In the summer of 2014, I started my new adventure here in Finland. New field of study, new country, new culture, new people, new… everything! I was very excited to see what the life in Finland would bring me.
One sunny day in August 2014 I started my life as a business student. To be honest, I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduating, but I thought having knowledge in business would help my career in the future. At the university an academic advisor told us that they have four specialization tracks, and we will have to choose one in about a year. The specialization tracks were Marketing, Logistics, Human Resources and Finance. I had no idea what to choose. The only thing I knew was that I was not going to choose Finance (no, I do not like math).
After a year, I was filling the specialization application…..to be a marketing specialist. So I became a business student specialized in marketing.
Next step was to find an internship
I wanted to take the internship opportunity seriously because it would be my first work experience abroad in my field of specialization. I knew it was hard for foreigners to find an internship in Finland, so I decided to be a little bit picky to be able to learn what I needed for my future.
One day a teacher – let’s call him Mr. Suomalainen – sent me an email saying his old student was looking for an intern in a company called Forenom, and asked if I was interested in it. I was at school, so I ran to his office (I literally ran, because it was almost the end of office hours), and asked him more detailed information. Then, he gave me the alumni’s email address and told me to contact him. This was the moment I got to know this company, Forenom.
The requirements were:
- Spectacular English
- Creativity is a good thing
- Talented with visuals (e.g., knows an excellent picture/presentation when seeing it, can build a case which is visually appealing/sales-focused)
- Computer skills
- Technologically aware
- Gets things done, and on time
- Excellent human being
Writing an email was very tricky, since Mr. Suomalainen told me that the alumni is an American, but the company is Finnish. In Finland, you call your boss with his/her first name, but in the US, you call someone in upper position with Mr./Ms., right?
I chose the safer way, and I sent the email starting with “Dear Mr. Huotari”.
Long story short, the “Mr. Huotari” called me for an interview
And I got a chance to do my internship for three months in his team.
My tasks were:
- Helping the web booking team with reservation placing
- Doing market research for Friday Flats
- Updating metasearch channel information
- Managing Airbnb
The team was very international. When I joined, there were six members including me from Finland, USA, Russia and Japan. (Now it has expanded, and we have 10 members from five different countries.) In Forenom, you might work with many different teams, with very international colleagues. I really like lunch time when we sit down with people from different countries and talk.
My image and expectation for an “internship” was taking copies, helping with some easy and simple tasks and doing what you are told to do – but in the web booking team, even as an intern, I had responsibilities for my work, and it motivated me.
From an intern into a business developer
Time flies when you have a lot to do. I started my internship in April, finished in July, and am now working as an online business developer for the Friday Flats team.
By the way, I want to tell you what “Mr. Huotari” told me when we met for the first time: “You are the first person who called me `Mr. Huotari´.”
….so don’t worry, call your boss with his/her first name when you work in Finland!
Lastly, I want to end my blog with some advice to international job seekers for Finnish companies.
- Don’t worry when your boss looks very serious and you feel like he/she is going to tell you bad, bad news. Finnish bosses might not smile even when they are about to tell you good news.
- If they say “good”, it means “Wonderful, well done!
See our open positions and apply now!