Finnish summers are most well-known for anxiously waiting for temperatures to reach above 20 degrees Celsius, trips to Mökki, picnics with friends, and everything else that makes gruelling winters worth tolerating while living in the Nordics. However, as a university student or recent graduate summers are also highlighted by finally getting to put theory into practice after nine months of intense studying. Summers offer the possibility of finally getting to see how your studies are applied in the real world. Classes, assignments, and exams are over for 3 months, but the learning never stops, rather it takes on a different form, one that I find to be more practical, especially in my field.
Preparing for summer in the dead of winter
For most of us university students, the race to find a summer job in our desired field begins immediately after the winter holidays, if not already before. As many know from experience, it is a long, over 6-month process of writing CVs and cover letters, sending applications, prepping and going to interviews, sending emails, and, of course, having all that work pay off and getting offers or despite feeling like you would be perfect for the job, receiving rejection emails and having to start the entire process again. It can be incredibly competitive, but most times hard work pays off. In my case, I got lucky and found a fit doing exactly what I wanted to do at Normet as a marketing and communications trainee.
By education, I am an ekonomi meaning that I have a bachelor’s degree in business administration and internal business, also with a master’s degree in marketing steadily underway both from Aalto University. Naturally, it is my aspiration to build a professional career in the field of marketing. Furthermore, because of my background in international business and having a fairly global personal background as well, I tend to be attracted to companies and organizations that boast an international atmosphere and operations. Normet checked all the boxes.
I say that I got lucky because now that I am immersed in my master’s degree studies, I did not want to lower my standards when it came to my summer job. In fact, I told myself at the beginning of my job search that anything less than what I wanted and thought I deserved would not be accepted. Admittedly, this was risky on my part because given how competitive marketing roles can be, some would argue that a job that pays a salary is better than no job. However, this served only to motivate me further. So, as – what I am calling – luck would have it, I found the perfect fit at Normet already in late January.
Spring turns into summer
The nerves only started the day before my first day at the Espoo office. Naturally, in retrospect, those worries were unwarranted, but summer has a way of sneaking up on me every year, where the spring goes by in the blink of an eye. So, before I knew it, I had submitted the last of my assignments and I was preparing to head to the Espoo office the following morning. Then, it was time to challenge myself in the corporate marketing and communications world.
While my supervisor is based out of Shanghai, I have had the opportunity to work from the office based in Keilaniemi, a short trip from Helsinki’s city centre and an even shorter trip from Aalto University as well as my apartment. The convenience of the office location was just another reason Normet was the ideal employer. Moreover, nothing can beat the views of getting to work from the top floor of the building. My favourite thing to do has become staring out at the incredible view of the sea in order to spark creative inspiration for my projects. With almost 360-degree views in the office, it is difficult to not look out at Espoo, and it being summer makes the views that much better.
Perhaps the best thing so far at Normet has been how I was received as a summer trainee. Admittedly, I have never felt like just a summer trainee, rather I have felt wholly part of the team and the company. The only indication of my position as a summer trainee is my email signature and the job update that I posted on LinkedIn. This also means that I am actively involved in meaningful projects. This was also on my list of requirements for a summer job. Overall, there has been something so immensely rewarding about feeling part of the Normet family and see my mark on the company as I gain more responsibilities in projects.
I have also had a great start on several projects. I am fully immersed in working to build the Normet company and employer brand. In fact, this Summer Trainees Series is one of my current projects! Overall, my summer will largely be split into working in external and internal communications, product marketing, and business intelligence. Every day, so far, has been full of new experiences and learning opportunities. Just as importantly, I have been forced out of my comfort zone on multiple occasions, and I can see myself growing even in this brief period of time. Yet, I have not been left to fend for myself. Everyone around me physically and virtually has been immensely supportive and helpful. One of my biggest challenges is asking for help, but the culture at Normet has made that less of a struggle for me.
I have now been at Normet for nearly two months. So far, the experience has been everything I expected and more. I have been challenged, supported, and made feel welcome. With such a great start, I am looking forward to the rest of my summer at Normet!