Aalto University: Doctoral studies provide excellent skills for working life

Research is not solitary work, even though doctoral student Aini Putkonen initially thought so. She has been surprised by the versatility of her doctoral studies and the fact that research work is by no means solitary, but right from the start carried out in collaboration with Finnish and international top experts in the field.

‘The versatility of doctoral studies surprised me. For example, I code, write, read and teach during my doctoral studies. All of these are important skills in working life, even if you might not aim for an academic career’, says Putkonen, who studies human-computer interaction.

Doctoral studies are an investment in the future and provide good skills for working life. Matti Kauhanen, Head of Technology at ABB, knows what he is talking about, as expertise is appreciated in the field of automation and robotics.

‘In Finland, the employment of doctors is excellent, and companies need doctors. Doctors have deep knowledge of a particular topic and are able to find new innovative solutions once given access to company tools’, says Kauhanen.

‘In general, doctoral studies provide a wide range of skills that are valued by companies. Education and learning always stay with you, no matter what,’ continues Okmetic Technology Manager Päivi Sievilä.

She works in the semiconductor industry at Okmetic, one of the world’s leading producers of silicon wafers. Sievilä completed her doctoral dissertation in the field of micro- and nanotechnology on the production techniques of silicon sensors and feels that she has benefited from a profound understanding of her field in her current work.

‘The best thing about my doctoral studies was the research group and its excellent team spirit as well as networks, which you could participate in, for example, on conference trips. My own thesis defence and those of colleagues were always highlights and are still nice to reminisce about.’

Aini Putkonen’s journey to doctoral studies in technology has been multidisciplinary, starting with economics studies.

‘What I like most about my doctoral studies in technology is that I get to completely focus on a topic that greatly interests me. I encourage people to bravely sign up for courses that might not even be directly related to their own field, because you can always find new interesting things in them,’ she says.

Doctors at the School of Electrical Engineering satisfied with their degree
‘Based on the feedback received from doctoral studies, doctors of technology who have graduated from the School of Electrical Engineering are very satisfied with their degree and feel that it has benefited their career,’ says Emma Holmlund, Planning Officer for Doctoral Studies.

‘I would say that if scientific research is of even slight interest to you, you should consider doctoral studies. Studying for a doctorate is not always easy, but it is fun and can change your life and career path. Doctoral studies do not only mean additional studies for four years, but it is also an investment in one’s own future,’ says Vesa Välimäki, Vice Dean of Research at the Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering.

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