Haaga-Helia alumni in the Parliament

Three Haaga-Helia alumni were elected to the Finnish Parliament in the spring 2023 parliamentary elections. Pinja Perholehto, who graduated from the Multilingual Management Assistant programme, Anna-Kristiina Mikkonen, who graduated from Vocational Teacher Training, and Noora Fagerström, who graduated in Business Administration, are all experts in their fields. Their commitment to societal issues has also taken them into the world of politics.

Alumni Testimonials

Three different types of experts

Pinja Perholehto graduated from Haaga-Helia in spring 2020 with a Multilingual Management Assistant degree (today Business Administration programme). She says that the best part of her education was the versatility of the studies and the fact that, in addition to technical and theoretical skills, a lot of emphasis was placed on practice. Visits and guest lectures also added a unique touch to the studies. They helped to visualise a wider range of possible career paths. What Pinja enjoyed most was the work placement and working on her thesis. Six months at SAK not only taught her a lot about event production and meeting management, but also opened the door to a new career. Pinja was employed during her work placement and completed her studies while working. From a political point of view, the communication studies at Haaga-Helia have been particularly helpful to her.

Anna-Kristiina Mikkonen graduated from Haaga-Helia as a vocational teacher in an online-based group in 2023. Although she only met her fellow students live couple of times – at the initial meetings and once at the final meeting – the online learning went smoothly and the peer group "LOMA!" made completing courses effortless and energising. Her studies at Haaga-Helia broadened her knowledge of pedagogy and different e-learning platforms. She was able to use the learning tasks in her own work as the director of an adult education center and to develop the institution's operations.

Noora Fagerström graduated in spring 2010 with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. Noora studied part-time in the evenings, as she was working full-time at the time. Noora managed to combine work and studies well. Her studies gave her a good basis for working life and especially for entrepreneurship. She started her own business straight after graduation. Budgeting, accounting, marketing and human resource management was in a fresh memory. Entrepreneurship itself has taught her a lot, but studies gave her a good ground for practice.

Roles in politics and the journey to Parliament

All three alumni are active both in local politics and as Members of Parliament. Pinja Perholehto says that she initially got involved in student organisations and soon discovered her interest in politics. Today, in addition to her duties as a Member of Parliament, she is also the chairperson of Hyvinkää City Council.

Anna-Kristiina Mikkonen, on the other hand, got into politics through the Student Union elections and is currently, in addition to being a Member of Parliament, the Chairperson of the city board of Savonlinna, and President of the South Savo Eloisa Regional Council.

Fagerström got into politics thanks to her husband's cousin, who had been involved in politics for a long time and had been encouraging Noora for many years. When Noora quit as the CEO of Jungle Juice Bar in 2020, she spent a year thinking about getting involved in municipal politics. She was elected to the Espoo City Council in 2021. 

Pinja says that the Parliament is an exceptional place to work.

– There are a huge number of people working there, from human resources to catering, from security to IT, from politicians to experts and so on. The culture of the different groups is determined by long traditions, the dignity of the Parliament, different written and unwritten rules, hierarchy and, on the other hand, a sense of community, she describes.

Anna-Kristiina, for her part, sheds light on the demanding aspects of the job:

– It's a challenge to have enough time to do everything. It's a bit of a feeling of inadequacy all the time and wondering if you're doing enough.

However, the sense of community and courtesy in the corridors of the Parliament gives them energy and makes them all happy.

– The organisational culture of the Parliament is respectful of others. As a rule, we try to understand each other; each other's opinions and ideas. What I enjoy most is when everyone smiles and greets each other, regardless of their party, Noora adds.

Noora, Pinja and Anna-Kristiina don't have to think long about what kind of messages they have for the graduates of Haaga-Helia. Enjoy your study time, it's an important stage in your life. Network, because you never know whose contact details you will need in the future. It's worth pursuing studies, because it gives you a good basis for the future, whatever you want to do. Education is always useful, but not your whole life. So remember to live and make your dreams come true!

Noora Fagerström, Pinja Perholehto and Anna-Kristiina Mikkonen are working hard in the world of politics and have already shown that Haaga-Helia graduates are a valuable force for Finland's future. Their success in Parliament encourages other students to follow their passions and pursue their own dreams. Education and strong networks provided by Haaga-Helia give excellent opportunities for success in both professional life and in society.

Alumni in graduation ceremonies

Haaga-Helia will organise a graduation ceremony on 16 June 2023 in both Porvoo and Pasila. At Pasila, in the morning ceremony, the alumni speech will be given by Member of Parliament Noora Fagerström. In the afternoon, the alumni speech will be given by Raino Nieminen, Executive Director of Professional Coaches of Finland (SAVAL). At the graduation ceremony in Porvoo, the alumni speaker will be Jerry Halme, General Manager of Original Sokos Hotel Wiklund.

There has been a pre-registration for the graduation ceremonies. Welcome to those who have registered!

El Amrani
asiantuntija, alumnisuhteet
Specialist, Alumni Relations
+358 294471077