Summer School Alum story: "Aalto University has been a fantastic start to my career in Finland"
Seowon Jung left the vibrant and busy Seoul in South Korea for Finland two years ago to pursue a dream of working in an international environment and staying true to her mindset to always keep an open mind for new challenges. Seowon worked as a Product Marketer at L’Oréal’s Korean branch for two years. When her Finnish partner, then based in Korea, suggested they’d take a leap of faith and explore life in Finland together, Seowon said yes.
‘At first, I was a bit reluctant about the move. After all, I had built both an extremely valuable network and my professional role in Korea. However, my gut feeling kept on persuading me that it was now or never before I had rooted myself in my home country. In my free time, I love to clear my mind with calm and quite asocial activities such as yoga, meditation and jogging, so perhaps there already lives a little Finn inside of me.’, says Seowon.
Seowon holds a Bachelor’s degree in business and German literature from EWHA Women’s University in Seoul and works as a Digital Marketing Specialist at the Nordic fintech company Saldo Finance. When arriving in Finland, she began working towards her Master’s degree in marketing at Aalto University. She found studying at Aalto a soft transition into the Finnish culture and a good stepping stone for a career in Finland.
In 2020, Seowon took part in both the summer minor Information Technology Program (ITP) and the Digital Business Master Class (DBMC) at Aalto University Summer School. The DBMC is a challenge-based course focusing on digital technologies to build businesses. Students work in international teams during the intensive course to plan digital solutions for real business cases from partnering companies.
How have you translated the skills and concepts from DBMC and ITP to your career?
- The DBMC was a very rewarding experience overall. I will never forget how all of us students had to fly back to our home countries after a week in Finland when the borders started closing due to the corona pandemic. We didn’t know then that when the course seamlessly switched to online mode, it would be the beginning of a whole new way of studying and working.
- The opportunity to listen to lecturers with so many different areas of expertise has taught me about various aspects of digital marketing.
- Working with actual Finnish companies and organisations gave me important insights into Finnish work culture, making it easier for me to apply for jobs in Finland.
- During the ITP, students solve digital challenges for real-life companies, and it gave me a clear overview of what a Finnish organisation looks and operates like.
- My ITP company project focused on mobile application and UX design. These were both new areas for me, but something that I now have come across regularly during my time as a Digital Marketing Manager.
Have you gained connections during the courses that have helped you integrate into the Finnish work life?
Yes, most definitely. After the ITP, I saw a job posting on the ITP alumni Facebook page, applied and got my first and current job in Finland at fintech company Saldo Finance.
How does Finnish work-life differ from Korean work-life?
Finland is ranked as the happiest country in the world for four years in a row now, and I am sure it correlates with the work-life balance we have in Finland. It is probably something that many Finns take for granted, but the freedom and trust that my employer gives me is very different to the high-growth and competitive work culture in Korea.
How can we make the balance between genders more proportionate in the male-dominated tech industry?
As a female, I feel that it is more important than ever to keep all options open and not outrule certain industries and areas. In Korea, I worked in a female-dominated industry and never thought about tapping into a career in finance. My two years at Aalto also helped me gaining access to areas that I normally would not have been able to.
Do you have any tips for future DBMC students and ITP students?
Don’t limit yourself and be prepared for the unexpected. The DBMC allows you to scratch the surface on so many different topics that you might want to delve into a completely different topic than you thought from the beginning.
Stay active during the lectures and connect with both other students and the lecturers. Don’t feel shy about asking the lecturers about career advice, they are more than happy to provide tips and expertise.
Where are you heading next? What inspires you right now?
Careerwise I am extremely eager to continue working with expansion to other regions, especially European countries. I love to deep-dive into each market’s characteristics. On a personal side I am hoping to travel again, and explore more of Finland and get to know the Finnish culture even better.
As a final tip, Seowon encourages us to try out the best Korean food in town at GIWA restaurant in downtown Helsinki. Enjoy!
Read more about Aalto University Summer School and secure your place for our courses this summer.
Read more about Seowon here.
Tyler Spring attended the Digital Business Master Class in July 2019, and has successfully translated the course insights into positive changes at his work.