News & Views

Get to Know Us | Isabella Kartila, Associate, Tax

8 October 2020

We interviewed Isabella Kartila, who works as an associate in our Tax Team in Helsinki. Isabella was recently awarded the prize of the best thesis by the Association of Finnish Tax Professionals. Isabella’s thesis titled “Tax Treatment of Finnish Private Equity Funds and Their Foreign Investors in Finland” addresses the issue of taxation of income derived by foreign investors through Finnish private equity funds. The main focus of her thesis is on the interpretation of the recently amended tax rules enabling foreign investors to invest tax efficiently in Finnish private equity funds.

Hi Isabella, and congratulations on your award by the Association of Finnish Tax Professionals! What are your thoughts on this great recognition?

Thank you very much! Although I was aware that the Association of Finnish Tax Professionals has a long tradition of annually awarding an exceptional master’s thesis in the field of taxation, receiving the award was an absolute surprise to me. Needless to say, I am extremely happy and honoured to receive this recognition.

You received the best grade for your thesis. Can you please reveal us your secret on how to write an exceptionally good thesis?

Most importantly, you should select a topic that you find truly interesting and inspiring. Writing a master’s thesis gives you a unique opportunity to deepen your understanding of the chosen subject-matter, wherefore the topic should be chosen wisely. It was very useful for me to discuss different topics with professionals working in the field, and I would definitely recommend doing the same in order to get the big picture and to be able to pinpoint the most relevant research questions of the study. When you consider your master’s thesis and its research questions to be relevant both academically and in practice, writing your thesis will immediately become way more fascinating and rewarding!

Before you started as an associate lawyer at Hannes, you worked as an associate trainee, and then continued in Hannes’s Thesis Trainee Programme. What kind of an experience the Thesis Trainee Programme was for you?

Participating in Hannes’s Thesis Trainee Programme was a great experience for me. Since day one, the tax team welcomed me back warmly, and they were really supportive during the whole writing process. I was assigned a tutor, Harri Vehviläinen, who has great expertise in the taxation of private equity and investment funds. Discussions with him were inspiring and helpful for my writing process, and he was actually one of the four industry specialists who I interviewed for my thesis.

In addition to the professional support, it was very nice to have a personal writing space at the office with access to Hannes’s library and other legal databases. Last but not least, I also enjoyed very much attending different kinds of academic and social gatherings during my traineeship. I feel that being tightly connected to the firm also during the final academic project of my studies facilitated the transition to becoming a full-time employee of the firm.

After such a successful thesis it has to be asked if the Doctorate of Laws is your next professional goal?

To be honest, during my studies at the university, I never imagined myself aiming for the Doctor in Laws degree after graduation. However, in the course of finalising my master’s thesis, I became intrigued by the idea, as I really enjoyed the writing process during which I was able to gain real expertise in a particular field of taxation. Thus, maybe I will end up writing a doctoral dissertation in the future!

What advice would you give to someone who is about to embark on writing their master’s thesis?

Keep your eyes open for interesting topics and, once you have chosen the topic, do not be afraid to discuss your ideas with peers and industry experts. You might end up engaging in inspiring discussions on the theme and getting new valuable viewpoints for your thesis.


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