On the sunny morning of April 6, a delegation of Frontierites visited Amcham to learn about what it’s like to work for an international business hub and what it takes to land a job there. We were happy to join forces with Macondo, the organization for students of Latin American studies, for our first working-life excursion of 2016.
Our group was warmly welcomed by Program Manager Ina Kauppila and Policy Director Matt Wood, who kindly told us about their individual backgrounds and their roles and responsibilities at Amcham over some coffee and pulla (delicious!). We also got to introduce ourselves and tell a little bit about what we do.
Not many of us had even heard of Amcham before the excursion, but by now we all know that Amcham is an international, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that is funded by its members, representing various fields, industries, and cultural backgrounds.
Amcham aims at helping its members find new business opportunities
Amcham helps international businesses to land in Finland and assists Finnish businesses when they want to go abroad. One of Amcham’s goals is to influence policymakers in order to make the local business environment better for its members. This kind of work involves, firstly, lots of human contacts and, secondly, finding and processing information quickly.
What’s a humanist to do at a business hub?
Among the most important things we learned during our chat was the fact that the business lobbying world will appreciate a person with a good general knowledge, a curious mindset, and the right attitude towards learning new concepts and new skills, i.e. a multidisciplinarian. At Amcham, you’re not expected to already know everything about everything (because that is simply not possible), but you are expected to be ready to pick up the phone, to find a person who knows what you need to know, and then relate that information to someone else in a way that they can understand.
What’s more, we discovered that in a dynamic organization such as Amcham, the environment is constantly evolving, so it’s essential for an employee to be able to live with change. It is also an asset to be comfortable with small talk and to be able to build a bond and a mutual understanding with people from different fields and cultures. A successful business advocate will understand a member’s needs and be able to speak the language of their field. However, while it is useful to have a basic knowledge of economics and how business is done, a business degree is by no means necessary.
It’s the attitude that matters most.
To sum up, during the visit we gained some valuable information about a field that was new to us and some fresh perspectives of the potential roles of a multidisciplinary humanist in the world of international business.
We would like to thank Amcham for the time and effort of having us as guests, and especially Ina and Matt for a truly inspirational talk and for creating such a relaxed atmosphere. It was a pleasure to start the day with you (and pulla)!