Fintrade-Mercer Group Trainee Program Turns 30 Years
Throughout Fintrade-Mercer Group’s 35-year journey, the firm has granted its trainees the opportunity to learn about corporate law and investment management consulting through training and hands-on experience in an international environment. Over the years Fintrade has had a hundred trainees join from a variety of backgrounds, fields and nationalities ranging from China, Hong Kong, Sweden and of course our native Finland.
Founder and Chairman Jari Vepsäläinen describes having these trainees in the company as special assets that bring us the lates know-how from top universities in various countries.
The idea for the trainee program began in the early 1990s when Mr. Vepsäläinen had discussions with Professor Tarmo Pukkila, the Headmaster of University of Tampere in Finland back then. At the time Finland was suffering from a major economic recession and many students graduated into a poor job market. Mr. Vepsäläinen had noticed that students lacked international opportunities for traineeships abroad, particularly in Hong Kong, the gateway to China. He then proposed to Prof. Pukkila that Fintrade-Mercer would be willing to accept trainees in the firm, providing them with the opportunity to learn through hands-on work. The trainee program was thereby agreed to be tested. The graduate students would be eligible for financial support from the Finnish government during their trainee period. The very first trainee signed in 1991 and thereafter stayed with the firm for a few years in Hong Kong.
The Fintrade Trainee Program has been a key factor in company performance and client success as the fresh ideas, innovative thinking and unique experience and expertise of each trainee also enables our permanent staff to learn so much from them.
Reflections From Our Trainees
Three of our previous trainees, Valtteri Väisänen, Niklas Länsiö & Miro Arola shared some of their thoughts on what made them want to apply and what they thought of their time in the firm.
“I knew I was going to have my exchange semester in Hong Kong and I wanted to experience the region on a deeper level. Therefore, I started looking for internship opportunities in Hong Kong. I was already familiar with Fintrade through my studies and when I saw they were recruiting new interns I applied right away. Furthermore, the whole idea of working and living in Hong Kong seemed very appealing!
At Fintrade, I was trusted with a lot of responsibility, which was both motivating and a great opportunity for me to demonstrate and devlop my competences. I worked on multiple projects related to business strategy and market entries. The largest project I was working on included several Finnish companies, Fintrade’s contacts across the APAC region, organizing meetings in Hong Kong and a business trip to Shenzhen.
Working for Fintrade was a great opportunity to experience the dynamic work environment in Hong Kong and build up my career in consulting. My time at Fintrade proved very valuable as it opened a lot of international opportunities. I now work in leadership development and my experience at Fintrade has benefitted me a great deal in my current position.
I recommend everyone interested new adventures and international career to seek for similar opportunities in Hong Kong and elsewhere!”
“After finishing my studies in Taipei, I wanted to stay in Asia for a bit longer and try to get some international work experience. I have always considered Hong Kong as an attractive place to live and work in and thankfully I was fortunate enough to land the position at Fintrade. During my time in the company I was given a lot of responsibility for a trainee, which I found to be very useful and exciting. I got the opportunity to work on several unique international projects and to accumulate valuable experience.
My favorite project was also my biggest one – creating a market entry strategy report for an international footwear technology firm. Working on such a significant project while also juggling my time with others was challenging in all the right ways and my work was constantly changing and evolving.
Towards the end of my traineeship I was headhunted to a business development role at the Dublin office of Salesforce. I feel like it really demonstrates how potential future employers value the kind of experience in fresh graduates that international internships grant.
I would encourage any and all students to step out of their comfort zones and seek international internship opportunities if possible. I also strongly believe that companies can learn a lot from hiring these interns, forming a mutually beneficial learning experience for both sides. It is also a wonderful way to explore the world, meet new friends and have incredibly unique & exciting experiences in a foreign culture”
”In my last year of university studies at Aalto University I was eager to find a place where I could gain international work experience. Additionally, I wanted to live in a culturally different country to Finland. I had already done exchange studies in Australia and Portugal, but now I felt it was time to take the next step into the unknown. Through our internal university web pages and after discussing with some of the previous Fintrade trainees, I decided to apply for a summer internship. Working at Fintrade was a great way for me to experience the Hong Kong lifestyle while gaining valuable working experience from Chinese market entry business cases
I spent the most of my time at Fintrade doing a company valuation report and investment deck for a Finnish Animation studio – at the time, the animation studio was looking to enter the growing Chinese movie market. In Aalto university I majored in finance and international management, and I think that the project was optimal for a last year university student as I gained valuable project management experience while implementing my finance studies into practice.
The internship gave me additional tools to work in the global business environment. The internship was also a good way to get a “foot in the door” as all my employers after Fintrade have appreciated my experience in Hong Kong.
Of course, the three-month summer offered me more than just work. Almost every weekend I took a break from the busy metropolis to explore the city’s surrounding nature in one of the many hiking trails. If I wasn’t hiking, most likely you could have found me cliff-jumping in Sai Kung. I did these weekend trips with fellow international interns I had met already in the beginning of my stay – I still stay in touch with many of them.
I’ve been working now for two years at KPMG, first as a corporate finance analyst, and now for the past six months as a consultant in our strategy team.”