On Thursday evening 2nd of February VTT’s office in Otaniemi is buzzing with new, excited and eager faces. The staff has welcomed 50 selected engineering students to join them for a relaxed evening of board games, good food and mingling. You can sense the enthusiasm and anticipation in the air both among the students and VTT. Let the games begin!
Together with VTT we organized the Geeks’n’ Games -event to connect engineering students from different fields with this leading research- and technology organization. The aim was to familiarize students with different summer job opportunities VTT offers and to share information on VTT as an employer and its innovations and research. The stakes were high as eighteen open positions were presented during the evening. VTT showed demos related to different projects but the evening was not all about business. Throughout the event students got to network with VTT’s staff in an easygoing atmosphere by playing board games and enjoying the awesome hotdog buffet.
So why is VTT opening its doors and letting a group of students do an exploration in their office? This is how VTT’s representative Tia Noponen describes the company’s motivation: “We wanted to organize an event where students get to know VTT better as a company and employer while also meeting the company staff. This way students can get a better idea what it’s like to work in the company.”
VTT’s staff had a strong presence in the event which ensured the relaxed and approachable atmosphere. Tia continues that the best part of the evening was “the buzz that grew from the conversations between students and VTT’s employees”. We were happy to discover that discussing with the staff was what nearly all students also enjoyed the most. “The fact that I could have an honest informal discussion with the VTT-people about the realities of the recruitment process and their working life” is how a future researcher attending the event sums up his favorite part.
In addition to networking with VTT’s employees, the students were excited to hear about different research projects and generally learning more about the company. One of the attending students thought that “every professional and their way of explaining their ongoing projects” was the most intriguing part of the event. And many agreed with her. One particular project was mentioned repeatedly among students. It was the VR demo which was found “totally awesome”.
We could sense from the feedback we got from the students that VTT’s research and projects together with the company staff and casual atmosphere made the evening. We wanted to hear how the event had influenced the participants’ impressions about VTT, and evidently many prejudices were broken. “This event made VTT appear as a much more attractive employer for me than I had considered it before”, is how one of the students described his feelings. Also the versatile research caught attention. “The event made me realize how diverse VTT is in its research”, was a frequent comment among participants.
As the hours had passed by and it was time to wrap up the evening we could sense that both students and VTT staff left with their pockets full of new experiences, acquaintances and ideas. Geeks’n’Games definitely worked as a trigger in altering students’ perceptions about VTT as an employer. Another impressed future researcher reveals how his feelings “went from ”possible” to ”I want to work here”.