It is a strange feeling to know that finally the effort of years is paying-off and your studies are officially over; to me, this means no more exams, studying, or homework… ever. As good as feeling as this is, the feeling of melancholy is inevitable. I studied the larger part of my degree at Design Factory and Startup Sauna, therefore celebrating my graduation at the neighbor’s was suitable; While I never spent nearly as much time at Urban Mill as I did the others, they are all somehow an alternative family within Otaniemi.
The party started a few days earlier when we started planning the event; we were expecting close to 70 people, 30 of which would join a family/adult dinner of which around 15 would join 40 friends at a later dance party. In the end, this was quite accurate, and we peaked at around an estimated 65 guests. The dinner party included Mexican food mixed with side-dishes, salads, appetizers, and some bubbly-wine which was prepared beforehand and served to the guests after a small toast from a few brave ones. The dance party focused more on music, lights, and a good atmosphere.
Among the guests were close family members, distant relatives, Mexican relatives, friends from my degree, from other degrees, from other schools, and from random origins. This mixture worked amazingly as we saw people from different origins mingling with each other. The food was widely appreciated and the dancefloor had people dancing Latin music, oldies, and house. It is necessary to mention that this party would not have been as big a success as it was without the help of Aalto Takeout who gladly lent us a set of party lights and a massive set of stereo speakers and subwoofer which gave us that punch we needed.
We had the possibility to reorganize the space as we wanted but we chose to keep most things as they were. The way the Urban Mill is distributed allows us to have many different little spaces for people to sit at which somehow give the feeling of a lounge bar with a somewhat industrial touch to it. The dance floor was set on the stage, lights shining from the floors above, and a large cloakroom set at the entrance, perfectly replicating a dance club.
Text by Rodrigo Prieto Padilla, who was celebrating his graduation. Photos by Reino Laukkanen.
The use of the facilities at student-friendly price was offered by Urban Mill and TEK’s Uusimaa Regional Office, which jointly develop and pilot new types of community space services in the Otaniemi area.
Read below Rodrigo’s 6 points for foreign students and graduates to get a job in Finland:
THINGS PREVENTING FOREIGN STUDENTS FROM GETTING A JOB IN FINLAND AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM
Written by fresh Aalto graduate Rodrigo Prieto Padilla as part of the activities of the Creative Life in a City (CLiC!) project 2018-2019, operated by Urban Mill in collaboration with the City of Espoo, Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, Aalto Design Factory and Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK.
As obvious as it may be, it is necessary to discuss the elephant in the room; Finnish language. While it may be true that not all disciplines are affected by this as much (programmers seem to mostly be safe without it), it is a very valuable asset for most others. I can admit I have not struggled much finding a job without it yet browsing through LinkedIn and Monster in times of need, I often find myself swiping away jobs requiring the language, and they are MANY.
This might be a bit controversial, but I have personally noticed the reaction of employers when interviewing calm vs over-the-top applicants; they usually prefer the first. I see an interview as an opportunity to sell yourself as a proactive team-member who can bring harmony and improve dynamics in a team, so being able to adopt an attitude that suits the traditional engineer and the usual Finn will help. Do of course mention what makes you a good candidate and do not feel the need to hide your excitement, just tone it down a try to analyze the body language of the interviewer (you do not want to annoy them).
3. PLM (for Mechanical Engineers)
If you do not yet know what this is then go and Google it. While you are at it, also Google digital twin, and ETO. Most engineering companies developing hardware products will have a PLM system installed and you will most certainly be using it so go ahead and get a head-start.
4. Life experience/social skills
Perhaps this does not apply to all positions and/or fields, but having travelled around the world, experienced different things, gotten involved with projects outside of your scope, and being able to have a conversation with people can help you. In my somewhat brief job-career, I have not once gotten a job based on my grades; instead, my involvement in different projects, my exchange studies, and (at least in my opinion), being able to confidently speak in public, have helped me more than getting good grades.
5. Interdisciplinary skills
A problem that often presents itself in a company is bad communication between departments; the UX designers to not understand the mechanical components of the product, the engineers dislike R&D budgets, and the business team does not see the value of buying more CAD licenses. Having a link between them can be a very valuable asset, therefore being an engineer who can easily describe the components to accounting or a designer who can visualize the machine can go a long way.
6. Knowledge of Finland and habits
Not only the language plays a part in this, also knowing what company in Finland does what and where they are located is a small but useful asset. Furthermore, adopting some work-habits of Finnish people (ie. being sharply on time for work) are not so time-consuming but will help a lot.