Made in Aalto: Curiosity created a career
Katri Junna studied structural engineering at Aalto, but ended up working in the software industry and is now working as a consultant for Netlight Consulting. Katri describes herself as a generally curious person with a little bit of interest in almost everything. Aalto turned out to be an ideal place to study.
‘Engineering is a fantastic field in that it has opportunities for highly specialised people as well as the Jacks or Jills of all trades that can do a little bit of everything’, says Katri.
Getting into engineering wasn't, however, a completely straightforward choice for her. Studies in artisanal and industrial design, economics and communications were also on the table until the last moment.
Ill-advised recommendation sets the course
Her final choice was influenced by practicality and by having something to prove. On the advice of her mother, she chose a male-dominated field with better financial rewards. Having something to prove came as a result of her annoyance with her high school physics teacher recommending that she study the humanities. ‘I thought to myself there is no way am I going to be the stereotype, straight-A girl who studies literature or philosophy’, Katri says. The following autumn saw Katri in Otaniemi.
Embracing your studies
The diversity of studies at Aalto was a big draw for Katri. The components of the course combined with her enthusiasm equalled a bright future. Aalto's practical approach was also an attraction. ‘At high school I’d always thought that university studies would include a large amount of exams. There are relatively few exams in engineering studies, which was a pleasant surprise to me as I prefer alternative learning methods.’
Learning from the student union
Katri got stuck into the guild and student union activities right away and remained active throughout her studies. ‘I learned an enormous amount about passion, how to motivate people, plan things, selling ideas, meeting techniques, efficient time management, how people are different and what functioning cooperation really is.’ These skills have been of great value in her career.
An engineering diploma has multiple uses
‘I’ve always thought that a Master’s degree in engineering is a generic degree that prepares you for a variety of jobs’ says Katri. ‘I had an inkling that during my studies I would end up in project management and supervision, and I was right. I have had a multitude of jobs with a diverse group of people and I’ve enjoyed it.’
Katri has two pieces of advice for those still thinking about their careers. ‘First of all, don’t focus on what you want to be, focus on what you want to do. Secondly, if you aren’t absolutely certain what you want to do when you are grown-up, but you can do a little bit of everything, come and study at Aalto – you'll figure it out along the way.’
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