Made in Aalto: Not quite like Dilbert

Aalto University alumnus Valtteri Vartiainen works as a liaison between journalism, business and technology.

Aalto University alumnus Valtteri Vartiainen, who works as a liaison between journalism, business and technology, gives three important pieces of advice to new students.

27-year-old Valtteri Vartiainen says that his path to studying Information Networks at Aalto University’s School of Science was similar to that of many others. He wanted to study the broad and interesting subjects included in the Information Networks curriculum. In addition to engineering and economics, the “Information” side includes, among other things, communication, sociology and even philosophy.

During his bachelor’s studies, Vartiainen concentrated on communication, and took a summer job as a newspaper journalist. While in Singapore, where the Helsinki native did his student exchange, he focused more on business, which had initially interested him as well, and took a good deal of Industrial Engineering and Management courses. In his master’s thesis, Vartiainen researched the business networks of ABC, a large service station chain in Finland.

“The best part about the master’s studies was the possibility to delve into exciting topics and discover my own interests. Courses and business projects were truly educational. It is worthwhile to actually listen to the guests and do group work well, because you run across the same people later in working life,” he says.

Vartiainen graduated in the summer of 2013, after which he helped to organize the Aalto Entrepreneurship Society’s trip to Silicon Valley. The excursion was privately funded for the most part – financed by the students’ reports on local business trends. In all they visited over 30 companies –including the transport start-up, Uber, and social media giant, Facebook.

The versatile Master of Science in Technology has now worked for a year and a half as a producer in the development team of Finland’s biggest tabloid newspaper, the Ilta-Sanomat. Media’s digitalisation has deeply affected the industry. Vartiainen designs concepts and applications for mobile devices. The team’s goal is to create functional content that grips readers and brings in advertisers and ad revenue.

“Thanks to the education I have received, I speak the same language with journalists, programmers and marketing people. I’m a liaison in the middle,” he says.

Though pleased with his job, Vartiainen has also considered writing a doctoral thesis. He encourages potential students to apply to more unusual programs and projects. Combining different studies and “thinking outside the box” pays off, he says – and is quite effortless at Aalto University. In addition to an all-around education and project assignments he embraces the future and emphasises internationality.

“Doing an exchange is really worth it. In Singapore, I was impressed with the Asian students’ motivation and gained a new angle on my studies. As it was warm there, I could also go around in flip-flops day and night,” he says with a smile.?

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