Olli Karvonen

Process and System Specialist, Wärtsilä Finland
Master of Science (Technology) 2022, Industrial Systems Analytics
Olli Karvonen

Why did you choose the University of Vaasa? 

I come from Kempele, Finland, and I had heard that Vaasa is a pleasant city with a great university. Also, energy technology sounded like the thing of the future, so during the joint application process in spring 2017, I included the University of Vaasa as one of my choices. 

I at once felt welcomed by the city and the student community, especially the engineering students, so I now call the city my home.

During my bachelor's studies, I focused on industrial management. I did my master's studies mostly in English, and the major was called Industrial Systems Analytics. I received my degree at the December graduation ceremony in 2022. Nevertheless, I haven't completely left the campus, as I've been accepted as a doctoral student pursuing a doctorate in technology.

What do you fondly remember about your studies and student life?

The best memories from my study time revolve around people: a group of about ten friends formed during our first year. Since then, whether it was problem-solving in exercises or student life with our red overalls on, teamwork was our guiding principle. I am still in touch with my friends from those student years even now as alumni, despite some of them being hundreds of kilometres away.

Regarding the studies, I remember the teachers' professionalism and their ability to dissect highly complex topics into comprehensible parts, which students could grasp one at a time. What stood out was how encouraging the teachers were: failure was entirely acceptable, and mistakes were opportunities to learn. It was also great that even small successes, such as individual exercise tasks, got positive feedback.

What's your job like?

I work as a Process and System Specialist at Wärtsilä Finland. My job involves data analytics, modelling, and visualisation for Project Services at Marine Power. I also develop software robots (RPA) as needed and train new employees on our document management system, for example. The key aspect is ensuring that those working on our projects have access to the most accurate and up-to-date data as possible. Apart from my regular duties, I strive to enhance collaboration with higher education institutions together with my colleagues.

My work is partly usual specialist work, emphasising quick comprehension and in-depth understanding of matters. However, it's also diverse and varied: one day, I might be contemplating data modelling, while another day, I could be taking on the role of a trainer or educator. Moreover, I often metaphorically put on my student overalls when a new project lands on my desk, delving into its intricacies, setting goals and deadlines to be achieved.

The best part of my job is collaborating with top-notch professionals using the best tools available. Succeeding in the job demands creativity and a continuous learning of new skills and knowledge, which keeps the work interesting. It's also rewarding: solving complex problems and enhancing professional skills feels great. The challenging moments come when my expertise doesn’t seem sufficient, which can be frustrating. Fortunately, with experience and skill development, such situations become fewer over time.

One great moment this autumn was when I had the opportunity to chat with Tutti association's first-year students about my journey to where I am today. Six years ago, I was on the other side of the table, a new student listening to similar career stories.

What was the most important thing you learned at university?

University is an excellent place to start growing into an expert. The process of becoming an expert continues throughout one's career, but university supplies the tools needed to develop expertise. Many skills needed in the workplace are learned 'between the lines' while studying, so it's crucial to make the most out of course tasks and give one's best effort.

Like in sports, 'take it easy but give it your best' holds true for studies too. It's essential to plan how you will use your time and leave time for friends, leisure, and relaxation. The student period is a unique phase in life, so it's truly worth enjoying.