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International cooperation and surfing in Portugal - Miro-Markus Nikula is studying his master's in a double degree programme

Miro-Markus is studying Communications and Data Science, and he is looking forward to a year in Lisbon and has already started studying Portuguese.
Student Miro-Markus Nikula
Miro-Markus Nikula. Image: Nelli Sillanpää.

Miro-Markus Nikula, who has a bachelor's degree in information technology, started last autumn as the first student at Aalto University in the new Master's programme in Communications and Data Science. It’s a two-year double-degree programme implemented in collaboration with two other European universities. In addition to Aalto University, participating universities are the Grenoble Institute of Technology, part of the Université Grenoble Alpes, and Técnico Lisboa, part of the Universidade de Lisboa.

Students start their studies at one of these universities and change their place of study to another university after the first year. Next autumn, Miro-Markus is moving to Lisbon.

Why did you choose the double-degree programme in Communications and Data Science?

I heard about this programme last spring and became interested when I heard that the second year is spent studying abroad, either in the Grenoble in the Alps or Lisbon. Grenoble is great for skiers and Lisbon is just a great place for surfers. I like to surf, and I’ve been on surf trips in Portugal before, so this sounded exciting.

Data science is a subject I would have wanted to study more anyway. But in addition to it, I wanted to have something extra in my master's degree. I have been working at Huawei for three summers and two of them on the telecommunications side, and through that, the other half of the programme is also familiar.

The big thing was the second year abroad: I want to see how things are done in Portugal and meet new people - and of course to surf!

What benefits do you see in the internationality of the programme?

Internationality is always a positive thing! Someday, I would like to start a business and I look forward to seeing the vibrant start-up scene in Lisbon. After the year is over, I am in no hurry to come back to Finland. Let's see what happens!

What has been the best thing about your studies?

I’ve enjoyed the Machine Learning course, which started this spring. I’m also looking forward to the project course that has just started, where I will work with my classmates studying in France.

What do you expect from your studies in Portugal?

I look forward to the difference and to being able to work with the Portuguese people. In my job, I have learned about Chinese work culture  and, of course, I know the Finnish way of working, so I want to expand my understanding. I also started studying Portuguese and I look forward to learning to speak it.

What does the future of the field look like?

Data analysis and machine learning are important in every field, they are utilised from medicine to sports. Telecommunications are not disappearing anywhere, and big topics in the future include 6G, increased data usage, and evolving telecommunications networks. Data analysis can be used to develop telecommunications, for example, to improve network capabilities, allocate resources, and automate processes.

Why should students in Grenoble and Lisbon come to Aalto University?

In Finland, society works well, for example, we have efficient public transport and good services for students, such as affordable student lunch. The climate and environment here are quite different and it is worth coming to Finland to see nature, snow, and northern lights.

Aalto's student culture is also worth experiencing. The best things are communality, like-minded people, trips, and parties.

Read more about the programme

Professori Stephan Sigg, image: Evelin Kask

Professor Stephan Sigg: Communications and Data Science offers a good mix of relevant topics

In this master's programme, students study in two different European universities. Professor Sigg reminds that studying in different environments and countries opens many new doors.

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Students studying together

Communications and Data Science, Master of Science (Technology)

The Communications and Data Science Double Degree Programme covers a range of timely, industry topics relevant to modern fields of engineering. Communications and Data Science is a two-year master's programme, with student mobility between Aalto University, Grenoble INP Graduate schools of Engineering and Management at Université Grenoble Alpes, or Técnico Lisboa at Universidade de Lisboa.

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