Graduates of the University of Helsinki explain the choices they have made in their studies, the kind of steps they have taken in order to have arrived at their current positions, and give tips. A degree in the University of Helsinki opens up many kinds of possibilities. Explore these stories here.
Study Field: Faculty of Science, Master's programme in Computer Science
Graduation year: 2015
Employer and position: Helvar, Software Engineer
Why did you choose to study at The University of Helsinki?
From my childhood, I was interested in computers as there were limitless creative possibilities with it. During my teen-age years I encountered Linux, to which I was absolutely hooked. Back then, I already knew that Linux was invented by Linus Torvalds at the University of Helsinki (UH). During my bachelor's studies I interned at Nokia, during which time I got to know more about Finland and UH as some of my colleagues were UH graduates. After my bachelor's studies, I applied to UH for Master's studies in computer science. When I got the acceptance letter from the university, I was overjoyed that I'll be studying where Linux was invented. It's a privilege and dream come true computer science professionals to study at UH.
Study Field: MA political science (Erasmus)
Employer and position: Head of content, Leadfeeder
Why did you choose to study at The University of Helsinki?
– No one else from the University of Edinburgh in 2004 was coming to University of Helsinki
– I loved the idea of being something of an outlier
– Finland and Helsinki had a good reputation for education
– I loved the idea of the Nordics and I liked the idea of experiencing something radically different from life at home
– I thought it was fantastic that I could study in English at a Finnish university; this reduced the risks that my grades might suffer because of language difficulties
– People told me Finland was a wonderful place
– I wanted an adventure and I liked the sound of Finnish values
– I always wanted to go on exchange
just some of the reasons…
Study field: Master's degree programme in Forest Sciences and Business
Graduation year: 2011
Employer and position: Pöyry Management Consulting, Bioenergy Analyst
"I decided upon this programme, due to it’s relevance to my previous degrees in Environmental Studies and Political Science. This programme seemed to combine my interests in natural resource management and policy."
” I focused my studies and thesis topic on issues that seemed to be growing in importance in the real world. I wanted to see the impact of projects, financing and political action on achieving targets and my ability to contribute to positive change. I did my internship at the Finnish Forestry Research Institute (METLA), and it was a great experience because I was given a great deal of responsibility from the start and learned a lot about project management and participate in dynamic discussions by experts from around Europe on forest inventory methods, such as remote sensing, and statistical methods."
Study field: Computer Science (Intelligent Systems), minor in Economics
Employer and position: Viivamedia Oy, Software Developer
"At the moment, I am a lead developer doing front-end development, mostly with web technologies. We have a lot of clients in the field of publishing and media. I previously worked at the university as a research assistant, as well as at a company called Movial Creative Technologies. At Movial, I was doing front-end and back-end development on embedded Linux platforms."
Hanna-Liisa Kangas was supposed to become an environmental chemist until a doctor forbade her from setting foot in a laboratory. After many twists and turns, Kangas did wind up in an influential position, working with the issues dear to her heart.
“I started studying chemistry at the University of Helsinki because I thought I could use it to save the world. Then I became allergic to the reagents used at the lab, and my doctor told me never to set foot in a laboratory again. He said it would be too dangerous for me,” says Hanna-Liisa Kangas.
Kangas still wanted to study an environmental field, and started to look for interesting disciplines which did not require laboratory work. This meant ecology, forestry sciences and biology had to be dismissed outright.
“Then I discovered environmental economics. And so, through a series of strange coincidences, I wound up studying environmental economics at the Department of Economics and Management,” Kangas explains.
I moved to Finland in August 2010 to study for my master’s degree in Media and Global Communication at the University of Helsinki. Previously, I had completed my bachelor’s degree in Media and Communication at the University of Passau. My bachelor’s degree was less scientific and I enjoyed having a more research based approach to media and communication studies in Helsinki. When our program started, I was positively surprised by our small group size and the extreme dedication with which both our programme coordinator and the thesis advisor took care of us. When I studied in Germany we were over 100 people in the programme and had to fight hard to get a place in interesting courses. Throughout my studies, the master’s programme provided us with a close knit community where everyone supported each other and a perfect learning environment. Not to mention the great facilities such as the library where researching and studying got that special feel.
Study field: Religious Roots of Europe Master’s programme
Graduation year: 2014
Employer and position: Kiuruvesi parish, Evangelical Lutheran pastor
"I had already studied Hebrew, Greek and Latin, languages needed in the programme and also done quite a bit of biblical studies. I was interested in exegetical studies and I saw a great opportunity to widen my interests and knowledge from Christianity and Judaism also to Islam and to the joint roots of these three religions that affect our world also today. I think it is impossible to understand where we are today if we don’t know where we are coming from.
The studies were a wonderful opportunity to see different universities and different top scholars of their field at work and teaching us all. It really taught a lot to see how things are done in Copenhagen or in Lund compared to Helsinki."
Study field: Political Science
Graduation year: 2012
Employer and position: PhD student, Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki
”I did a research internship supported by my Master’s programme, and it was this experience that really convinced me to continue with postgraduate studies. I had for some time considered the option of an academic career, but never really got the chance until that point to see it from outside the ‘typical student’ point of view. During my internship I got involved both in research and administrative activities and I realized that I really enjoy it, that it’s something I really want to do.”
Study field: Public International Law
Graduation year: 2008
Employer and position: The Åland Islands Peace Institute, researcher & project manager
"What encouraged me most to continue my studies in Helsinki was the open and encouraging attitude of my teachers, who at all times took my research interests seriously and provided me with excellent supervision and spot-on feedback.
After graduation I quite quickly took on my current position at the Åland Islands Peace Institute. I am a researcher working on questions related to autonomy and multilevel governance. I am also a leader for an empowerment project in co-operation with a partner organisation in Azerbaijan."
Yujie Wang, doctoral student
To begin with, I had a dream of becoming a scientist, but I didn’t understand what it involves. I didn’t understand food sciences very deeply either when doing my bachelor studies, but when I came here to Viikki I had the opportunity to discover what really interests me and to go deeper into the science. Then came the big question: how can food science make the world a better place? That is also one of the reasons I started my PhD studies.
Viikki is quite known in China in food sciences, and my University even has an exchange programme with the University of Helsinki. In the beginning, we got tutoring and support from our professors, as well as support from a Chinese professional association. I received a lot of information and a better view on what it means to be a food scientist. I know I need a global view on food challenges and how to tackle them. The professors and senior students have explained a lot and have also guided me on what and how to study.
What are the best parts of studying in Viikki and at the University of Helsinki?
Firstly, the University of Helsinki is doing real research work, so if you are interested in research you definitely should come here. Secondly, the University is located in the city of Helsinki, which is a big city where I enjoy living, because it has everything. When studying in Viikki, I’m not missing out on any aspects of life such as a social life - in my opinion this is a really great place to study. You have everything needed for life here, including city life and social life – the ability to combine both is the best part. My time is spent in a valuable way, and I enjoy staying here. Even the winter time is wonderful here – most Chinese people love snow because we don’t have much snow in China where I come from. It is exciting. Living in Helsinki is easy, and the Viikki Campus is just half an hour from downtown.
The University of Helsinki offers a wide range of Master's Programmes, so there is many possible career options. More career stories you'll find on Welcome to UH blog.
A large amount of information on the placement of University of Helsinki students and graduates is also available on LinkedIn. On the LinkedIn pages of the university of Helsinki you'll find over 36 000 profiles.