‘Becoming an entrepreneur in Finland turned out to be really simple’

Adithya Varadarajan is an Aalto University alumnus who shared his story of starting a business and finding employment in Finland. The story is part of the Finland Works open online course by Aalto University, launched in September 2021.
A portrait of Adithya Varadarajan
Adithya Varadarajan

The Finland Works massive open online course (MOOC) by Aalto University offers insights into Finnish work culture and building a career in Finland. The course is designed especially for international students and job seekers who wish to know more about the characteristics of Finnish working life. The course is authored by recruitment and career specialists and complemented with stories and experiences from Aalto University international alumni. Finland Works is part of the Future of Work online learning module.

We asked the international Aalto alumni featured in the course videos to share their insights into the Finnish work culture and building a career in Finland. One of them is Adithya Varadarajan from South India.

Adithya studied in the International Design Business Management master’s programme at Aalto University and graduated in 2019. Finland’s positive reputation affected his choice of study destination.

‘I had seen Finland in the happiness index a few times, and I also heard about the different ways of education and social democracy. I wanted to experience that,’ Adithya says.

Starting a business in Finland 

Through his studies, Adithya also became an entrepreneur and a co-founder of a company called Nordic Rebels.

‘We originally started off as a course here at Aalto. It went really well, and we wanted to take the course idea to a wider audience. That’s when we set up the company,’ Adithya tells.

The Finland Works course also introduces entrepreneurship and starting a business in Finland. The course provides useful tips and links that everyone should take into consideration when considering entrepreneurship.

‘Becoming an entrepreneur in Finland turned out to be really simple! We decided on a Tuesday that ‘okay, we’re going to register this company’, and on Wednesday, we went through the whole process, and everything was in place,’ he explains. 

I had seen Finland in the happiness index and heard about the different ways of education and social democracy. I wanted to experience that.

Adithya Varadarajan

Finding a job in the middle of a pandemic

Right after becoming an entrepreneur, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and Adithya had to look for other ways to support himself.

‘That’s when I started realising how tricky the Finnish job market is. Often, open positions don’t even go on to a job board, like LinkedIn, but the jobs get shared around within the network,’ he says.

Adithya was focusing on finding design-related jobs that didn’t require Finnish knowledge. ‘English-speaking jobs are the ones I can actually get a shot at. Applying for those it won’t feel like just because I don’t speak Finnish everything else I know doesn’t matter so much,’ he says. After a long job search process, Adithya landed a job as a Design Lead at Scope Impact.

Combining entrepreneurship with employment

Adithya is currently working both as an entrepreneur and a company employee. ‘I have the stability from a paid job, and at the same time, I get to work on something really fulfilling. For me, that works nicely,’ he smiles.

Balancing the time and workload is the biggest challenge for Adithya when combining entrepreneurship with employment.

‘I work as a full-time design lead, and there are situations where I have to work a bit more because of a client deadline. At those times, the work on my own business has to be toned down,’ he says.

Adithya highlights the importance of planning the week so there won’t be too many surprises ahead. ‘Blocking time for specific work activities both for the paid job and the start-up ensures that I have a clear picture of what’s coming up,’ he explains. ‘That way I’m always on top of things.’

Watch Adithya Varadarajan’s whole story below and register for the Finland Works course here:

‘Finding a job in Finland is not easy for foreigners’

Audrey Poudrier Tremblay is an Aalto alumna who shared her story of working in Finland as part of the Finland Works open online course.

Read Audrey Poudrier Tremblay's story here
Audrey Poudrier Tremblay being interviewed for a video.
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