'I realised that in Finland networking is very important' - Lessons and inspiration from mentorship

A mentee from Aalto International Talent Program shares their story.
Ulviyya Quliyeva kuvattuna sinivihreää taustaa vasten siten, että hänen kasvoilleen osuu kirkas suorakaiteen muotoinen valkoinen valokeila.
Ulviyya Quliyeva. Photo: Aleksi Poutanen.

For many students, university is a time to explore their potential and figure out their future. At Aalto, international students can connect with experienced mentors to guide them through the possibilities and challenges in this journey. We asked a mentee from Aalto International Talent Program about their experience and how it helped them. The Program provides mentoring in groups for international students.

Real life applications

Ulviyya Quliyeva, Doctoral researcher, School of Electrical Engineering, mentee in Aalto International Talent Program: 

‘I was thinking of switching to industry after I finish my PhD, so the International Talent Program was a great opportunity to talk with engineers and HR people from a company. I knew I want to work on products that make it into real life applications, but I didn’t know what kind of skills I should have. 

Doing a PhD is a bit different from industrial work because you focus on one specific area of research. I realised that to work in industry I should improve my skills in certain areas to be competitive for the types of positions I want to apply to. Now I’m taking specific courses in addition to what I was already doing so my skills will match the requirements of the companies which interest me.

The environment was very relaxed and stress-free. You could ask as many questions as you wanted, and we asked a lot.

As an international student, the mentoring helped me because I realised that in Finland networking is very important. That was kind of a turning point for me. After that, I started going to different events and trying to get to know people in different companies instead of being isolated without professional connections in Finland.

I haven’t really had very much exposure to industry, so taking part in the mentoring program was really important. Now I’m sure I want to switch to industry.’

What is Aalto International Talent Program?

The Aalto International Talent Program launched in 2020. Now in its fourth year, the programme has connected over 550 master’s and doctoral students with mentors at 26 companies. Many companies have taken part year after year, a testament to the programme’s value. 

‘We aim to help students learn about Finnish working life and culture and get to know the companies and of course build their networks. Our goal is to encourage students to stay in Finland by enabling them to build a career here over the long term,’ explains programme manager Kaisa Paasivirta.

This article has been published in the Aalto University Magazine issue 32, April 2023.

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