Alumnus Muhammad Ziaur Rehman: ‘No matter what you’re dreaming about, Aalto is a great place to start’
Why did you choose Aalto University and the Master’s Programme in Automation and Electrical Engineering?
My interest in the field of electrical engineering dates back to my childhood, as I used to see my father always busy with electrical equipment and electrical installations. I loved opening up electric appliances and helping my father with his tools. During my further studies, my father was working in Saudi Arabia and used to ask permission from his manager to show me his work through live video calls, so that I could learn about high voltage systems.
After I got my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in Pakistan, I wanted to continue my studies abroad. I found out that Aalto University is among the best in the world in the field of electrical power engineering. One of the reasons why I picked Finland was its weather, as it has all the four seasons. I was a fan of the TV series Game of Thrones, so it was easy to fall in love with Finland’s dark winters!
I applied for and got a place on the Master’s Programme in Automation and Electrical Engineering at Aalto University. There, I chose Electrical Power and Energy Engineering as my major.
What was the most interesting part of your studies?
I was surprised to find out how committed the professors are to their students. They may be busy but they always reply to emails and try to help their students in the best possible way. The range of different seminars were interesting as well. Companies here show a real interest towards university students and potential recruits.
What kinds of tools did you get from your studies that have been useful in your working life?
I was able to develop a variety of skills – not just the ones I needed in my field of work, but skills that have helped me to achieve a better lifestyle. These include management and communication skills, which I gained through interacting with students and friends from different communities. I learnt a lot from my professors and I truly believe that Aalto University can help you to find your real talent.
How did you end up in your current job?
After I graduated in 2018, I worked in McDonalds for few months. It wasn’t exactly ideal but to achieve my career goals, I had to start from somewhere.
Then, I got a job with the international technology company Ensto, first as a laboratory engineer, and then as project manager for an accreditation project for medium voltage products. I learnt a lot at Ensto and made some deep friendships.
However, as I was part of Finland’s national cricket team, I wanted to be able to give my game the focus it needed, which meant moving to another city and finding a new job there.
I’m currently in my dream job, working as a sales support engineer for ABB. At the beginning of my bachelor studies, my father used to tell me about multinational companies like ABB and introduced me to their commissioning engineers. From that time onwards, working for ABB, which is the biggest firm operating in heavy electrical equipment, has been a dream of mine.
Muhammad Ziaur Rehman
One of the most beneficial things for me has been the Aalto mentoring programme.
During your studies, did you develop any contacts that have been helpful in your working life?
Yes, lots! For example, I got to do my thesis for the Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT), partly because my professors recommended me. One of the most beneficial things for me has been the Aalto mentoring programme. I met my mentor Jorma in the second year of my master’s studies and we’ve been in touch ever since. We still get together every other week and he’s become one of my best friends. He always backs me up in times of need. I can proudly say that he’s had a major role in all the success I’ve had and that which I’m going to achieve in the future.
What tips would you give to students starting their master’s studies?
No matter what you’re dreaming about, Aalto is a great place to start. Accept the help the university has to offer and take part in the mentoring programmes. And be ready to change your scenery to gain the experience you need for your dream job!
You can study Electrical Power and Energy Engineering in the Master's Programme in Automation and Electrical Engineering, read more here.