A dire need for experts in mathematics and analytical reasoning opened a world of possibilities for Matilde Costa

Fascinating course offering, opportunity for paid summer internships, and high-quality education attracted Matilde Costa to Mathematics and Operations Research programme
Matilde Costa at the learning centre
Matilde Costa. Photo Oona Hilli/ Aalto University

'I originally came to Aalto University as an Erasmus exchange student at the beginning of my master’s studies. My intention was to stay here for only one semester,' says Matilde Costa, who holds a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and computation from Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon.

Matilde was drawn to Aalto University by the unique course offering of the Mathematics and Operations Research programme.

'Here, there are many truly creative mathematics courses that are hard to find in other universities. For instance, a course where mathematics intersects with art and architecture. It was incredibly fascinating; we got to explore forms and spaces through mathematical means,' Matilde reminisces.

According to Matilde, studying in Finland was so rewarding that she first decided to stay for a full year – and ultimately ended up completing her entire master’s degree at Aalto University.

'It’s just fantastic here; I simply didn’t want to leave. I’ll be graduating in a few weeks with a master’s degree in mathematics from Aalto University,' Matilde explains.

Versatile career opportunities 

The master’s programme in Mathematics and Operations Research focuses on cultivating advanced mathematical thinkers with robust analytical and logical reasoning abilities.

Matilde asserts that there is a high demand for professionals equipped with these capabilities. Mathematical modelling and problem-solving skills are needed in a wide range of industries such as health care and financial services.

Alumni of the Mathematics and Operations Research programme typically end up working in for instance expert and leadership positions in international companies and organizations.

'I am thinking about pursuing a Ph.D. because I am interested in a career as a researcher. However, in the near future, I’ll hold a degree that provides me with numerous opportunities in many other fields, for example tech companies, which the world is full of,' Matilde ponders.

'I hope to soon find a position as a doctoral student in the field of number theory, which is a branch of pure mathematics,' Matilde plans. 

Great support from teachers and friends

The master’s programme in Mathematics and Operations Research, conducted entirely in English, offers three majors: mathematics, applied mathematics, or systems and operations research. 

'The thing that all these majors have in common is that you learn a great deal of mathematical reasoning and analytical thinking,' Matilde says. 

Matilde emphasizes that the support she has received from both teachers and friends has made studying in the Mathematics and Operations Research programme a marvelous experience.

'The teaching is extremely high quality, and the teachers here are very approachable and understanding, which I honestly think is tremendously important for the learning process,' she says.

'We mathematics students enjoy studying together and helping each other, as working alone on theoretical problems can easily lead to getting stuck. We have an app that allows us to book rooms on campus for group work. It is in frequent use,' Matilde remarks.

Even though studies in mathematics are demanding, Matilde has found time for student life as well.

'Our student organizations make sure that we international students are really well integrated into the community,' Matilde says with a laugh. 

'The unique student culture – teekkarikulttuuri in Finnish – definitely weighed in when I considered whether to stay here to complete my entire degree. The beautiful campus nature, the nearby sea – there are many things that have made my master’s studies fantastic,' she says.

For anyone interested in studying mathematics, Matilde says that there are many excellent reasons to choose the Mathematics and Operations Research programme.

'For instance, we have the opportunity to secure a paid summer internship position within our own department. My own experience as a summer intern was truly rewarding'.

'There is an impressive range of courses, excellent teachers, and a fantastic student community. The Mathematics and Operations Research programme is an excellent choice, whether you want to acquire more applied skills or pursue a career in research,' Matilde underlines.

Mathematics and Operations Research, Master of Science (Technology)

The unparalleled problem-solving power and predictive capability of mathematics and statistics enable profound and sustainable solutions to even the most complex problems. The programme educates top mathematical problem solvers with strong analytical skills and explicit knowledge of logical reasoning.

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