It is pretty common among young Finns these days to take a university degree abroad. The top three destination countries where Finnish students like to go are the United Kingdom, Sweden and Estonia.
This is exactly what Mr Aarne Puisto (24), a Finnish law student, has done. So far he has completed his Bachelor degree at the Tallinn University of Technology/Tallinn Law School in Estonia (2012-15) and he is now pursuing Master degree studies on European Business Law at the Lund University in Sweden (2015-17).
International law was a natural choice for me
“Initially I had the intention to do my legal studies in Finland, but as that did not work out the way I would have preferred, going abroad felt like a natural thing for me to do”, says Aarne. The choice of international law as his study field had been clear to him from very early on.
After some investigation the Tallinn Law School appeared as an optimal solution. “They offered a highly recommended Bachelor programme on international, comparative and European law, which genuinely was what I was looking for. Content-wise it was like tailor-made for me and my professional interests in the European justice system”, Aarne explains.
When launching his studies in Tallinn in the autumn of 2012, Aarne was of course very excited, but a little nervous at the same time. The main stress factor for him was simply the fact that the study programme was run completely in English. “I had not been using English in my daily life that frequently before, and then all of a sudden all communication was in academic English. At first it was a little hard, but very soon I felt that I was able to interact in English inside and outside of class without any major obstacles”, Aarne summarises his first months in Estonia.
The studies at the Tallinn Law School were composed of lecturing, independent learning, practical assignments and case studies including teamwork and presentations given by the students. “Of course it is crucial to listen to the lectures and learn about theories, legislation and the legal system as such. But I think that it is even more important to understand how the law can be interpreted in and adapted to different situations and contexts. To this end the different case studies and exercises were extremely useful”, Aarne reflects on his study experience.
On top of his studies in Estonia, Aarne took the initiative with some of his co-students to establish the Tallinn Law School Student Association as no such a forum was in place there yet. “There was an incredible amount of bureaucracy and administrative aspects involved in this venture”, Aarne says laughingly. “Had we known that in advance, we would never ever have taken the step to set up the Law Student Association. But now it is there and it is running all well.”
From Estonia to Sweden
Upon successful completion of his Bachelor level studies in Estonia (spring 2015), Aarne was interested in continuing his education in another country. So, again it was a matter of choosing a new study destination abroad. This time his choice fell on the Lund University in Sweden. The decisive arguments for him were that the legal education at the Faculty of Law there is based on research, has an emphasis on the EU and competition law and has the best ranking among the Nordic university faculties of law. Finally, it offers a solid foundation for entering a career in legal professions worldwide.
“I have truly enjoyed my study time in Sweden. One of the best things is that there is a perfect match and complementarity between what I learnt in Estonia and what I am now learning here. The most rewarding learning experience, while in Lund, has been the numerous visiting lecturers and external experts from the European Court of Justice, the European Commission, multinational companies and law firms. They have really added to the quality of learning with their legal expertise.”
“But now as I am supposed to finish my studies in 2017, my focus is getting more and more on how and where to enter the labour market. Making the transition from education to work as smoothly as possible is something that I am thinking of very much these days. I have had good summer jobs and other interesting part-time working experiences throughout the years. I also know how harsh the competition among graduates can be to find employment that corresponds to one’s qualification. So, I am well prepared for that!”
“As I see it, my professional orientation and my future career goals are somehow two-fold. On one hand, I am interested in a career as a lawyer in a larger law firm in the sectors of competition law, intellectual property rights and/or mergers and acquisitions. This could be in Finland or in any other European Union country. On the other hand, I could also see myself working for the European Commission in Brussels or for National Competition Authorities”, Aarne shares his future aspirations.
Aarne is promoting himself and his achievements to potential employers for any interesting job openings that fit his professional profile. “I am doing a lot networking within the academic circles and also in the private sector. Despite my young age, I have already learnt the value of setting up and maintaining good social relations and professional networks”, Aarne adds. “This is one of the key assets and resources that I possess!”
READ also the second part of Aarne’s interview through this link.
VISIT Aarne’s LinkedIn profile through this link.
SEE also this academic article by Puisto, A. & Alavi, H. (2016) Abuse of Dominant Market Position by Predatory Pricing - The Valio Case
Text: Mika Launikari based on an interview with Aarne Puisto (Löyly, Helsinki, on 10 July 2016)
Photo: Aarne Puisto