Enni Viuhkonen from Finland, alumna of the programme, now working as Regional Programme Manager for Google
What did you do before you started studying the Master’s programme in Service Management?
"I worked as a trainee for a CEO of a small hotel chain in Helsinki, Finland. It was actually thanks to the CEO I assisted that I ended up at Lund University – he was a Lund Alumnus! Working close to a person high up in an organisation taught me so many things, but also made me want to grow my analytical skills in academia. The Service Management programme facilitated this development plan well."
What was the best thing about the programme?
"The critical mindset! The programme challenged my thinking patterns, yet also substantiated some philosophies – such as leadership – I deeply believe in. I learned to source information from several aspects and recognise the impact that business decisions and practices have beyond profits."
What was it like to study in Sweden?
"I do, and always will, cherish the two years I spent in Sweden! I met inspiring professors and special individuals that became dear friends, and read loads of interesting books and articles that changed my mindset – not only about work, but about life in general. Additionally, as a Finn I got to learn more about our Swedish neighbours, and I will definitely always carry along some valuable lessons from my time spent in beautiful Sweden and with Swedes."
Where do you live today?
"Today I live in Dublin. My journey to join Google Ireland started between my freshman and senior year in the Service Management programme. Google reached out to Lund University to encourage students to apply for a university camp. I got selected to join the all-expenses-paid four-day event at Google's European Headquarters. After the camp I got a Google mentor, and thanks to her encouragement I applied for and got offered a job at Google."
What do you work with?
"I work with customer experience at Google, on Google's ads business side. I started with the Finnish Customer Care team, to serve Google's advertiser base in Finland. Later on, our Nordics self-managed team innovated the way we ran operations, and we formed a team to service the entire Nordics as just one big team.
In less than two years at Google I got a role as a Market Experience Lead for the Nordics. This role allowed me to take a more strategic approach to driving the development in the market from a services perspective, and I got to interact with internal stakeholders.
I recently started working in the Customer Insights team, which is a team that is part of business transformation and innovation functions in Google's customer care organisation. Customer Insights is responsible for delivering the voice of the customer to the broader organisation, and making sure that our organisation develops in a customer-centric way to serve our advertiser's needs both now and in the future. My team achieves this task through customer research and innovative business practice.
What is the biggest challenge in your current position?
This definitely depends on the task at hand, but overall I would say that one of the most challenging parts is to bring the teams together to work on shared OKRs (objectives and key results). In a company with thousands of employees divided into different teams with their own expertise, it takes a lot of influencing and data driven convincing to get teams to invest in projects that might not be their top priority."
How do you use the knowledge you gained during your studies in your working life?
"There are three things I utilise in my work nearly every day, the first of which is leadership thinking and philosophy. At Google, you are challenged to lead across all levels: whether it is a project you lead or a team of colleagues in a cross-teams setting, you will always need a true leadership mindset to achieve good results. Secondly, I analyse business practice and outputs from different angles: a healthy customer care business is a balanced combination of being profitable and delivering positive value to the customers, while ensuring that the team is happy. Having an ability to step into other people's shoes is essential. Thirdly, I use customer experience research methods and innovation processes. My customer insights team studies the customer experience and is in charge of delivering high-quality insights to the overall organisation to shape the business, so having deep a understanding of research methods is essential in my role."
What advice would you give to new students?
"Get excited about the studies and stay focused! For me, investing my time in studying while keeping an open mind was definitely a winning concept. Two years is a long time to keep yourself focused. For me it worked well to chop my studies into separate targets, such as getting the basics right during the first year, and contributing to and growing in project groups as well as fully owning my thesis project during the second year. This is also a system that Google uses for performance management, and I find it essential at work, where change is constant.
Finally, the general life advice I would give is investing in getting to know who you are, what matters to you and making sure you own it! Already during the Master's studies I used mentors – I highly recommend the mentor programme – to discuss how to make this happen both in the professional and the academic world. I now also use the mentoring programmes Google offers."