Chinese lessons for the Aalto community

11.6.2018, siiriliitia

The previous and current boards of the Aalto University Student Union visited China and South Korea to get to know the local student community. In this blog post the Board members open their experiences on the trip.

AYY’s delegation in Beijing

The first week of AYY’s China visit was spent mostly in Shanghai (our Student center delegation spent this week in South Korea, read the blog post) and the second in Beijing, entertained as guests of the Tsinghua university.

The purpose of the trip was to expand views of the participants, and through that the Student Union’s, on the scope of universities and student unions beyond Finnish borders. China offered excellent opportunities for this, due to the differences in cultures.

One of the big lessons on the trip was that despite the differences China and Finland have, both struggle with the same kinds of problems regarding studies. Good examples include getting the international students integrated into the student community and keeping up good negotiating conditions to the universities.

The solutions, however, differ between the two countries. So, the goals of” sharing best practices” and” benchmarking” succeeded well. Expanding your point of view and getting to know various kinds of solutions will be sure to refresh AYY’s activities in the future.

Our delegation simultaneously improved their skills in working in a global atmosphere, meaning learning to account for cultural differences and using different languages in discussing both heavier and lighter topics.

Internationalizing is a key factor in the modern world. What we learned will help us better to act in our ever so increasingly international Student Union, and the message spreads to other actives in the Aalto community.

We had the pleasure of getting to know our hosts, the Tsinghua uni. staff and political figures during various events. We also got to know several corporate companies along with distinct culturally valuable landmarks and places.

Shanghai is an especially interesting center of commerce in China, where we had the opportunity to see the opportunities Finnish people can have in China, and in return bring a Finnish point of view to China and its environs.

Both our trip to China and the upcoming Chinese trip to Europe is being aimed to be funded mainly with outside grants, funds and corporate cooperation. The goals of the trip were tied in many ways on corporate life.

China is an interesting business venture for Finnish and other western companies, meaning it is a potential site for a future career to students of Aalto University. Thus, bringing AYY, the Aalto community and Aalto itself known in a positive way in China is important.

We hope that cooperation will be the edge we need in the future, giving us a better opportunity to succeed in one of the largest economies in the world.

Western interest in general towards China also opens new opportunities for the Student Union in corporate cooperation and enables several important and noteworthy meetings with decision-makers both in Finland, Europe and in China. The meetings will then create new opportunities for the advocacy work our Student Union does.

Finnish students caps on the Great Wall of China

Each trip is of course countered with a return trip, with us acting as hosts. We are anxiously anticipating our esteemed Chinese guests to Finland, so we can expand their knowledge of European university education and AYY’s activities!

Mikael Liimatainen
AYY board member (internationality)

Julius Luukkanen
AYY board member (artistic activities, brand, communications, archives and museum)

Year of Art: 20 years of glorious metal at the heart of Otaniemi

05.6.2018, siiriliitia

During 2018 the Student Union is celebrating the Year of Art. To celebrate, we give voice to several creative individuals or groups acting in the Aalto community. In May, it is Metal Club Mökä’s turn.

Mökä goofing around at the 2018 Sitsikilpailut contest

Metal Club Mökä is a culture and sports association acting in the Student Union’s sphere of influence, with the mission of spreading the holy message of metal music to every nook and cranny.

The Club, more affectionately known as Mökä (a Finnish word meaning “disturbing loud noise”), was born in 1998 from the crazy needs of metal fans in the teekkari community, more expressly their wish to host a metal festival at the Alvari square. The task was too grand for just one person, so the metalheads had to find more metalheads to help with the organizing. That was where it all began.

We listen to heavy music. We experience the fires of hell when in the sauna. We organize gigs for bands. We grill when the weather is right (meaning constantly). We do trips to heavy metal events. We help with the Tuska festival organizing every year. And to boot, we are active at playing floorball and football!

In August 2018, on the 4rd and 4th days the renowned Mökäfest is making a comeback.

The festival, open to everyone, celebrates the milestone of Mökä spreading the glory of heavy metal music both in Otaniemi and elsewhere for a grand total of 20 years.

The festival, held for the third time, is organized at the Täffä restaurant, with the Rantasauna hosting the afterparty. The festival offers something for everyone who enjoys heavy music, and we will see both Mökä-centered and Finland heavy culture renown bands. The confirmed bands so far are Ever Circling Wolves, Perihelion Ship, Cause of Death, Caught In The Between, Abstrakt, Asgardium, ARBALEST plays Bolt Thrower, Brymir, and Urn.

The festival combines several different purposes. In addition to being the Mökä equivalent of an annual celebration ball and acting as a meeting spot for all the academic heavy metal clubs of Finland, it is the biggest realization of the music we love, in Otaniemi. The idea of spreading metal music is to play it to the crowds. And to play it live.

Mökä has organized dozens of gigs around the metropolitan area throughout its history. Bigger is better, however, and inspired by domestic and international festivals, we wish to have one of our own! The inspiration is of course drawn from older Mökäfest events from 2013 and 2015.

While the festival is not taking place in the Alvari square, the future remains open.

How is metal music art, then? One cannot live without screeching guitars and double bass drum combos, that’s why! No other style of music has the raw strength of metal.

Metal is about raw emotion and animalistic energy. It whips people into a frenzy and unleashes the animal within. Raging around in a mosh pit and whipping your hair around releases and unravels stress.

The general mistake, however, is to think of metal as a one-dimensional” poundfest”. Metal has its fair share of virtuoso musicians, with lyrics that are as pondering and noteworthy as any other genre. The number of different subgenres in metal is truly mind-boggling. In addition to the more known subgenres of trash, death, black and power metal, the genre has had pretty much every instrument and genre mixed in at some point. Metal bands are found aplenty all around the world.

The power and diversity of metal will be proven true at the Mökäfest. See you there.

Combat Monster performing at the 2013 Mökäfest

Henrik Romppainen

Metal Club Mökä Vice Chair

Campus inspiration from Korea

29.5.2018, siiriliitia

The Aalto University Student Union Board visited Korea in May to see local university campuses. The trip sparked a lot of thoughts on how the Otaniemi campus could be developed.

Getting to know internationality at the campus, Korea Design Factory. Yonsei. Picture: Emma Savela

The AYY Board makes a bi-yearly trip to China to visit our friendship student union at the Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Each time the trip includes a second place of visit. The aim of the visit is to learn something new from the actions of other universities and student unions. This time, the AYY delegation visited the Aalto cooperation universities in Korea; KAIST, Yonsei and SNU (Seoul National University).

New kinds of growing methods are tested on the roof of the environmental tech department. SNU. Pictured Rosa Väisänen, Niko Ferm and Tapio Hautamäki. Picture: Emma Savela

University life in South Korea is interesting in many ways. Despite cultural differences, the similarities are numerous: PISA success, the quality of teaching and education, the efforts on technological development… The populace in Korea is aging like in Finland and the need for outside experts is growing, so international students are lured in with a similar manner.

There are differences, of course. In contrast to Finnish cutbacks in education, the Korean education and research investments seem endless. For example, during 2015, a total of 69% of young adults in Korea had higher education degrees. The number is the highest in all OECD countries, and 28 percentiles higher than the Finnish number. (OECD 2017: Population with tertiary education).

There was a lot to learn, understand and benchmark during the visit! We sought for tips and tricks at the four campuses visited, especially in things pertaining to campus development with Otaniemi and our other large project, the Student Center, in mind.

Stairs for sitting at the new KAIST library. Could something like this be built at, for example, the Student Center? KAIST. Picture: Emma Savela

Sports have a strong presence on campus. KAIST. Picture: Emma Savela

The general impression on Korean university campuses is that their outdoor areas are especially well accounted for. There are a lot of pleasant outdoor spaces.

For example, a water element is centrally placed at the KAIST campus (dubbed the “Ducky pond” by the locals), opening to a central yard and terrace area. Other campuses have many pleasant spots aplenty, available for students to spend time, study, have a break or just enjoy an ice cream.

During summer, the importance of these kinds of spots in Otaniemi is very visible. The small terrace next to the AYY Central Office is jam-packed with people enjoying the weather during warm summer days. Maybe we should have more places like this?

There is a pond located on a central spot at campus, surrounded by an avenue and a terrace. KAIST. Picture: Emma Savela

Yonsei campus has a comfortable lounging area, created with plants and different uses of textured materials. Yonsei. Picture: Emma Savela

Greenery, plants and diverse nature are also points of focus on campus areas.

The Aalto campus area has been called green and close to nature many times. Still, these factors are even more present in Korea.

While nature plays a significant role in Otaniemi, for example the seaside and beaches are not very utilized at all. How often do you even notice that the campus is right by the sea?

Otaniemi has a lot of potential, however. The upcoming campus development will most certainly focus more on the outdoor areas in the future.

Green digs at the Yonsei main campus. Yonsei. Picture: Emma Savela

Regarding the student center, the Korean examples lack a straight “bullseye” that would fulfil the vision planned for Otaniemi.

However, on a general level, the benchmarking was really useful. It was very instructional to see how concepts that we have on paper have been implemented in a different environment. We found examples of work spaces, printing spots and club rooms.

Stylized entrance into the facilities of a party organizing association. SNU. Picture: Emma Savela

Dance practice at a local student center hallway. SNU. Picture: Emma Savela

In general, the everyday life in Korean universities differs a lot from Finland.

The most memorable thing at each university were probably all the very familiar well-being and equality themes and their implementation on each campus.

Human rights and ways to intervene in harassment are being advertised with big posters and online ads. Help can be reached through phone lines and from help centers located on campuses. In addition to campus development, we also received a lot of clever ideas for AYY’s equality work.

Posters on human rights on campus. Yonsei. Picture: Tapio Hautamäki

The best thing about the visit were the numerous discussions we had with local students and staff. So, thank you to KAIST, Yonsei, Korean Design Factory and SNU for the heartfelt cooperation!

Emma Savela
AYY board member (real estate and student center, living and other services)

Rosa Väisänen
Advocacy specialist (international matters and new students)

The Year of Art: KYN breathes, feels and dreams together

14.5.2018, siiriliitia

During 2018 the Student Union is celebrating the Year of Art. To celebrate, we give voice to several creative individuals or groups acting in the Aalto community. During May, the women’s choir KYN has the floor.

Kuva: Maarit Kytöharju

KYN (abbreviated for Kauppakorkeakoulun Ylioppilaskunnan Naislaulajat, the Business School Student Union women singers) is a world-class choir composed of women. Helsingin Sanomat has accoladed it as” one of the brightest stars in the sky that is the Finnish choir sky”, a” trailblazer of jazz music” and” the most surprising composition of the musical year”. For 2017, KYN has won both a Grand Prix victory and a special award for amazing stage performance in Berlin, ranking as 6th best women’s choir in the world, and being chosen as Choir of the Year.

KYN is ambitious and bold, breaking boundaries and constantly developing choir music. It has created a unique and distinctive program and a whole new genre of choir music; ethnic jazz. It combines traditional melodious themes and texts of Finland with jazz rhythm and harmony.

To its members, KYN is also a family.

In addition to AYY members, women of different ages and fields of expertise sing in KYN, brought together by their love for choir music.

When KYN was chosen Choir of the Year in 2017, the grounds for the choice stated that KYN was a group of singers devoted to female choir music. It is true! Choir is life for us. Us KYN women devote ourselves into the choir for a long time, take a professional, passionate outlook on our hobby and strive to develop as singers. And of course, we aim to develop the choir further. (If you feel the same way, you might be a future KYN woman in the making).

We create music because not doing it would be incomprehensible to us. Creating music in a choir is inspired by the fact that a choir is an instrument played by its leader, where every single singer is a key or a string of the instrument. As a vocalist in a choir you get to be a part in the machine, a piece of the instrument. The feeling created by 40 women breathing, feeling and dreaming together is hard to experience anywhere else.

Another inspiring touch is the connection the singers have with the audience. Each time we sing we wish to convey an amazing experience. We’ve noticed that it is possible to truly touch a person and tell a story through choir music, even across language barriers and cultural borders. When KYN sung in Finnish during the competition in Italy, the judges declared that” they understood nothing, but understood everything”.

There are several reasons why making music in KYN inspires. To me, one of them is creating it with some of the best musicians in Finland. During my own choir career, I’ve had the privilege of performing with such professionals as Soile Isokoski, Johanna Försti and Jukka Perko.

At its very best choir music can speak to its audience, touching and affecting in several ways, crossing both thought and sense. Through it you can experience, see and understand things with more depth and detail. Art can momentarily open your experiences and understanding of all that our human life entails, in all situations in everyday life.

” Choir music is an art form, given voice by many individuals. It is powerful, alive, developing and forever renewing itself; it does not stop. A piece is new every time it is performed”, our artistic leader Kaija Viitasalo says.

Check out the video below and come to KYN concerts to experience our art!

Susanna Kantelinen
KYN Producer

P.S. Upcoming concerts:

  • Sunday 3rd of June at 18:00, VocalEspoo festival opening concert, Espoo culture center, Tapiola hall
  • Wednesday 6th of June at 19:00, Juurilla – ” KYN & Juurakko”, Espoo culture center, Tapiola hall


A better campus, Lisbon style

30.4.2018, siiriliitia

The Secretary General of the Student Union, Niko Ferm, visited Lisbon and was inspired by the local architecture. Could Otaniemi take pointers from Portuguese city design?

I’ve visited several campuses in the Nordics, elsewhere in Europe, China and America during the last few years. I can proudly state that the Otaniemi campus truly is world-class when it comes to real estate development and learning facilities.

Still, even when our campus is unique on the Finnish scale, it still feels that especially for a campus environment of architecture and art, the spaces around Otaniemi are somewhat hollow.

I’ve oft thought about the issue, for example during my trips to the Tsinghua and Tonji University campuses in China. Now I found myself musing on the same thing during my visit to beautiful Lisbon.

I think the development of the outdoor facilities and venues of our campus should focus on creativity, well-being and sustainability. I’ll share some of my thoughts on the ideas I came up with in Lisbon. The pictures mingled with the text are not meant to be copy-paste ideas on how to do things in Otaniemi, but rather depict what sparked the idea in the first place. The pictures are not from the campus areas.

Outdoor sport opportunities

Otaniemi has a good jogging path, though winter jogging is being hampered by a lack of proper lighting. Last year some outdoor training equipment poles were installed near Dipoli and the sports pitch. For a moment I felt I was satisfied with the situation.

In Lisbon, however, I noticed that each park had some sort of pole, training machine based on your own weight, or instruction board for other types of sports.

A training machine with its instructions

I also mused whether a climbing wall or a piece of art could be created on the campus. If we could have something like this installed, I believe it could be maintained by Oranki ry, operating in AYY’s sphere of influence.

Climbing meets art

Nature and pathways

There’s a lot of woods in Otaniemi, but the number of forest paths is still very small. The picture below is taken from a well-maintained garden, but something similar could easily be imagined in Otaniemi.

A path in forest

Otaniemi also lacks stairs, mostly due to the lack of steep inclines. There are places, however, where stairs could be built. I don’t know if I would plant trees on the stairs like in the picture, but I believe some stairs could spruce up the look of the campus and offer places to hang out from time to time. At the same time, we need to ensure that biking on campus continues to be easy.

A tree on stairs

Street art

Wall art, murals and art that is nicer than just spray-painted tags and squiggles; these are examples of art that we could use in Otaniemi to beautify the walls, trash cans, poles and so on.

Lisbon is filled to bursting with various kinds of paintings and graffiti. The piece in the picture below might be a bit on the crumbling side, but it tells an intensive story of the dreams and hopes of local citizens.

Street art

If you’re interested in fado, you can read more on it here.

The student union’s history as a comic

If the issue of painting the pathway tunnel next to Täffä would not cause so much controversy, I’d suggest that it be painted with a comic book style mural resembling the one in the picture below, depicting the Student Union’s history.

Thus, I propose we paint a mural like that on the wall on the side of the current AYY central office. The fact that the building was designed by Alvar Aalto might cause a few problems, though…

Street art in comic form

Pond and cafe

The Ossinlampi pond sees several swimmers each year. There is also a garden and a skate ramp with barbequing options. The plant life of the pond hardly beautifies the area, though.

The pond area has enormous potential. At the Tonji campus the students built a walking bridge across their pond as a school project, with a lounging area in the middle of the bridge.

A bridge over a pond


A staple of Lisbon are cobbled pathways formed from very small stones which form various kinds of patterns. The patterns all have a story of some sort. For example, the wave patterns of Rossio square serve as a reminder of the tsunami that came after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.

The special things on the streets could be something else entirely, too. For example, in Lappeenranta the organizations in the local student union paint their logos on the asphalt each year.

Portuguese pavement or calçada portuguesa

Pavilion, summer platform

Otaniemi lacks a summer stage in for organizing concerts and events during the warm days of summer and spring. The amphitheater of the candidate center could offer opportunities for this, but to my knowledge it only acts as the stage for the handing out ceremony of the teekkari caps during wappu.

Meeting spots should be all around campus. The users for them will find them if they exist. A good example is the mini terrace in front of the AYY office, which fills up with users during sunny days.

A pavilion

Many people might have good and working ideas of campus development in addition to these expressed in this blog. The important thing is to find the means to develop the area. The AYY campus section does a lot of work to develop the campus area each year, but I think that we could do with more partners to join in on the work.

An interesting option is to look to the Tonji university for innovative ideas. They have a yearly course project on campus development, kind of like a PdP course on the campus.

A classical option would be to set up a campus development fund which would finance groups, associations or projects that would develop our campus. Projects such as the Ossinlampi garden and the skating ramp have been created like this. These projects have been supported by the TTE fund.

Niko Ferm
Secretary General, Aalto University Student Union

P.S. I totally forgot to talk about statues! I propose we erect small statues in the same manner as Wroclaw has its dwarfs. The following people would be excellent statue candidates: Ossi Törrönen (whose memoirs you can read here in Finnish), Lord Moyne (who stirred the pot in the 90’s with his Amer sales deals), Jari Jokinen (the first employee of the Aalto University), Tuula Teeri (the first rector of the Aalto University) and of course Alvar Aalto, whose spirit and impact can be felt in every stone of the University and around campus.

Social change starts with Aalto

23.4.2018, siiriliitia

Heikki Isotalo

The Finnish Universities Act has three basic functions: to produce high-quality science, to educate students to become the experts of the future and to influence the surrounding society.

All three functions are intertwined: the students’ learning is based on the most recent results of science, and the greatest social impact is not achieved through the cooperation of the university’s stakeholders, but through the people who have studied at the university and are now changing the world.

In its strategy, the Aalto University promises to educate people who will change the rules of the game and build a sustainable society through art, science and entrepreneurship.

Aalto graduates have a unique opportunity to change the society. Otaniemi is already a breeding ground for startup businesses, a meeting point for different world views and a cradle for experimental culture. The campus could also act as an accelerator for social change.

The Aalto University Sustainability Hub is a great example of this. It is a multidisciplinary project that brings together sustainable development research and teaching, tackling a wide variety of problems from climate change to resource scarcity and economic inequality.

Perhaps in the future, the perspective of social influencing will be more visible in the curriculum work conducted in all higher education institutions.

In the same way that people start their careers already during their studies, social influencing does not require a completed university degree – quite the opposite. The millennials and post-millennials studying at the Aalto University today can provide a genuinely fresh perspective on social questions and structures.

What would political participation with good service design look like? What about the future of open source code in Europe? Can social marginalization be prevented through smartphone applications? It is not just the answers that need to be fresh, but also the questions.

The Aalto University Student Union wants to keep up with the times in its advocacy work. This year, AYY will update all its official policy papers.

What we have to decide is what the perfect Aalto University, the Helsinki capital region and the world would look like from AYY’s perspective. We will genuinely involve the volunteers and members of the Student Union in our policy paper work, because the best new ideas are born through crowdsourcing.

The policy paper update is much needed: there are three national elections coming up within the year.

The field is ready to play. Now is the time to write the rules.

Heikki Isotalo
Aalto University Student Union‘s Advocacy and Communications Manager

An open letter on equality

13.4.2018, siiriliitia

Dear Aalto community,

an important topic arose into discussion during the” other emerging matters” item in the latest Aalto University Student Union meeting. The Council expressed concerns over whether or not the Aalto community is equal or not. After the Representative Council meeting, the issue was up for debate in the national media, when Helsingin Sanomat magazine wrote an article on the activities of the wappu magazine Julkku. (Read the Helsingin Sanomat articles in Finnish here and here).

The question of how the organizations in the Aalto University Student Union’s sphere of influence treat people of different genders deeply concerns the Aalto community and its values. The topic is extremely challenging and difficult, and the threshold to open one’s mouth about it is high.

We at the AYY central office have worked on the issue for several weeks, preparing a preliminary discussion for the upcoming Representative Council meeting. We’ve also discussed the topic with associations that gender their activities. The material for the preliminary discussion has been sent to each and every Representative Council group, which ensures that the next meeting, held on the 19th of April, should give us a clear direction which to follow to solve the issue.

This is a very heated topic. The best possible solution will be found through open and constructive discussion, where each of us has a voice and a chance to have it heard. Due to the importance of the topic, it is extremely crucial to undertake the discussion in the highest decision-making organ of AYY. At the Council, we should be able to find the best, sustainable solution for our community and upcoming Aalto generations.

The Council groups have received questions on how and when, in their opinion, should AYY act in the issue of associations that deal with applicants based on gender and on whether or not AYY should redefine its policies regarding equal activities in its association regulation.

The discussion on equality has been ongoing in the Aalto community for a long time. The topic has been on the agenda again and again during the new millennium. The latest large discussion took place in 2015 and resulted in a survey of equality in the AYY association sphere (you can download the survey, in Finnish and in PDF, from this link). The survey was completed at the end of 2016 and it showed the expressed wish that the Student Union should act to promote equality.

Nowadays, the gender of a person should not have any relevance to which community they can belong to. So, the time has come to discuss the issue. A solution will be found, rest assured, and the first step towards it is the Representative Council meeting held on Thursday, April 19th.

Everyone wishes for a safer and better community for all of us, so let us undertake this discussion fairly and with respect to one another. I trust us all being capable of that.

Noora Vänttinen
Chair of the Board, Aalto University Student Union

The Year of Art: Enthusiasm, Rapture and Teekkarispeksi

10.4.2018, siiriliitia

The Student Union is celebrating the Year of Art in 2018. To celebrate, we will shine light on creative individuals and groups working in our community. First in line to give insight to their activities and art is the Teekkarispeksi.

Photo: Atte Makkonen

The Speksi is a musical made by students. It’s not your run of the mill theater, but rather separated from it through improv.

When the audience yells ”omstart”, the actors improvise the scene again, inventing some new elements to it. The dancers, orchestra and technical staff also take part in the improv. Entire extravagant songs might be born before the eyes of the audience, and no two shows are alike. The audience can affect the ebbs and flows of the performance.

The Teekkarispeksi is made by the Otaniemi student community, but it also includes many students from outside the technical fields of study. This spring the unveiled speksi, the 29th of its kind, is called Hurma (Rapture). This year’s speksi is indeed rapturous.

Hurma is set in 1914 France, in the Belfort school, where Anna and her classmates are getting ready for the graduation ball. Love happens, twisting and tangling things, and the night does not go as planned. Who ends up with who, and what will happen at the ball? Find out by coming to the Teekkarispeksi at the Aleksanteri theater. The viewings will continue until the 23rd of April.

In the Speksi the actors, dancers, orchestra, technical staff, props, make-up, dress and other staff work intensely together. The speksi is a piece that requires a lot of work, and the staff truly makes the effort. In the fall the script writer starts with the story, and after the turn of the year the other groups can really dig into the work.

It’s awesome to see how the work of each production member starts to show and how the speksi comes together. When everyone works together, the product really shines.

Each production member has joined the speksi due to their own enthusiasm, and each wishes to use their time to make a great production. The members attend school and work in addition to participating, so the evenings are taken over by training the speksi and working on your own turf.

It is amazing how devoted all production members are to the speksi and work so much to make it happen. We make the speksi because it gives us all a chance to show our own unique skills and learn many new things. Many have started their dancing or acting careers from the Teekkarispeksi.

We think that the best part about the production is how every member is encouraged to be a personal individual, and everyone is welcome to the community. One of the main rules of improv theater is that” a blunder is a gift”. By utilizing this philosophy, we dare to create art.

Teekkarispeksi is art in various ways. The different sectors use their own creativity for us to create a unified, impressive and a very visual piece.

The aim of the speksi is to inspire ideas and to challenge the viewer to participate in its creation. Art is not art without its audience. Through the interaction of the audience, the speksi truly sparks to life.

Us speksi people do the work we do not for profit, but rather to show the audience how enthusiastic we are about it. That, in short, is the rapture of the speksi.

Atte Makkonen
Teekkarispeksi social media correspondent
Hurma dancer

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