Engineering with a business approach and an arctic attitude

When I was choosing my master’s degree programme I did not want to completely let go of my engineering background. But at the same time, I wanted to be involved in the business side of an organization. Business Analytics was the perfect combination for me.
Northern Lights
The first time I saw northern lights

Business Analytics

The Business Analytics programme in Oulu is a joint degree between the Oulu Business School and the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. When applying, you can choose between three different study paths: Business, Information Processing Science and Computer Science and Engineering, the latter being mine.

The first year is practically common to all study paths and in the second year, we have specialized courses. In my case, since I am in the Computer Science and Engineering study path, I know my second year will require a good programming foundation.

Because I wasn’t formally introduced to Python during my Bachelor’s, I decided to take extra bachelor-level courses in programming during my first term. I was initially a little intimidated by the necessary programming skills, but this Elementary Programming course has been exceptional in every way.

It’s great that I have time and flexibility to follow my business analytics (BA) courses and still dedicate myself to strengthening my programming skills for my future specialized courses.

For me, the multidisciplinary approach is what makes this degree so unique. The entire programme was designed to consider both the business and technological points of view.

For example, in the first period, we have a course called Intermediate Course to Business Analytics. The course is the perfect example of how the different aspects of business analytics are considered: in one lecture we have insights from a business expert, the following lecture is given by a data engineer, and then the following by an information systems specialist. By the end of the course, we have a group project where we are divided according to our backgrounds so that each group had students from every aspect of BA.

With this degree, when I look for prospective workplaces, I am no longer restricted to technology companies. Since data is needed in quite literally every field, there are no limitations on where you can work.

Why Oulu?


Oulu is one of the most affordable cities in Finland. The rents can be less than half the price than they would be in Helsinki. In many establishments, students can get discounts, including markets and restaurants.

Oulu is also the 5th biggest city in the country in terms of population. You can find everything you need here, all the services and options a city can offer but also live a quiet life near nature.

The city centre has many options for restaurants, shops, cafés, and bars. And especially after you find a group of friends, there are lots of options for activities around the city. There are many music festivals in the summer and student events happening every week throughout the year.

One of the first things you should do when you start your studies is joining your student guild and attend the events, that’s the easiest way of meeting new people.

Easy and quick to get everywhere

Transportation is also very accessible. The monthly bus pass costs only 42€ for students and the bus routes have a good coverage, adjusting some routes specifically to match the university schedule.

Now, for example, I live in the completely opposite side of the city compared to the university, but I can still get to the main campus in 21 minutes by bus. Another extremely common option of transportation is biking.

Where I lived in Brazil, biking is mostly only practised as a sport or a hobby. So, I was initially shocked when I arrived here and saw people, especially students, biking everywhere at -20°C. But I quickly overcame my initial resistance and realized how convenient and safe it is to bike in Oulu, even in the winter.

The city has a long coverage of bike routes, that are completely separated from the car lanes, making it very safe if you’re a beginner like me. And because in winter the temperatures are always usually below 0°C, the snow doesn’t melt, so it’s not slippery.

Oulu is considered the capital of winter cycling.

Technology Hub

Oulu is an engineer’s city. The University of Oulu offers many research opportunities and has close collaboration with local companies.

One of the main “problems” I have heard from many senior engineering students is that they are offered full-time jobs before they finish their studies.

Finnish nature and winter

I know it might seem weird and counterintuitive. Trust me, I come from a city that has summer all year round, with a minimum temperature of +20°C. The very high latitude of Oulu and the cold winters are reasons that usually scare many international students. But winter is the most magical season in Finland, and you should most definitely not fear it.

For one, the city is prepared for the cold. All the buildings have proper heating, 3-layer windows, good insulation. Every time it snows, roads are quickly cleaned by machines, both car and pedestrian/bike lanes.

For two, winter is beautiful. And Finns, especially in the north, are very connected to nature. There are many winter activities that you can enjoy for free and without needing to travel somewhere, like ice skating, cross-country skiing, and sledging.

And last but not least, winter is when you’re most likely to see northern lights! And they can be seen even from your apartment! That is something that you can’t really do in the south, and it’s a magical experience.

About the author

Aline Uchôa de Araújo is a first-year Business Analytics student from Brazil. She is excited about learning and getting to know different cultures.