Alumni support students on their way to working life


Kahvilla alumnin kanssa 19.5.

Students and alumni discussed working life and the transition to it at a morning coffee organised by the University of Turku Alumni Relations on Fri May 19. The alumni encouraged students to trust themselves and move boldly towards their own goals in working life. 

The University of Turku Alumni Relations organised a morning coffee for students on Friday 19 May 2023, where five early-career alumni shared their experiences of working life and the transition to it.

The event was based on a survey of students and alumni conducted by Alumni Relations in spring 2023, which revealed that students were looking for peer support and career guidance, especially from alumni who had just entered to the working life. The event was designed to support student-alumni interaction and provide a low-threshold platform for interdisciplinary encounters and networking.

"Working life requires continuous learning and self-development"

Alumni, expert, FM Heily Palomäki, financial management expert, GIM, Claire Wang, project manager, KTM Jani Voutilainen, entrepreneur, KM Sasu Mikkola and expert, VTM Kristine Alanko, answered students' questions and discussed in small groups how to start a career, how to build a career in Finland, whether you can predict your own life and whether there is a good or bad job.

According to Ronja-Ilona Junkkari, a student of special education who came to the coffee, students have many misconceptions about working life, such as how expertise develops or whether they dare to apply for a job if they have an empty gap in their CV.

- Many people certainly have an illusion about what expertise really is.  Expertise is not something that is permanent, because working life requires constant development and learning, and expertise develops with the job," says Mikkola, who became an entrepreneur after graduating with a Master's degree in education.

The alumni encouraged students to listen to their own voice and be brave enough to do things that feel like their own. One's own experience, even a small one, should not be underestimated, because the way one approaches things is of great importance. 

- You can't be too hard on yourself, there is no such thing as a good job or a bad job, and there is always something to be gained from everything. It's worth doing things you like and not forcing yourself into a particular field just because it's objectively a good option. Trust yourself and follow your passion," said Alanko, who has moved from studying social policy to business digitalisation, encouraging the students.

The event also discussed the transition to working life from the perspective of an international student. In particular, the language requirements create uncertainty for many, which can prevent them from entering the labour market.  For Claire, gaining a Master's degree, and looking beyond her field of education, has helped her build a career in Finland.

 - The first job doesn't have to be so special, because the most important thing is to gain work experience. The fact that you have any work experience at all in the Finnish labour market is an advantage in the future. Don't stress about language skills beforehand," Claire encourages.

Alumni activities strengthen the societal interaction of the university

Alumni are the University of Turku's largest stakeholder group and an important network of experts both in Finland and abroad. They are active in all areas of society and are therefore an important part of the university's social interaction. Alumni act as mentors, career speakers, internship providers and research partners.

The University of Turku's alumni relations aim to support alumni interaction with the University as a whole, to strengthen the University's alumni culture and to keep alumni involved in the University's activities.

The Coffee with an Alumni event will continue again in the autumn.

- Based on our survey, students want low-threshold alumni events where they have the opportunity to meet new people and hear different perspectives on their working life or studies," says Paula Pehkonen, Alumni Relations Coordinator.

- Events like these are really important," says Junkkari, a special education student who attended the event.

Created 22.06.2023 | Updated 22.06.2023