Niko Aaltonen – from student to Chairman of the Board
Niko Aaltonen studied Business Administration at TUAS during 1996–2002. Now he is the Chairman of the Board of TUAS.
What made you choose TUAS back in the day?
I wanted to get a practical, versatile and high-quality education. When thinking about the options, the Degree Programme in Business Administration at TUAS seemed like the best choice.
What was TUAS and its role like back then compared to now?
Very different! Campuses were scattered all around Southwest Finland. Partly for this reason the TUAS brand was then pretty weak, and not uniform. Nowadays, the situation is fortunately different. Our profile and role in the Finnish field of higher education is clear and our brand is reforming and strengthening all the time.
What does it feel like to be the Chairman of the Board of the institute you graduated from? What was the path that took you here?
I started as a member of the board of Trade, the association of BBA students, and as a representative in the council of Student Union TUO. I ended up as the Chairman of Student Union TUO and as a student representative on the Board of TUAS.
Finally, years later, I ended up as the Chairman of the Board of TUAS. I'm also the Chairman of the Union of Professional Business Graduates in Finland, TRAL. Both jobs are interesting and important.
You are also a member of Turku City Council and in many other positions of trust. What is your main occupation and do you have time for everything?
My main occupation is service manager. I have enough time when I focus on what’s important. I also have extensive networks and know how the different organisations operate.
In addition, I have a wife and three kids, so I don’t have much spare time. Family is naturally the most important thing. I try to keep weekends free, which means that I don’t then participate in events related to the positions of trust.
What is the benefit that TUAS brings to Turku, Southwest Finland and Finland?
Our task is to produce considerable added value and competence, especially regionally. This is realised well because the majority of our students finds employment in Southwest Finland, and we cooperate a lot with the different actors and companies operating in the region. This is very important, because in the next few years Southwest Finland will need excellent competence in several fields, and TUAS should be able to answer to that need. We try to raise the level of competence also to succeed in the international competition.
To ensure the production of a high level of competence also in the future, we must be prepared to renew ourselves when needed. In addition, we must profile our competence more specifically and cooperate closely with the different actors in surrounding society.
Name three things that are especially good about TUAS, and three development targets.
Everything starts with an inspiring community. In my opinion, our staff is good and motivated. Our students are also very active and enthusiastic. The third could be a strong economy.
Everything can and should be developed, obviously. For example, in alumni activities, services for business and in international project activities we have good opportunities to develop even more.
Name the three best things about Turku.
The riverside, TUAS and the extensive variety of events.