From professional sports to strategy consulting: a team addict finds a new home
For the last 25 years of my life, floorball (in Finnish, salibandy) has been my passion, primary target of effort and commitment, and overriding source of pride and joy. Among other honors, I have been part of the Finnish national team for almost two decades and played on the team for all three of the men’s world championships Finland has won so far. My professional sports career made me not only who I am as an athlete and a member of that team, but as a person.
However, I always knew that it could not go on forever. While living in the present and realizing my potential in sports, I aimed at being thoroughly prepared for the life thereafter. Despite putting all I had in floorball, I knew I had a career chance ahead of me, hopefully providing a chance to contribute to our society in even more important and meaningful ways than I could as a professional athlete.
This past summer, I finally hung up my cleats for good and joined a new team: August Associates.
But why strategy consulting in general and August in particular? The answers somehow condense what the unmatched total equation – the core of August’s employee value proposition – means from my point of view.
First, I was interested in the intensive type of teamwork and learning opportunities that the field involves. Perhaps because of my background in world-class team sports, I have always enjoyed being part of a highly interdependent team, working with colleagues who are both exceptionally talented and motivated. Strategy consulting offers a team addict like me a chance to get a similar kick as playing floorball, even though the context differs considerably from the rink.
Another reason why strategy consulting appealed to me was the endless learning opportunities it provides. I wanted to find a job characterized by a steep learning curve, which would help me reach professional caliber quickly. I believe that I am now working in an environment that maximizes my development for a variety of roles and tasks I might perform in the future. In fact, as I am constantly surrounded by people who are smarter than me, it will be impossible to avoid learning!
And why August? I liked the August atmosphere, their Finnish focus, and commitment to a good work-life balance. First, August combines the attributes of a first-class workplace with a twinkle-in-the-eye atmosphere. As I have learned in sports, high expectations do not mean you must be overly serious. In fact, in my experience, being able to keep a smile on one’s face when the going gets tough often makes the difference between winning and losing. Everyone I’ve met at August seems to have learned that lesson well.
Second, because we advise mainly Finnish companies, working at August gives me a chance to help Finnish organizations flourish. Having the opportunity to inspire Finnish people was important to me during my floorball career, particularly when playing on the national team, and I like the idea that I can continue to serve Finnish people, this time, in helping them solve their most critical business problems.
Last but not least, August stood out from the crowd in its deep respect for a healthy work-life balance. For me, an essential (and perhaps less surprising) aspect of enjoying a good quality of life is about having an opportunity to do a proper daily workout. Without that opportunity, some part of who and what I am would cease to exist. This would ultimately compromise not just my own well-being but what I can contribute to my team and our clients. After some weeks at August, I am glad to note that I have not felt any pressure to change my workout routines dramatically. Our work is absorbing but we work in a way that is sustainable both for ourselves and for our customers.
It’s still early, but every day I am more convinced that I have again chosen the right sport and the right team. I feel excited and honored to be part of the August community and determined to brave the future together with my new teammates.