Discovering new areas of comfort zone by sailing away from the safe harbor – My summer as a part of Tietolife

13.2.2018, ottobergius

I remember that one May morning as it was only yesterday: I sat in a lobby of Tieto Keilalahti HQ and waited for my first day of summer internship to begin. I felt extremely enthousiastic as my five months wait was finally over: at last it was the time to change the scenery from uni’s library and lecture halls into bustling and inspiring office life (which in this case is better known as #tietolife).

But in order to speak honestly, this feeling of being over the moon enthousiastic included a tiny twist inside my own head. As quietly in my mind I was wondering how I will adapt into one of the biggest IT companies in the Europe with background of a pure business student without any earlier experience on basically anything IT-related. And in that sense, I felt bit like sailing away of my own safe harbour and leaving on adventure to see where the limits of my comfort zone truly are. You never know if you never try, right? Nevertheless, those silly thoughts of mine were soon totally washed away as I became more familiar with the opportunities for people with a business background inside the company. Even though Tieto might fundamentally be a house of Software and Tech, it most certainly doesn’t mean that each of the job there is only an IT job. It’s also a house of Business understanding.

I listed below three main cornerstones of my summer, which enabled me to adapt into the tech world:

1) My work and the co-workers

I was instantly taken as a part of team: Already on my first workday, I participated in the meetings like any other of my co-workers. And when the first workweek was over, I had, for example, already spent two whole days in Sales Hackathon in Stockholm and learned valuable information of the Tieto’s Financial Services business and the unit that I just had recently joined as a Junior Sales Trainee. Right starting from my first day, I was for sure engrossed into the world of Fintech with various inspiring insights from many professionals of the field and I was also given multiple interesting and variating work assignments right from the beginning. I was also beyond lucky to get to work with talented and experienced people who were willing to share their expertise with me, as well as support and help me when learning and working with tech related stuff wasn’t always a bed of roses.

2) Tieto’s engagement to their trainees

Right starting from my first interview round it was made clear to me that Tieto invests in its trainees and wants me to succeed and develop together with them. This was also concretely proved to me during my summer internship: besides being given interesting tasks and good amount of responsibility, I was trusted and priviledged to see, experience and learn Tieto’s Financial Digital Channels business from various angles in order to explore where I could feel most at ”home”. I was also given an opportunity to continue working part-time besides of my studies and I was told about the future opportunities regarding my master’s thesis and my possible future career at Tieto.

3) Networks – People people and once more people

One of the most memorable event of my summer internship was the traditional Tieto Take-Off day, which gathers together all the new employees from the Nordics into a two-day seminar filled with different activities and interesting presentations – not to forget the event program in the Helsinki city center! That was the occasion where I finally met my fellow summer trainees and other newcomers, who provided me with invaluable peer support during the summer and as well offered perspective and familiarized me with the other units and businesses inside of Tieto. Or let alone all those afternoon coffee breaks spent with them on the sunny 8th floor rooftop terrace when the whole office was pretty much quiet during the busiest holiday season! One other very important perk of my Tietolife was also the network of Tieto Young Professionals that organizes a wide variety of different activities such as afterworks.


And if things like these won’t make you feel like at home at your new job, I most certainly don’t know what does! And when it comes to my initial setting as a bare-foot business student in the IT-company, I learned the most important thing: By stepping out of your assumed comfort zone might make you see that it’s even larger than you thought. And that’s also the best way to discover and acquire new perspectives and ways of thinking – and as a bonus: learning a lot about yourself is guaranteed!


Niina Hokkanen

M.Sc Economics Student

Giant Leap was a turning point for Niina

26.1.2018, ottobergius

I started my Vaisala career as a Giant Leap intern in summer 2016. What you need to know about “Giant Leapers” is that each of them is assigned with a project that they need to solve – only in a few months! In my project, I worked in the Industrial Measurements Business Area, developing system testing practices. The project ended up being very hands-on: I got to build an automated test station which enables nightly regression tests for products under development. As such, the experience proved to be an intriguing mixture of hardware, software and networks.

After the summer, I continued to work on the subject as a Master’s Thesis Worker. The framework for automated tests – my Giant Leap Project – was ready by then, and now it was time to build the actual test setups. The work included such interesting tasks as the creation of hardware prototypes and programming of a test library. In the end, I managed to develop a setup that enabled automated tests for smart measurement probes.

In the spring 2017, I graduated from Aalto University with Electrical Engineering as my major, but the work I started at Vaisala still continues, as I now work with test automation and system testing. Thus applying for the Giant Leap project proved to be a turning point in my career. Vaisala is truly a great place to work with a combination of meaningful tasks, friendly coworkers and professional atmosphere.


Niina Kajovuori,

Test engineer

So what’s up with the Facilities Sector?

23.1.2018, riitunuutinen

Rentable facilities and event venues are one of AYY’s most significant member services. AYY’s Facilities Sector works to ensure that those facilities and venues meet the needs and standards of the users. Other parties, such as the Campus Section and the Smökki kitchen training team, also have a large role to play in the development.

AYY’s facilities can be rented and booked by both associations and individual members alike. The venues enable organizing many different kinds of events and gatherings, and through this, they act as a strong developer of community.

The upkeep and development of the facilities are the responsibility of the Facilities Sector, comprised of a yearly changing member of the Board in charge of facilities, the Service Manager and other members of staff from the Service and Real Estate sectors. Because there is a large amount of facilities and some of them are very frequently rented, the information received from renting parties in the form of checklists is crucial to our work. So thank you all of you who fill out and return the checklists promptly! With the lists, the Facilities Sector can quickly learn of any deficiencies or faults and can remedy and renovate them as quickly as possible.


The brightly lit Ossinkulma, the Ossinsauna (renovated by the Campus Sector), the traditional Rantasauna, and the Atlantinkatu sauna, situated in the Jätkäsaari building in Helsinki.


AYY Facilities Sector in numbers in 2017:

  • 9 saunas
  • 17 ballrooms for sitsi parties and other events
  • Over 7000 bookings during 2017 (a staggering amount!)
  • 1 completely new facility (Atlantinkatu cabinet & sauna) 
  • 1 completely renovated facility (Ossinsauna, thank you Campus Section!)
  • 2 pre-booking events (known more endearingly as “tilakähmyt”)
  • Several updates on amenities in different venues: PA systems, home appliances, furniture, crockery and tableware…


What’s going down in 2018?

The renovations for Jämeräntaival 3, 5 and 7 continue, which will affect clubrooms, rentable venues and storage spaces situated in these buildings during 2018. No new bookings have been accepted for Gorsu since the 8th of January, and the next rentable facilities that will be removed from the roster are the Tatami Hall and the Living Room of Teekkari Village (on the 1st of April), as well as the Multi-Facility Hall (1st of July). By the turn of the year, the renovations will also cause the Sitsi Kitchen, Takka Cabinet and Rooftop Sauna venues to be out of use for some time. The renovations will challenge event organizers, but they also bring options to develop the venues themselves. We aim to listen to the wishes and feedback of users even more when designing and renovating our facilities. We will surely return to this during 2018! Feedback and ideas can already be sent to the Facilities Sector, via for example email to

And yes, we really do read the checklists you return!

Have an awesome spring!

Riitu Nuutinen
Works as the Service Manager for AYY

All AYY rental facilities, booking instructions and terms of use can be found on the AYY web pages at:

AYY awarded the students’ Seal of Approval to the quiet room in the Undergraduate Centre

04.1.2018, rosavaisanen

AYY awarded the student’s Seal of Approval to the quiet room that was opened in the Undergraduate Centre in May 2017. The award was presented to Seija Piiponniemi-Lahti, the Head of Security at Aalto University, by AYY’s 2017 Board Member Emmi Kosomaa and International Affairs Specialist Rosa Väisänen.

AYY’s Emmi Kosomaa ja Rosa Väisänen (on the left) awarded the Seal of Approval to Seija Piiponniemi-Lahti and HR Manager Eliisa Lassila. Picture: Eeva Lehtinen.

The Aalto University quiet room was opened for the purpose of private, quiet times of meditation, calming down, praying or just being, and the room can be used by all Aalto students and staff regardless of  their religion, world views and nationality. At Aalto, there are both religious and non-religious people that need a space for prayers and silence during the working day. Opening this room to the public is a great example of the development work of an international university that is aware of the needs of an international community. Thanks to this and the positive user experiences, AYY is happy to give the Seal of Approval to the quiet room.

The quiet room is located in the Otaniemi Undergraduate Centre on the ground floor of the M wing (room M135).

Read more:

Quiet room opens in Undergraduate Centre

Students’ Seal of Approval can be awarded to practices that students have found especially good at Aalto University. By awarding the Seal of Approval we want to give credit to those practices that somehow improve e.g. students’ wellbeing, study meaningfulness, interaction or community atmosphere. AYY’s advocacy sector collects ideas from different areas of the University with the help of students and awards the best ones a couple of times a year!

Intercultural competence is an ethical mindset

15.12.2017, susannakoistinen

Intercultural competences, multicultural interaction skills, call it by any name, but still it’s all about how a person can act in a global world.

European Association of International Education (EAIE) has a yearly conference of over 6000 participants and I had the pleasure of giving a speech there this year in Seville in September. EAIE is a meeting point for higher education institutions looking for partnerships, marketing their international programmes, and most importantly for us, for teachers, researchers and developers interested in international affairs. Five-day conference is full of exposition excitement, workshops and wonderful speakers, and it gave me a lot of new energy for student advocacy work for this academic year.

Sevilla is a beautiful place.

I gave a five minute long Ignite speech about our Aalto is multicultural project, where we gathered information on the experiences of international students and their teachers. Especially we focused on “learning shock”-phenomenon and other challenges to integration ( You can see it from here:

I had the honor of giving also a joint session with professor Wendy Green from the University of Tasmania and Hanna Berentz, a german students, who had studied in the Netherlands. Our session dealt with student participation in different countries. Especially interesting is how student participation is a mandatory part of higher education governance, with strong student unions, but is very limited, unofficial and new in Australia (Our presentation with notes can be downloaded here (PDF): eaie presentation with notes).

Internationalization at home.

It was excellent to get to talk about internationalizing the curriculum with people, whose names I usually just see in the covers of books. Especially inspiring was to discuss the meaning and importance of international competences from a wider point of view than just work life skills or personal development.

Brexit, rising international tensions and climate refugees in the near future raised a lot of discussion. Many speakers stressed the importance of intercultural competences to all people regardless of background, so that we are not polarizing people to winners and losers of globalization. Highly educated privileged people take most out of free movement and globalization, but to others at the moment globalization just means losing their jobs.

Specialist at the spot.

Other big theme at the conference was the understanding of the importance of cultures. You can learn vocabulary by heart, but really understanding the meaning of cultural backgrounds and knowing how to adjust to a multicultural environment takes practice. Many discussions ended to the conclusion that knowing and appreciating one’s own culture is the key to understanding others.

Lastly I must mention a workshop on different academic disciplines and internationality. It was very interesting to ponder on the effect of the scientific background to internationalizing the classrooms. People form hard sciences see internationality and cultures differently from language experts and psychologists. That has to be taken into account when integrating international and multicultural skills to teaching.

Network of cultures

Passion Drives Success

11.12.2017, ottobergius

I have always been attracted by the success stories about self-made men: sportsmen, leaders, thinkers, entrepreneurs… you name it. An interesting observation from those stories is that even though they all have different starting points and a route, they appear to end successfully. After reading dozens of different stories I have understood at least one very simple rule: there isn’t a golden route to success. You should focus on things that you really love and desire, and trust it will lead to happiness.

Besides people, I find the same success factors meaningful for the companies. It maybe sounds naïve, but I think the reason for Accenture’s success, the company I am working for, is different kinds of passionate people with various backgrounds, worldviews, and skillsets. As a combination of skills, the company itself is greater than the sum of its parts.

My passion towards success stories stems from the time when I was a small city boy, who had major dreams but minor circles. Reading interesting stories gave me on the same time desire and perspective to carry on with a can-do attitude. I realized I would be the sum of my decisions and write my own story.

After graduation, I was sure I would head to business school, but otherwise, it was all blur. Studying went well, but I was more interested in overall learning than university grades. The practical business fascinated me more than theory and therefore I decided to start my own businesses. I left Vaasa after three years of studying and ever since, besides my master’s thesis, I have focused on practise; first in banking and currently in consulting. In a way, I perceive my current position as a result of different choices I have made earlier – “connecting the dots” as Steve Jobs has said.

From my point of view, I want to encourage everyone to try different fields in university and listen to internal passion instead of making things that external factors wish you to perform.

Have an efficient and passionate winter!


Juuso Pelkonen

Management Consulting Analyst, Financial Services

M.Sc. (Industrial Management), University of Vaasa

AYY awarded the students’ Seal of Approval to ARTS’s University Wide Art Studies

30.10.2017, katarinavesikko

UWAS offers ARTS courses to all Aalto students. There is a varied array of courses on offer. The course selection has been planned and implemented from the point of view of art education, and it offers the possibility for students of different areas of expertise to get to know the arts in a diverse way, from the perspectives of art-inspired thought processes, creativity and culture. AYY encourages multidisciplinary thinking and ways to build knowledge on how art and the creative arts affect the surrounding world. With these grounds in mind, the UWAS studies are awarded the students’ Seal of Approval to signify an awesome practice inside the Aalto University.


UWAS is a collection of art courses, available to everyone studying at Aalto. The foremost aim is to understand learning and teaching from a different point of view. The courses can act as gateways to new thoughts and help understand what the role of arts and design are in Aalto, and what opportunities they bring out in the world. Artistic thought is approached on a broad scale. Lifelong learning is one of the key motives of UWAS.


The courses are aimed to help students learn innovative ways of working. The studies include a lot of observation and interpretation. The aim is to guide students towards a “what if” style of thinking. From the student’s perspective, the courses are often discussion-based. The studies offer the students insight and depth, help to realize what you already know and how to take a new approach on the things you’ve learned. A student remarked that after one of the UWAS courses, they had learned more on marketing than during their entire marketing studies altogether. The studies enable students to deepen their understanding and to combine their learning and skills over different fields of expertise. The courses do not teach students any tricks or trends, but rather focus on expanding their understanding of things.

Seal of Approval.

IN SHORT: The UWAS courses are for everyone, also for students of technology and business. The courses are organized throughout the year and signups are open even now. If you feel like artistic thinking is hard for you, challenging yourself might be a good idea. If you want new perspectives to your studies or include ARTS studies in your degree, UWAS is a great option.

The Future is Created in Cities

13.9.2017, ottobergius

If someone would have told me 2 years ago that in the future I’d be working for the city, I would not have believed them. My work history is diverse, including sales and marketing, business development and conducting consulting & leadership studies both in Finland and internationally. I also have a multidisciplinary education – I graduated as a Master of Science in Economics from Aalto University School of Business and as a Doctor of Science in Technology from the Aalto University Department of Industrial Engineering and Management (DIEM). Despite this, I’ve never gotten to know anyone in my work or studying career who has applied their knowledge of business or leadership on a municipal level. So, as I was putting the finishing touches on my doctoral dissertation on innovation leadership and musing on the possible employers I might have in the future, I mainly thought of vacancies in big international corporations or the central government of Finland.

I stumbled upon a call for applications that totally changed my way of thinking. The City of Espoo was hiring an economic development manager, whose job would entail developing the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems and leading complex collaboration networks. The job included possibilities to be a part of broad strategy work, but it also had opportunities to help the conditions of entrepreneurship and working on a grassroots level. I decided to apply for the job, and I was hired.

It was, without a doubt, the best decision of my work career so far.

Finland is urbanizing, albeit slower than the countries it’s being compared to, but it is still doing so, at a fast rate. People are moving to areas with easy-to-reach services and where solutions of the future are developed and implemented. There are not many areas like that in a country like Finland. The metropolitan area for example creates about half of our service exports. It is a global trend – humans are finally becoming an urban species. If you want to be in the center of things and get a grassroots contact to central public, private, local and international operators, there’s no better place to be than in a growing city.

And Espoo is growing – to be exact, it has increased in population tenfold in the last 50 years. That’s an incredible pace. The people that live here that are incredible as well; the highest-educated, least sick, and in addition to Helsinki and Vantaa, the most international. The Otaniemi area, measuring at only a few square kilometers, is home to such a nucleus of research and development that there’s not a place that could rival it anywhere in Northern Europe.

Espoo population 1980-2015 and projection models until 2050 (Click to enlarge the picture)

A general expert who is quick on their feet is much sought-after in a field like this. You need to understand the needs of different operators and be able to fit them together. You need to be able to act efficiently in a rapidly changing environment, in addition to working within a strategic timeframe that spans several decades. You also need excellent skills in communications and interaction. I know that the training of an economist offers, due to its multidisciplinary and challenging nature, an excellent background to these tasks. Thus, I recommend that especially business students would keep a closer eye on formerly “unsexy” calls for hire made by the city. The future is created in cities.

Welcome to Otaniemi and Espoo, the Most Sustainable City in Europe, and the most innovative city in Finland.


Harri Paananen

Head of Economic Development, City of Espoo


Why Small and Medium Enterprises Need to Focus on Internationalization of Workforce

22.8.2017, ahtoharmo

In this blog post Alok Jain from AYY’s Corporate Relations section writes about the internationalization of Small and Medium Enterprises and how AYY aims to boost it by arranging My Career in Finland event for the international talent of the Aalto community.

In Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) internationalization of workforce might not be a priority. Usually, the need for the international workforce is felt when SMEs venture into a new market or when it requires specific skills. However, internationalization of workforce in SMEs can prove to be much more useful. In today’s turbulent industrial environment, internationalization can help SMEs in its survival and early recognition of opportunities.

SMEs ride on the wave of turbulence that exists in today’s business environment. The business environment of almost all the industry is changing at a fast pace and it is not going to stop in near future. Change is real and it is coming! The success of most of the SMEs today may be attributed to their ability to foresee opportunities in turbulence and capitalize on it. Consequently, it can be said with utmost certainty, that survival and success of SMEs in future will depend on its ability to ride the wave of turbulence in the respective industry. In such business environment, stability or equilibrium is the precursor to death. Organizational stability is the greatest risk for which SMEs need to plan its strategy. Strategic planning in a complex and unforeseen environment is always a difficult task, however; the positive aspect of a complex environment is that it has the capacity to self-organize! Therefore, to avoid organizational stability, it just needs to be disturbed! The dots do connect, and connect for better if the lattice is disturbed in just the right way!

This is achieved because bounded instability is the breeding ground for innovation. A perfectly stable organizational environment does not generate innovative solutions, nor does a highly chaotic one. A right mix of chaos can instill the capability to innovate. The right mix of chaos can disturb the organizational lattice and reorganize it with innovation! The right mix of chaos can help SMEs survive in the turbulent business environment. The right mix of chaos has always been a key for survival; it is the law of nature. Nature has created diversity to induce right mix of chaos and help survival. The species without diversity among it is the most vulnerable to external threat. This is because a lack of diversity makes it easier for external agents to plan their move against such species.

This is true for organizations as well. People are the chromosomes of organizations. People are the genetic material of the organization that creates diversity and induces right mix of chaos! Such diversity within the organization makes them less vulnerable to turbulent business environment. Internationalization of workforce, thus, is an urgent need of SMEs.

True, SMEs can hire international people to achieve this objective, but here’s the rub: this alone is not sufficient to bring the required diversity and right mix of chaos. The existing social order and organizational culture act as ‘antibodies’ to neutralize the advantage of diversity. Internationalization of workforce can be achieved when the organizational culture allows accommodating different opinions and encourages personal development.

To facilitate this AYY is organizing a career event targeted to international members of the community with the name ‘My Career in Finland’ on the 21st November of 2017. The event is expected to see participation from 400 international students representing 95 different nationality. The event features different career related workshops, talks and networking opportunity with companies. Register an employer stand at the event now! Follow this link to know more about the event.

Alok Jain
AYY’s Corporate Relations Section

Blog text Adapted from Pascale, R.T. ‘Surfing the edge of chaos’, Sloan management review, 1999.

Survey on health care services and health insurances of international students – the alarming results

15.6.2017, movaska

Students from outside of the EU/EEA need to have a residency permit to start their studies in Finland, and having a private health insurance is one of the requirements for getting a residency permit. Degree students of all nationalities are entitled to a home municipality in Finland and can use public healthcare services. Students from EU member countries can use public health care services with a European Health Insurance Card. All university students who are members of any student union can also use the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS/YTHS). However, international students do not have access to KELA benefits (unless they work in Finland for a certain time period).

Aalto University Student Union (AYY) in cooperation with the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) has conducted a survey on the use of these healthcare services and health insurances among international students in Finland. The survey was produced by the research foundation Otus. The anonymous survey collected 475 answers from students in Aalto and Helsinki universities, 246 of which were degree or exchange students from Aalto University.

In the survey we wanted to find out how well international students know the health service providers, how do the health insurances work and what kind of channels are used to get information on these issues. In the next sections we will first go over receiving care, then health insurances and issues with these.


Receiving treatment

In this section we will present results on how well international students received treatment. One of the questions was how well international students received required health care services while staying in Finland. These results are covered in table 1.


Table 1. Have you received the required care or health services in Finland? (n= 303)


There is a clear difference between students who have come from EU/EAA countries and students from outside EU/EEA in attainment of health care services. Only 64% of non-EU/EEA students said they felt they got the required treatment always or on most occasions, whereas 81% of EU/EEA students report the same.

Out of the students from both EU/ETA and other countries those who did not always receive the care they needed brought up different reasons. These results are represented in table 2.


Table 2. If you have not always received required healthcare, how often did you receive care despite these reasons? (n= 475) (NB. there was an option to choose several reasons)


The main reason for not getting treatment among participants was not knowing what their insurance covered. 64% of the respondents felt that unawareness of these issues lead to them receiving required treatment sometimes, seldom, or never at all. The other major reasons were not being aware of available services and being deemed not eligible for aid by health care services.


Health insurances used by international students

In this section we will go over different health insurances used by international students and their experiences with applying for compensation and dealing with insurance companies. These questions were asked only from students from outside EU/ETA for whom the insurance is required.

There are several health insurance providers international students use. The insurance recommended by Finnish authorities and universities is SIP Insurances, according to a tendering process done in the early 2010s by a consortium of universities. SIP Insurances have a market share of 26% among the respondents. As seen in table 3, other popular insurances are Swisscare (27%) and International Student Insurance (13%).

Table 3. Health insurance provider (n=323) 


The respondents were also asked about the process of acquiring an insurance. Only 38% of the respondents felt they had received enough information regarding the contents of the insurance and the terms of compensation, as seen in table 4. Buying an insurance does not seem to be a difficult process for the respondents, but it seems that students just get the insurance for the sake of getting the residency permit – without really knowing how the insurance functions or what its coverage is.



Table 4. Opinions on getting the insurance among students with insurance (n= 323)

As seen in table 5, the biggest problem of getting insurance was not knowing what kind of insurance one should buy, which 35% of respondents found to be an issue. 30% felt it was difficult to find information on the different available options. According to the official report the most popular source of information were university pages (32%), Migri web pages (22%), friends (21%) and Study in Finland web pages (19%).

Some students (4%) found that their general health, such as pre-existing conditions made it hard to get an insurance. This is extremely worrisome and against the principle of equality.


Table 5. Issues when getting the insurance (n=323)


Table 6. shows the issues stated above as complied into different insurance providers. Note that in some of these the amount of answers was very low.


‘Table 6. Insurances as complied by different providers.



International students are required to have a private health insurance in order to commence their studies in Finland, but they are left alone with the problems they face with insurances. There is not enough information provided by the authorities, Study in Finland page or the universities, and when compared to similar pages in other European countries, the level of detail on Finnish pages is rather low.

Finnish authorities and universities only thinking about providing international students with degrees is unsustainable. A more holistic approach to internationalisation of universities is needed in Finland. Putting efforts into developing degrees and teaching is important, but if basic services like health care, banking or immigration services have grave problems, Finland is hardly a dream destination. What needs to be taken into account is the whole experience of integrating international students into the Finnish society, and problems with basic needs such as healthcare reflect negatively on the image of Finnish education.

International students have the right to a well-functioning, affordable and accessible insurance, as well as proper information on healthcare and health insurances. Issues with health care and adequate compensation for health care costs need to be taken very seriously. If Finland truly wants to welcome its international students, all parties involved need to step up their game. A new tendering process is needed, as the health insurance now recommended by the universities and authorities has the gravest problems and lowest customer satisfaction among students. Immigration authorities, universities and the National Agency for Education need to sit down together and start developing solutions.


Milla Ovaska, Specialist, International Affairs

Aalto University Student Union

contact: international(at)