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Coffee with Alumna: Maria Ritola

Coffee with Alumni offers students an opportunity to get valuable insights and unique career support from interesting alumni.
Coffee with Alumna: Maria Ritola (on the right) and the students

Organized by Aalto University School of Business and KY Aalto University Business Students, the Coffee with Alumni concept gives students an opportunity to meet alumni and discuss career-related matters in a smaller group.

Co-Founder of Iris.ai, Maria Ritola, met up with students in October to discuss her career within the field of artificial intelligence.

Ritola emphasized that she followed her interests and enthusiasm when she started to build her career, which started at the United Nations and UNICEF. Her interest in the cross-section of impact and innovation led her to Demos Helsinki where she worked as a researcher and co-founded Peloton Club, an ecosystem and an early-stage accelerator for professionals building resource smart businesses in Scandinavia.

After completing a 10-week program on exponential technologies at Singularity University in 2015, she and a couple of other students founded Iris.ai, a machine learning startup. The goal of Iris.ai is to help researchers in both academia and corporations to speed up their research process. The startup collaborates with e.g. manufacturing, health and pharma and energy industry.

 ‘Rather than feeling pressured to follow a particular type of career path, follow your own interests and do the things that you think are meaningful. And remember, you learn by doing, so try boldly different things,’ emphasized Ritola.

Ritola also explained how the field of AI is continuously evolving, and she believes that AI courses should be offered for students without any background in coding or engineering. She added that continuous learning is important and, for example, people working with AI are constantly developing their know-how to be able to better understand and leverage the opportunities opening up around them.

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