Graduating from Aalto University during the pandemic

In my previous post, I told you guys, that I was in the process of finishing my master’s thesis in the end of March. Shortly after that post was published the pandemic hit and all the world went on lockdown. The process of thesis writing in general is rather independent: after research was done I was just writing thesis at home and I always received comments from professor by email and sometimes I had skype calls with my supervisor from the firm I was writing thesis for. However, I was kind of worried when I finished my thesis and thesis presentation and maturity test were next in line.

Usually presentation happens in front of a professor who guided your thesis – you prepare some visuals summarizing your research, key questions and key findings and make an oral presentation. Since Aalto University moved to remote work and studying, I realized that I would have to look for other presentation options instead of traditional face-to-face. I was really surprised when I got to know that the Department of Built Environment has been practicing remote presentation and maturity test for its students already for quite a while so, clear instructions were established on Into web-pages of my program.

So, I ended up making a power point and preparing some notes for my presentation as I would do normally but I recorded my screen and voice on my laptop while I was presenting my thesis at home basically for myself 😀 After that I uploaded it to YouTube and shared a link with my professor, supervisor and program coordinator and they watched it when it was convenient for them. Cool, right?

The maturity test is basically a test that proves that you wrote your thesis yourself and you do really understand the research topic. My maturity test for bachelor´s thesis included a set of questions provided by professor which I had to reply to in hand writing. However, in Real Estate Economics master’s program at Aalto I had to summarize 72 pages of my thesis to 2 pages which I must say was rather challenging. After I submitted a maturity test, I still had 2 mandatory courses to complete. Professor of Law was really flexible and let me complete those two courses by writing two reports – one on Finnish real estate and environmental legislation and one on Russian. I have submitted reports to him by email and stayed to wait for my grades and credits to be recorded in the system.

After I received my grades and preliminary grade for the thesis (which is 4/5) I had to feel in a graduation notice form and wait for thesis to be officially graded and approved and all paper work put in order. It was incredible how Aalto staff managed to adapt to these hard circumstances and even while working from home all necessities were handled extremely fast. On 19th of May I was officially granted with a degree of Master of Science! I feel very excited but I can’t really fully realize yet that the school is over. Maybe it is because I haven’t seen my diploma yet and because of the coronavirus situation graduation ceremony will be held only in November. I know it is for the better and I will anyway have a great celebration of such a milestone in my life but just a little bit later. Stay safe and have a wonderful summer!

Check more about Real Estate Economics program. 

Daria Babanina
Master’s student of Real Estate Economics at Engineering School

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