Jussi Loponen, head of research at Fazer, suggests students focus on quality when choosing their education. “Choose the best whenever possible.”
However, fate decided on the study path for Loponen himself. “I wound up studying on the Viikki Campus entirely by chance. I happened to be at the University’s Main Building with my friend, when they were handing out application papers. I picked up the application guide for food sciences. And that was that,” says Jussi Loponen.
International experience is worth it
Loponen only got really excited about studies in cereal technology, his major subject, when he started working on his master’s thesis. After completing his master’s, Loponen was encouraged to continue studying for a doctorate. “After that, I spent a year at the University of Alberta in Canada with my family. That year in Alberta was probably the most important single event for my career.”
Loponen encourages everyone to go for international experience. “Working or studying abroad broadens the world view and boosts courage.”
From his undergraduate studies, Loponen mainly remembers the fundamentals of his own field. He built up his specialist expertise during his doctoral studies and particularly the time spent in Canada. “In addition to robust competence in the field, a job like mine requires creativity, problem-solving skills, persistence and patience.”
Leading a research team
Loponen’s work is still closely linked to research and the University. He leads the research team at Fazer Group tasked with harnessing the innovations from science and research to serve the company and its customers. “Our team comes up with ideas for new solutions every week. They may relate to new manufacturing technologies, the nutritional content of our products or entirely new product concepts.”
Loponen’s typical workweek features a series of meetings, making sure various projects are moving along as well as get-togethers with internal and external partners. “Often there’s also a trip or a testing day for product development,” Loponen explains.