) and Sini Muttonen (Vice Chairman 2017)
1. Advises other board members based on learnings from previous years.

Let us know about your intentions on applying to the board by submitting your response to this form. If you still have doubts about joining or would like to have more information about any specific role, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us (hello(a)aaltoism.fi is a good starting point). The board members will gladly sit down with you and tell you more.

One more thing: in the picture you can see 8/10 of us enjoying a good time by KY house on Wappu eve, after a brunch for subject club boardies hosted by KY. Aigerim and Maria are missing: Aya is on the phone, getting us a visit to Oracle in Dublin and Maria is in the US on exchange. Good times!