Ryoji Matsuzaki found the power of teamwork through his studies – ‘By making a donation, I want to give back to my alma mater’
Ryoji Matsuzaki, a Master of Arts influenced by many cultures, was born in London and grew up in the United States. After having graduated as a graphic designer from Boston University, he returned to his parents' home country Japan and started his working career there.
‘I worked in a technology company as a user interface and user experience designer. My work included designing websites and smartphone applications, and developing their usability and user experience,’ Matsuzaki says.
After seven years of work, Matsuzaki started looking for education that would allow him to combine his design skills with business skills.
‘Finally, I found Aalto University's IDBM (International Design Business Management) programme. I applied to the programme and was admitted. I had never been to Finland before. Studying at Aalto marked the beginning of a new journey for me.’
In the inter-disciplinary IDBM programme, students of design, technology and economics tackle complex, real-life challenges. The two-year study programme focuses on product, service and business design, technology and innovation management.
Studying at Aalto was a valuable experience for Matsuzaki. ‘Half of the studies was something I knew to expect, but the other half was something I didn't even know existed. At the heart of my Aalto experience was finding new ideas, things and people. Through my studies, I also learned to rely more on myself and listen to myself.’
I feel that in Finland I can be the best version of myself
Acting as a donor to own university
Matsuzaki graduated as Master of Arts (Art and Design) from Aalto University in spring 2020. He applied for work in two companies in Finland, and found a job he liked in Schibsted Suomi Oy as a product and user experience designer in the online real estate marketplace Oikotie Asunnot. In job-seeking, Matsuzaki was helped by not only his educational background but also his earlier work experience.
‘My employer saw in me the benefits provided by Aalto's IDBM programme. The company lives by the value “we win together”, and the idea behind this is “we use our differences as strengths”. This is exactly what the education at Aalto was all about.’
Now, Matsuzaki wants to support the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture with his own donation.
‘I was given the opportunity to study at Aalto, and after that I found a good job in Finland, so I want to give something back to my alma mater.’
Finland is now Matsuzaki's home country. ‘I feel that in Finland I can be the best version of myself, and working here provides great opportunities and quality working conditions. I appreciate the Finnish working life and enjoy living in Finland. I greatly admire the fact that, in Finland, both the citizens and administration are very aware of sustainability issues.’
Text: Marjukka Puolakka