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International student's journey of securing jobs in Finland

International Master's student Yijuan Wei shares her story of landing exciting jobs in Finland. With the help of Career Services and persistence in job seeking, she secured an internship in marketing and a summer job in service design.
The picture shows Master's student Yijuan Wei outdoors in the Finnish nature in Otaniemi in the autumn.
Yijuan Wei loves the Finnish nature and would very much like to stay in Finland after graduation if she finds a suitable job. Photo: Aalto University / Ari Toivonen

Yijuan Wei from northern China is a great example of how international students can find exciting internship and summer job opportunities in Finland. Wei recently graduated from the Bachelor's Programme in Economics and is now continuing her studies in the Master's Programme of Information and Service Management. During the winter of 2022-2023, she worked as a marketing intern at the Study in Finland organization of the Finnish National Agency for Education. During the summer of 2023, she also had the opportunity to explore the business world when she found a summer job in service design and customer journey mapping at Kone, a Finnish company that is a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry.

‘I enjoyed working with education because I am a people person and I want to empower others. However, I also enjoyed working in a large corporation like Kone, where I was able to collaborate with sales, marketing, and communications professionals and learn a lot about, for example, workplace communication. At both workplaces, I had the chance to do things where I've learned a lot but also had a lot to offer. I've been warmly welcomed even though I don't yet speak Finnish,’ says Yijuan, who speaks English very fluently.

However, job search has not been easy and Yijuan Wei hopes Finnish employers would be bolder about taking in international students, trusting their skills, capacity, as well as their ability to work and integrate into the Finnish work culture. She herself appreciates the help that the career service team of Aalto University School of Business has provided, including CV writing assistance and familiarization with Finnish work culture. She also emphasizes the importance of persistence, as she too received negative responses to many job applications.

‘When applying for a summer job or an internship, one should not be discouraged, as a negative answer does not necessarily mean that you are not qualified or capable. You may simply not have been the right person for that particular job. Through my job search process, I learned a lot about myself and which things I should emphasize in applications and interviews. I encourage everyone to reflect on what they have learned and where they can still improve after each job or internship.’

Studying, relaxation and fun

Finland was not completely unfamiliar to Yijuan Wei when she began her studies at Aalto, as she spent two weeks in Finland at the age of 16 on a summer camp organized by a friend of her mother. 

‘I got to know Helsinki, Kuusamo, and Lapland, as well as Finnish high school studies, culture, and winter sports despite it being summer. When my mother and I started looking for study opportunities in the Nordic countries, I came across Aalto University's Bachelor's Programme in Economics, which is taught in English and which seemed like a perfect match for me.’

Yijuan Wei began her studies at Aalto University in the fall of 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. Due to quarantine regulations, she was unable to participate in the orientation program for new students, and she missed out on many useful tips and knowledge. Thanks to her initiative and activity, however, Wei quickly became integrated into Finland, and she has also made friends with many of her classmates.

‘I recommend that all international students actively participate in various events organized by the university, student organizations AYY and KY, as well as the Aaltoes community, if you seek peer support in entrepreneurship. These events allow you to get to know other Aalto students, companies, and potential future employers. In student clubs, you can also pursue hobbies such as music, culture, and various sports. I appreciate that Finnish students do not limit their lives to studying but also reserve time for relaxation and fun.’

Healthy work-life balance

Studying in the Bachelor's Programme in Economics has been somewhat challenging, but also very rewarding for Yijuan Wei. The teachers are responsible and approachable, treating all students equally. However, cultural differences have sometimes caused a bit of confusion.

‘Me and many other international students have sometimes needed a little more guidance as to what is most essential among the large amount of things we need to learn and what is just 'nice to know' knowledge. And we students haven't perhaps always dared to ask questions about difficult topics, so as not to give an impression of being academically inadequate.’

In her current program, Master's Programme in Information and Service Management, Yijuan Wei is particularly interested in business analytics, and she believes that the strong data analytics skills she acquired in the Economics programme will be useful in her Master's studies. However, the wide range of courses offered by the School of Business also entices her to further complement her studies.

‘Many School of Business students go on student exchanges, and I am also interested in exchange studies. In addition, I may want to include CEMS Master in Management studies in my Master's degree, to further improve my job prospects’, Wei says.

Wei says that she would very much like to stay in Finland after graduation if she finds a suitable job. She appreciates the Finnish nature, the healthy work-life balance in Finnish workplaces and how encouraging Finnish workplaces are to new employees starting their careers. And as Finland needs talented international experts like Yijuan Wei, we wish her good luck in both her studies and job search after graduation!

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