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'I'm glad that I’m able to help the students' - Lessons and inspiration from mentorship

A mentor from Aalto International Talent Program shares their story.
Matti Aksela kuvattuna siten, että suorakaiteen muotoinen valkoinen valo osuu hänen kasvoihinsa, tausta on tumma, sinisävyinen.
Matti Aksela. Photo: Aleksi Poutanen.

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

A chance to learn

Matti Aksela, D.Sc (Tech), VP, Services, WithSecure, third time Aalto International Talent Program mentor: 

‘Back when I was studying at the Helsinki University of Technology, one of the things I thought was really interesting was getting a glimpse of what life could be after your studies. It wasn’t very common to have interactions with people from industry, but I really valued them when they happened. 

I wasn’t specifically looking for an international program, but of course, in Finland we need to have the smartest minds working in the right places, and I’m a big supporter of diversity and happy to do my best to help people who don’t have a Finnish background or know Finnish working culture and hopefully make their transition a little easier. It also gives me the opportunity to speak with students from many different backgrounds and understand things from their perspective.

I’m glad that I’m able to help the students and give them what I honestly would have liked to have even more during my studies, which is exposure to experienced people and a chance to ask questions. And for me, trying to explain something allows me to understand it better. To share something, you need to structure it in your head and convey it in a way that others understand. It’s good practice for communication in general – so I see the program as a continuous learning opportunity for myself, as well as a chance to give back a little to the Aalto community and get to know many talented students.’

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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