EntryPoint Mentoring Program for international students

EntryPoint Mentoring Program is organized by the Helsinki Chamber of Commerce once every year. This is a great program for international students or graduates who’d like to stay in Finland to build a career. This program matches mentees and mentors in the same or similar fields.

I joined the program from Jan till late May 2020.  It’s a 5-month journey full of inspiration. I highly recommend international students and new graduates to participate in this program. The new application is open now till Aug 31, 2020. Apply for it quickly.

It all started with impeccable timing. I applied for the program in late 2019 and was informed that there’s no suitable match for me at the time. Then I went back to Taiwan for a few weeks in early January and I had to cut the vacation one week shorter to catch the flight to Barcelona convention for my thesis research, which I received a Design Grant from Aalto to attend. Read my story here – Attending Barcelona Convention with support from Aalto Design Grants. 

When the time I returned to Helsinki from Taiwan, not long after my plane landed. I received a phone call from an unknown number. It was a call from Marina Ponomareva, the Talent Expert also the program lead from the Helsinki Chamber of Commerce. Even after she informed me a few months ago that there’s no match this time, she didn’t stop looking for a mentor for me. I was very touched. She called to explain there’s a suitable mentor even although not a 100% match for the exact area I was looking for (blockchain technology) and asked if I’d like to participate in the program. Of course, I said yes. Then a wonderful journey began.

Marina has always been supportive, energetic, devoted, and well-organized. I deeply appreciate that Marina made extra effort to find me such a great mentor and support us along the way.

I have an amazing mentor, Salum Abdul-Rahman, a technical program manager, and agile & lean capacity scrum master in Gofore. He connects me with experts for my thesis research, supports me to get prepared for job hunting in Finland, shares profound knowledge in project management, and many more. Our journey together is uplifting and inspirational.

Besides the meetings with our own mentor, there were also great workshops, events and company visits. The topics of workshops: how to fail successfully, follow your difference, life perspectives, and presentation skills. We learned about how to apply for jobs in Finland, how to get to know ourselves better, how to improve presentation. All of them were very informative, uplifting, and useful.

The key to job-hunting in Finland is all about networking. This program has a perfect setting for networking between international talents and local experts.

In addition, Aalto also has a mentoring program matching alumni with students. Check it out! If you have time, I will suggest that Aalto students apply for both programs. Make the best out of these precious opportunities.

Read more about the EntryPoint Mentoring Program.

Hsiao-Pei Liao,
MA of Creative Sustainability 

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