The first Aalto Thesis Fair brought together 13 companies and over 200 international students

The aim of the first Thesis Fair was to help international students find master’s thesis positions and open doors to the Finnish labour market.
People networking at a career event inside a lobby area.
Students and company representatives meeting each other at Thesis Fair. Photo: Aalto University / Mikko Raskinen

The Thesis Fair was organised at Aalto University for the first time on 31 October 2023. The aim of the event was to give Aalto University's international master's students the opportunity to meet Finnish employers and find a potential thesis placement. A thesis done together with a company connects the international student closely to the Finnish labour market and is strongly linked to the likelihood of the student staying in Finland after graduation.

The Thesis Fair brought together 13 companies or employer organisations and over 200 international students. In the beginning, the companies were introduced to Aalto University's practices supporting the thesis process, and students were introduced to the needs and prospects of Finnish working life. The students' event was organised by The Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland and The Business School Graduates in Finland.

Positive feedback from the event - students still wish for more companies to join

The main part of the event, networking, got off to a flying start when active and enthusiastic students toured the companies' stands for almost 3 hours. The feedback from students was mostly positive, but many of them wished that more companies from all fields of Aalto University would participate. ‘It would be better if companies had their thesis topics prepared beforehand, so that students could know which jobs they’re interested in’, indicated one student in their feedback.

The responsibility for finding a thesis topic is controversial, as many companies said they would be willing to hire a thesis worker if the initiative comes from the student and the proposed topic is suitable. While the companies also offer open thesis positions, they are not necessarily available throughout the year or at the time when students are looking for them. In the future, it is therefore important to consider how best to match the supply and demand of thesis positions to suit the needs of the students. 

The attending companies also felt that the event was a success and praised the compact event concept and the good atmosphere. 

’The Thesis Fair was a great way to get to know Aalto students and meet potential employees. The duration of the event was also perfect as it didn't require a full day of participation and I still had time to meet a lot of students,’ said Elena Bazhenova, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Visual Components.

University students at a networking event in a lobby.
Thesis Fair was organized at the lobby of Maarintie 8, which was filled with students and company representatives. Photo: Aalto University / Mikko Raskinen

International students need continued support

Based on the experiences and the feedback gathered from the first Thesis Fair, the concept of the event will be evaluated and developed accordingly. It is clear that international students need support in finding thesis placements in the future as well. 

’The Thesis Fair is a concrete way to help our international students, who have a very limited time to make meaningful professional contacts before starting their thesis. The event concept also received positive feedback from employers, and many companies that could not participate now expressed their interest in participating if the event is organised again next year,’ says Niina Malkamäki, Talent Boost Specialist at Aalto University, who was the main organizer of the Thesis Fair.

13 employers registered for the Thesis Fair. Participants included large companies, SMEs and research institutes. The employers registered for the Thesis Fair were Aiedus, Anora Group, City of Espoo, Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, Kimmy Photonics, Konecranes, Metso, Nelinor, Nokia, Repolar Pharmaceuticals, Visual Components, VTT and Wärtsilä.

Do you want to reach Aalto University's international students?

Thesis Fair was organised by Career Design Lab, which brings together Aalto University students, alumni and employers interested in them. Aalto has over 3000 international degree students, most of whom are willing to stay in Finland after graduation. If you're an employer looking to reach these students before they leave the country, check out Career Design Lab's employer services or get in touch to learn more about recruiting international students.

Niina Malkamäki

Niina Malkamäki

Talent Boost Specialist
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