You should follow your will and heart - that is the best guarantee of success.
The number of TalTech School of Business and Governance graduates is impressive - more than 28,000 in total. The School highly values cooperation with its alumni and has involved them in the advisory boards of all the study programmes to ensure the quality and sustainability. Teet Tender, a graduate of the School of Business and Governance and a partner in the international consulting and auditing firm PwC, is a member of the International Business Administration bachelor’s programme Advisory Board. We were curious to find out how he has applied the skills and knowledge acquired at TalTech, what he does today, and whether his cooperation with the School has added any value to his career as a field expert.
Which programme did you study?
I graduated from the School of Business and Governance and earned a master's degree in Business Administration. I also considered TalTech School of Civil Engineering, but economics was my final decision. Tallinn University of Technology, though, was my only choice, probably influenced by the fact that my father had studied there, and my elder brother was studying there at that time.
Why business administration?
For some reason, I became interested in economics already back in secondary school; I remember myself taking extra classes in economic geography to be admitted to TalTech for sure. After earning my bachelor's degree, I joined a TalTech master's programme a few years later, which I have to admit, was an entirely different level in my education path. My work experience enabled me to relate the studies and reality much better, thus my interest was significantly higher. Although lectures and seminars were held in the evenings and on weekends, interestingly, attending them was refreshing even after a hard day's work. After defending my master's degree, Kaie Kerem, the head of the defence committee, asked me to seriously consider pursuing a doctoral degree, but this step was not taken at that time.
What do you do today and what/which event attracted you to your current position?
Today I am a partner in the international consulting and auditing firm PwC and responsible for PwC's business consulting in the Baltic States.
My professional career began in the former Estonian Privatization Agency, but at one point I started dreaming about new challenges and realized that I wanted to develop my career in an international company. Therefore, when PwC was looking for a corporate finance consultant, I did not hesitate a moment and applied for the position.
What do you think is the strength of this field in today's labour market?
I believe that people who have been educated in such a field can cope in a wide variety of companies and positions. Perhaps the keyword would be the broad-based nature of economic education. In a small country like Estonia, where recruitment is more personal, the name of a particular educational institution is less significant. At the same time, no local employer has to do any background research on TalTech to find out what has been taught there. However, when going abroad, TalTech name is even more important, because it is still one of the leading universities in Estonia, and there are several analogues in the world where a university focusing mainly on the field of technology provides high-quality economic education.
Today, you are also member of the International Business Administration bachelor’s programme Advisory Board. What is your role there?
Indeed, I have been a member of the International Business Administration bachelor’s programme Advisory Board for a few years already. I got into that role because Enn Listra, the Dean of the School of Business and Governance, invited me and it seemed to be an opportunity to give something back to the School in practical terms. As I have been away from the university for a long time, it provides an interesting insight into the academic world and helps me understand the challenges the School and students are facing. As external experts, we have taken more of a listener’s role in the Board, but as employers, we have tried to reflect our expectations and also advised on fields of study; e.g. I do not think it appropriate to specialize in general 'management' at the bachelor's level because without having relevant experience the outcome would be less valuable.
Could you recall any sweet memories or funny situations from your university time?
There are definitely a lot of fun memories - as students you are young and things happen. My best friends have come from my university times, we succeeded in combining studying and having fun at the Akadeemia tee dormitory. One of my brightest memories is pushing a trolleybus (number 9, of course) on our way to the university together with the same friends. The trolleybus got stuck at the Taksopark roundabout, and at the request of the bus driver, we as passengers had to give it a push to make it move.
What would you ask the university, School or department to do differently to improve students’ life?
At a recent Advisory Board meeting, I heard about the difficulties our local English-speaking students experience in finding jobs in Estonia, so I would recommend the School to communicate more actively with potential employers who are struggling to recruit staff. It would be of mutual benefit for good students and local companies.
What would you recommend to the youth who are about to choose a field of study?
I think the days when young people were advised to choose a profession that would give them a job for life are over. You should follow your will and heart - that is the best guarantee of success. Looking at my older son's classmates' choices after graduating secondary school, I find them so pleasantly diverse, which makes me believe in the balanced development of our society when these young people have entered the labour market and become active. It is not a problem to change your profession today, thus there is no need to worry about making a wrong choice and having to cope with it for the rest of your life.