In this post, I will tell you about my summer as a program assistant at the Information Technology Program ITP. I worked at ITP for two months from the end of June till late August 2018.
In addition to ITP tasks, I worked a lot with two ITP “spin-off” courses – Digital Business Master Class (DBMC) and Global Perspectives on Digital Business. The students on DBMC were all master’s level students, and their projects were based on similar challenges as the projects of the ITP teams. The students spent two weeks here in Helsinki, and during that time my job was to guide and help them with everything concerning life in Finland. The other course had 16 bachelor’s students from the Loyola University Chicago, and their course syllabus was rather similar compared to DBMC. I hope all our international students enjoyed their time here in Finland and got to experience the Finnish culture to its fullest!
As the program assistant my daily tasks varied a lot and every day was different. I would say that one of the best aspects of this job was that I got to learn so many new things, like how to use different platforms, such as WordPress, Microsoft Teams, Adobe Connect and so on. The skills I have gained here will most certainly be useful in my future career as well. Primarily, I was responsible for communications and marketing, which means that posting on different social media channels, such as Facebook and Instagram, was a big part of my job. As Helsinki was an unfamiliar city to nearly all the students we hosted here during the summer, guiding and informing them about the Finnish culture and practicalities was very important. It was nice to notice that my help was appreciated as I received some positive feedback for my clear and detailed posts and instructions.
Marketing via Instagram and other social media channels is vital when it comes to taking care of the visibility of the courses and attracting new students for the upcoming summer. This kind of creative marketing is something I am very interested in and want to improve at. I feel like this job has really made me more confident of my own skills, whether it is writing texts and posts in English or coping with surprising situations. Before starting my work this summer I already had some experience on this field as I am the marketing responsible in the international subcommittee of the student union KY (KY-Sub). These two jobs support each other pretty well, and I am really happy about that. Alongside with marketing, I got to be involved in planning and organizing some events, such as the annual ITP sits party, which was a real blast!
Meeting the amazing new people is something I would consider the most rewarding thing about this summer. It has been truly eye opening to get to know people from all around the world representing so many different cultures. It has been inspirational to observe how well people work together even though they come from totally different cultural environments.
I would like to thank the whole ITP team for being so amazing, and my special thanks I want to give to my immediate supervisor, ITP project manager, Heini-Maari Kemppainen. She made sure I knew what was expected of me, and that I had the tools for doing the work. Knowing I could always ask her for help made it easy to adjust to the working environment, especially in the beginning when everything felt so new. The whole ITP crew has great team spirit and it has been truly fun to work in this kind of environment where everyone gets along and is motivated to do their job as well as they can. I hope I have made their workload somewhat easier this summer!
All in all, I have enjoyed my time here at ITP more than at any of the summer jobs I have had before. Even though it is nice to continue my own studies in a couple of weeks, I will really miss working here. Seeing how the ITP staff does its work with such passion has made me appreciate this summer program even more, and attending it myself one day feels like a great opportunity!
Second year student at Aalto University School of Business