What kind of tools did you get from your studies that have been useful in your working life?
Since my job is relevant to some extent to the course content I participated in, I have been able to apply the knowledge I gained at Aalto directly into my work, which has been great. Obviously through work I have learned new skills as well, but starting off with a solid foundation already was a big advantage (which also helped to offset the disadvantage of having less-than-professional Finnish skills at the very start).
Where are you working now? How did you end up in your current job?
I am currently working as an Acoustic Designer (akustiikkasuunnittelija in Finnish) in A-Insinöörit. Part of my Master’s courses were directly relevant to the job I am doing (mostly in the field of building acoustics), as well as my thesis.
I was introduced to this branch of acoustics during my time at Aalto, and I devoted a significant part of my job search to entering this field. I was lucky to have received an interview offer from LinkedIn seemingly out of nowhere (I was contacted through e-mail after liking a post from who then would become my boss), but I had applied to essentially all Finnish companies who were working in acoustics. Sometimes, it just takes a bit of luck.
How does the future of the field look like?
Right now, the construction industry, and by extension A-Insinöörit’s field of work, is looking quite bleak (as are other industries as well). Luckily, in the acoustics unit, work continues to be sufficient so we are moving along in a positive direction despite the challenges. Hopefully this will pick back up in the coming years.
What would you want to say to international students who are considering applying to Aalto and moving to Finland?
Definitely take the opportunity because Finland is a unique place, and great for student life. Do not be afraid of the cold and dark, that can be mitigated easily!
Aside from studying, having a “homebase” in Helsinki opens up the Nordic region for traveling, which is often considered far away from the rest of the world, and even rest of Europe sometimes. Day or weekend trips to Stockholm, Oslo, the Baltics, or even within Finland are easily accessible and highly worth going to.
In terms of after studying prospects: a lot of people are attracted to Finland and Aalto for studying, but then either refuse to stay here, or cannot due to the difficulty in finding and securing a job. Companies seem to have started loosening their Finnish language requirements, but the biggest tip I would have for people who choose to come here is to incorporate Finnish courses (either within their Aalto curriculum or not) and dedicate significant effort into developing a semi-professional proficiency. Finnish is a tough language, but 2 years of consistent courses and practice will be suitable. I am lucky enough that my colleagues in the office speak English with me, but I am proficient enough to be able to communicate with clients in Finnish, as most of them do not speak English.
The effort required in securing a job here is quite high, but the reward after having achieved it is many times worth it, in my opinion.