Sanna-Mari Jyräkoski is the CEO of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises Central Finland. Sanna-Mari graduated from the University of Jyväskylä as a Doctor of Science (Economics and Business Administration) in 2007, majoring in Economics. Her cooperation with the University has continued ever since then. At present, Jyräkoski is the Vice Chair of Jyväskylä University Foundation and is a member of the fund-raising support group, which she regards as a worthwhile cause.

Sanna-Mari Jyräkoski is a visible and significant contributor to business life in Central Finland. She has extensive experience in strategic planning, management consultancy, and small and medium-sized enterprises. Among the many positions she has held, Jyräkoski has worked as Senior Assistant of Economics at Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics, Business Director in Kasvun Roihu Oy, and Chair of the Board of Jämsän Lääkärikeskus Oy. She is currently also the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Keski-Suomen Osuuspankki.

“In my work career, my university studies have benefitted me each and every day: in how I perceive the world, understand the interrelationships between various issues and draw on research. Also from the regional development point of view, working in the University’s interest groups is important.”

After her Master’s degree, Jyräkoski continued directly to her doctoral studies. Her degrees included a wide range of studies: political science, statistics, women’s studies, mathematics and education, to name but a few.

Jyräkoski encourages students to take advantage of the range of studies available at the University. Broad-based degrees are useful. She does not see any reason why one’s studies should be restricted to a given frame.

“Your years at university are a valuable time for exploring future orientations and possibilities with regard to later life as well. After all, nowadays very few of us stay in exactly the same occupation for the rest of our lives.”

University-based research plays an important role in the green transition and digitalisation. Most new jobs are created in the SME sector, but in Jyräkoski’s opinion, universities and small and middle-sized enterprises do not yet know each other sufficiently well. Better connections could be found through practical work, which calls for incentives in the form of product development projects.

“An employee with a university background is a treasure for an enterprise,” Jyräkoski says.

“Nowadays, many university graduates are also highly courageous and entrepreneurially spirited young people. They are capable of many things and have good learning skills and potential for development. In addition, they are capable of concentrated, persistent and systematic work.”

People can create career prospects and employ themselves by establishing a firm of their own. Accordingly, many people establish a company already as a student. Jyräkoski points out that it nevertheless pays to complete your university studies however exciting and tempting working life might be.

Entrepreneurs with a university background are better than other entrepreneurs in taking advantage of the mechanisms of university cooperation.

“They find the most talented people for recruitment as well as the latest relevant research projects, and also engage themselves in continuing education and training through Open University and management studies, for example.”

Sanna-Mari Jyräkoski encourages university graduates to approach enterprises and entrepreneurs in a direct and professional manner. In fact, it is often expected that newly graduated higher education students bring along new developmental approaches. An open vacancy may become available just when the right people meet each other.

“What’s more, I recommend actually saying your dreams out aloud, as this helps them to become true.”

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