Our alumni story - Project Management
”Completing the degree offered me a versatile and comprehensive experience and a lot of new perspectives on my current work.”
Inspiration to start studying again after years in working life
Power systems engineer Risto started studying for a Master’s degree 20 years after his first degree. The studies completed alongside work did not come for free, but proved that continuous self-development is worth it.
“Completing the degree offered me a versatile and comprehensive experience and a lot of new perspectives on my current work.”
Risto Hirvelä is one of the graduates of VAMK’s popular Project Management training program. He started studying for a new degree more than 20 years after receiving his engineering papers from the Technical Institute in Vaasa. Risto had already been interested in the programme years ago, but was not yet eligible to apply.
“I got excited when I saw that the application criteria had changed, and I was finally able to apply to the program with my old degree certificate as well”, Risto recalls.
During his career, Risto has had time to work in the most well-known technology companies in the Vaasa region: First at ABB, where he started as a summer worker, and then at Vacon for six years. In his current workplace at Wärtsilä Risto has enjoyed working for a long time.
“Now I have completed 15 years at Wärtsilä, where I work as an electrical manager in the project team on the power plant side with the title of Chief Project Engineer,” says Risto.
Risto is used to varied days in an international environment: e-mails and phone calls are exchanged and meetings are held across continents. His clients and projects are located, for example, in the Caribbean and South America, so there must be room for flexibility, as some of the meetings may occur in the evening.
Previous education and working life experience made studying easier
Risto recalls that his study time was filled with lectures, exams and exercises. On average, lectures were held every other Saturday. You also had to study in the evenings, but the study courses or assignments were not too challenging for Risto.
“Fortunately, there was a lot of familiar content in my studies. Some were directly linked to my work, so that’s why they seemed relatively easy. Of course, nothing came for free. There was some intensive studying for a year and a half.”
During the Corona period, all studies were moved online, but that didn’t bother Risto, on the contrary. Many of Risto’s fellow students lived and worked, for example, in southern and northern Finland, so especially for them, moving online was also an environmental and time-saving matter.
Risto considers gaining new perspectives and challenging himself to be the most important part of the studies.
“Completing the degree offered me a versatile and comprehensive experience and a lot of new perspectives on my current work. We worked a lot in teams, so we could also have interesting conversations with the fellow students,” Risto rejoices.