Your Difference is your Strength!

News article

At Pre-Wappu event, a networking evening for the international members of TEK and Suomen Ekonomit, André Noël Chaker encouraged his audience by quoting Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken!”

About 50 people, working professionals, job seekers and students gathered together to listen to inspiring presentations, to network and to celebrate May Day when Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK and The Finnish Business School Graduates – Suomen Ekonomit organised a joint Pre-Wappu networking event for their international members on 28 April on restaurant ship Wäiski in Hakaniemi.

“Your difference is your strength”

The keynote speaker at the event was André Noël Chaker. Originally French Canadian lawyer moved to Finland at the beginning of 1990s. He has built a very successful career in Finland. André is a charismatic and entertaining speaker who charmed the audience. He recounted his life story in Finland. He still seems to be amused by the fact that he was chosen as the Speaker of the Year in 2012 in Finland (Speakersforum) even though he is not from Finland.    

André praised Finnish culture and it upsets when he sees negative articles about it. That’s why he has, for example, written the book “The Finnish Miracle – Ihanuuksien ihmemaa”. André encouraged the audience to trust themselves, saying “more important than perfection is the positive uniqueness… your difference is your strength”. As final words he quoted Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”

Neha Gupta, originally from India, told us that according to statistics more than 70 % of international graduates would like to stay and work in Finland. Sadly, not so many of them can find work here. Those who are from outside the EU need to find a job within three months after graduating before their visas expire. This is not a sad thing only for the graduates but also for Finland which has educated these people for free and is then wasting the talents and skills they have acquired. That’s why there is

Neha Gupta is a campaign focusing on the employment of highly educated international visitors to Finland. It is organized by the Confederation of Finnish Industries, Sitra, Team Finland, Finpro, Amcham Finland and Me2we. The service works on the Me2we platform.

Getting to Know People and Finnish May Day Traditions

Student member of Ekonomit Ines Kuusik from Estonia and full member of TEK Marius Popa from Romania both attended the event to get to know people and experience Finnish May Day traditions. They have both been living in Finland already for years. Marius in particular seems to have a very typical Finnish dream: he dreams of having his own house with a garden in Finland. He works in Pori in quality assurance. Ines is not sure yet whether she would like to stay or leave Finland after her studies in Hanken.

Both Ines and Marius also dream about establishing their own company. Ines thinks that Finnish working culture should embrace more passion, flexibility and an adventurous mind. Both of them said that networking events are really beneficial. They suggested that networking events could also concentrate on a certain field or a topic of interest. 

In addition to presentations and free networking, there was also speed dating for mentoring purposes. International members were eager to hear experiences from people who have been working in Finland for a longer time. There was also great live music from the amazing Polirytmi, a “dynamically syncopated” student jazz band from Otaniemi.