Jenna Hytti works at KPMG as a consultant for responsible investing and corporate responsibility. She helps companies and other organisations in their corporate responsibility efforts. Her work is related to environmental issues, human and labour rights, occupational safety, and good administration. Jenna graduated with a Master of Science degree in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Jyväskylä. She feels her current profession is her calling.
Hytti chose JYU as her study place because there she could combine natural sciences very broadly with language and communication studies. “Moreover, in Jyväskylä and in many different subjects, the teachers and professors were accessible. It was easy to ask questions if you needed further clarification,” Jenna says.
“I would like to be a similar kind of an expert myself in my own work, so that people feel free to come and ask me if someone is thinking about an issue pertaining to my particular field of expertise. And that person never has to be afraid that I would think that the person or the question is stupid; instead, I’m pleased and excited that the person shows interest in my area.”
As the most important point regarding the University of Jyväskylä, Jenna mentions its unique atmosphere, which has carried her a long way at work as well; “In Jyväskylä, we didn’t categorise people or form exclusive groups according to their major subject or year course, for instance, but everybody was basically equal and the collaborative spirit was awesome and quite unique in my view,” she says.
“This same attitude is nowadays valid at work as well. If the person is an interesting and topical expert in their own domain and helps and inspires others, to me it makes no difference what a person’s past, age or grade in school is, for example. I truly enjoy working with these kinds of people, sharing ideas and learning from them. And I have an equally high regard for people who do their work competently, dealing with matters I know nothing about myself.”
In Jyväskylä, Hytti found lifelong friends as well as contacts to diverse professional networks. “It’s a relief when you don’t need to know everything about everything yourself but you can rely on other people’s expertise in the different domains of the world of work. The time in Jyväskylä with all the cross-disciplinary parties showed already at an early stage that you can surely find great types from different fields, as both experts and as people, now as well as in the future.”
At the final stage of her studies, Hytti left for an exchange period at the University of Guangzhou, China, to study legislation for Chinese foreign trade and foreign investments. At the same time, she also started language studies in Chinese. Jenna had already earlier been on a student exchange in Buenos Aires, Argentina, because she was interested in exporting Finnish cleantech solutions to South America. However, she saw greater potential in China, which was struggling with serious environmental problems.
The four-month exchange period continued in a summer job in a Chinese company and, after that, in an internship at the Finnish Embassy in Beijing. She returned to Jyväskylä to complete her master’s degree and changed her major to environmental management. She planned to apply for another period in China at the master’s thesis stage. However, this time she ended up in Germany.
“I had applied for a job at Bayer Pharmaceuticals in China, but they phoned me from their Berlin office. They said a year-long project was waiting for me in Germany, if I went there.”
On a couple of weeks’ notice, Hytti moved to Berlin. She got a chance to work in her own field, on issues of social responsibility. In Germany, she also completed her master’s thesis, which dealt with corporate responsibility in the pharmaceutical industry.
However, her earlier stay in China was the real turning point, when she became fully committed to responsibility issues. After graduation, Hytti spent on average a week per month in China for five years. She worked in the Finnish GreenStream Network, which implements industrial energy efficiency projects. Her task was to search for suitable Finnish companies for these projects and help them to gain a foothold in the Chinese market.
Hytti’s career is highly international. In her current employment at KPMG, she has gained experience as a corporate responsibility expert in different fields of industry in Indonesia, Cameroon, Lebanon, Malaysia, and Finland. For her, continuous learning means both ambition and humility. Ambition in the sense that she is constantly yearning for more knowledge and new challenges for her work. Humility, then again, in the sense that the more you learn about a theme area, the less you know about it.
“Recognising this keeps you humble in front of all the huge issues and global problems. And although I can never become a perfect expert in my field, it doesn’t mean that I couldn’t be proud of my work or enjoy it. It’s great to have a chance to work on rapidly developing issues and learn new things all the time.”
Hytti believes that in addition to deeply specialised experts, there is also a need for people who see the overall picture and understand how things are interconnected and jointly influencing both the present and the future. She sees her own future role as that of a well-rounded expert. On her path of continuous learning, she also wishes to learn to use her own personality better and better.
“In my career, I want to commit myself to a range of issues, but still keep the goals at such a level that allows sustained inspiration and drive for my work. I feel that when I’m motivated and enthusiastic, my work as an expert also brings more benefit to others.”
Subscribe to the JYUnity newsletter
Get latest articles from The University of Jyväskylä’s stakeholder magazine into your email. You can cancel your subscription at any time.