Employee Profile: Erik Pulkkinen
By Rachel Seitz
One of the things that makes Climb Credit so great — not that we’re biased — is the group employees who work here. This office is full of smart, passionate people who want to change lives for the better, and who come into work every day to help push those beneficial changes forward. So, we’d love for all of you to get to know the individuals who make Climb such a positive experience.
Introducing: Erik Pulkkinen, a member of our Operations Team. Upon learning that he was originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, it was this point that your interviewer valiantly and successfully resisted the urge to make a joke about The Office. (But here I am bringing it up now, so, sorry Erik!) He attended the small Marywood University in Scranton, where he studied Business Management with a brief journalism stint in the middle, when he wanted to be a sports journalist. But despite enjoying writing, he was more drawn to business. He liked the idea of having lots of options opened to him after graduation and of having the “freedom to figure it out.”
So how did Erik go from Marywood to Climb? After first working at another startup upon graduation, he found it necessary to look for other career prospects; he came across Climb through AngelList and thought it seemed like a great opportunity. “I loved the interview process,” he says, and it looks like the interview process loved him too. As you may have guessed, that led to a job offer, and he’s been a valuable member of the Operations Team ever since.
At this point, you may be wondering what exactly “Operations” does. To put it in Erik’s words, his job is “helping people finance their education in a way that works for them [and making] sure customers understand the process and what they’re getting into. Make sure they’re prepared.” When he arrives in the morning, he’ll go through everything that had come in overnight, and he prioritizes making sure people’s loans get finalized. He also works with other departments to ensure they’re all working well together. Essentially, he does whatever is needed to help borrowers “change careers or start a career that works for them.”
And it’s those that make up Erik’s favorite aspects about Climb. For him, there’s an “excitement about a common goal” that really facilitates good interdepartmental communication. Things change fast in startups, which he also sees as a definite plus. I can fact check this claim: things do change fast in startups, and that is a plus.
Erik’s first experience at a startup has benefited him quite a lot during his time here. Being at that first company helped him understand how good communication can strengthen a company and help it grow. In fact, he encourages other recent grads to follow the same startup path. To him, it’s a “great way for young people to get into whatever area they want to get into. It’s exciting, things change quickly, it’s not a day to day slog.” For those entering this industry, he says “be prepared for changes and be excited about it.”
And finally, what advice does Erik have for students looking to take out a loan for their education? “Read everything carefully and understand what you’re taking on. Research the program and make sure it’s what you want to do and something you’re excited about doing.”
Good luck everyone; Erik (and all the rest of us) is looking forward to working with you!