Alumni stories

Our alumni share their stories and career paths.

You will receive firsthand information on the programme and tips for your studies.

Niina Kari

Global Political Economy study track.

Graduated 2022.

I’m Niina and I am PhD student at the University of Helsinki. The major events that sparked my interest in politics and global political economy were the Global Financial Crisis and the ensuing eurozone crisis. I remember thinking that something important was happening but not completely understanding it. This led me to choose to study politics at the University of Sheffield in England. During my bachelor’s studies, global political economy became my favourite subject. I was intrigued by how something could appear so complex and difficult to understand from the outside, yet be so important for the lives of everyone. So much suffering was taking place due to “economics” everywhere in the world at the time, including in Greece. I decided to write my bachelor’s dissertation on the Greek debt crisis, seeking to understand why austerity was chosen despite its terrible consequences. I was lucky and completed my studies at Sheffield right before the student tuition fees tripled in the UK.

When I returned to Finland in 2014, I immediately knew that I would want to complete my master’s studies at the University of Helsinki. I intuitively trusted that the teaching would be of high quality, and I was right. I had even read some of the professors’s publications back in the UK. The lens through which I had learned to examine the global economy in Sheffield found resonance at the University of Helsinki, and I felt right at home. The UK is of course known for its top universities, but I must say that I have learned much more (and read much more!) at the University of Helsinki. The GPE study track is excellent – it teaches you to think analytically and critically, and really engage with the relevant literature. It is a place for genuine learning – not just discussing politics! Nonetheless, normative concerns are not absent, and there is a sincere consciousness that each of the issues we discuss has real world relevance for ordinary people. It these normative ideals that I want to be committed to throughout my academic career.