Doctoral degree led to a position at the international top of the chemical industry

For Tero Mustonen, working in Germany, the doors to the world opened with a unique combination of degrees in chemistry and microelectronics and an open-minded attitude.
Henkilö seisoo ulkona parvekkeella. Taustalla näkyy asuintaloja.

Unique combination of degrees and a curious mind opened the doors to the world

Tero Mustonen, who works in a large chemistry corporation in Germany, says he ended up working abroad thanks to his courage and curiosity. The opportunity to learn, lies outside your comfort zone.

"I want to seize the opportunities. When a new thing comes up, you have to first say yes. This is how I have ended up in interesting positions abroad.“

Mustonen has completed his master's degree in chemistry and his doctoral degree in microelectronics. In Central Europe, a multidisciplinary degree combining technology and chemistry is exceptional. It has effectively opened doors in working life.

"I have the perfect degree in the sense that, I work in the chemistry sector, and I also have an understanding of the technology sector. This has made me interesting compared to other job seekers with merely one field of education,“ says Mustonen.

"My studies in Oulu gave me the confidence to get involved and learn new things. With this attitude, I have advanced in my career.“

Adapting to an international working environment was not a problem, as Mustonen participated in various projects with international researchers already during his studies. German, on the other hand, he did not speak at all before he left for Europe but has learned the language while living abroad.

"My studies in Oulu gave me the confidence to get involved and learn new things. With this attitude, I have advanced in my career", says Mustonen.

A doctoral degree is a certificate of competence

While working in Central Europe, Mustonen has noticed the value of a doctoral degree in the fields of natural science and technology. In research and product development, it is important to demonstrate that you have produced new information by yourself, and a doctoral dissertation is the best demonstration of this.

"The doctoral dissertation forms a recent graduate's work experience. In large companies, those awarded a doctorate are invited to interviews on the product development side.“

Large international companies attract a multitude of employees and competition for positions is intense. A person dreaming of a career in the industry sector, should strengthen their competence even after completing the doctoral degree.

"International experience as a post-doc researcher is beneficial. A common career path after a doctoral dissertation leads first to a researcher position at the university, and then to the industrial sector", explains Mustonen.

Chemistry providing solutions for a sustainable future

Mustonen actively monitors the research in both, electronic and chemical industry. Concerning the electronic industry, he is waiting for breakthroughs in the development of battery technology, which currently consumes an abundance of energy and natural resources and, from the chemical industry, solutions for transitioning to a circular economy.

"Chemical research has a lot to offer, when planning a system, in which all materials can be recycled as raw materials for new products," says Mustonen.

At Mustonen's workplace, sustainable development is taken seriously. A company aiming at carbon neutrality has several circular economy projects under way.

"The chemical industry can solve the circular economy issue. Large companies must take the matter seriously.“

As the career progresses, the tasks change

In the early stages of his career, Mustonen was involved in developing future technologies, which are now beginning to appear on the market.

"At the time, the articles under development seemed distant when the finished result could not yet be seen. Now it feels great to see flexible screens on the market, knowing that I have been able to contribute to them, during the research phase", reflects Mustonen.

Today, Mustonen works in marketing at the chemistry giant BASF, to where he has transitioned from the tasks of research and development, as well as of chemical legislation and product safety. The planning of marketing campaigns and the marketing of products, he has learned at work. The doctorate is beneficial in this task, as well.

"Technical marketing requires a scientific background, in order to be able to best highlight the technical characteristics of the products. I have a comprehension of the technical problems and requirements of customers from various industries and am able to offer them my expertise and solutions.”

Original text in Finnish: Terhi Suominen. Photo: Tero Mustonen's family album.

Tero Mustonen

• Doctor of Microelectronics
• M.Sc. Chemistry
• Senior Technical Marketing Manager at the chemistry giant BASF

• Mustonen has been engaged in electronic music since primary school age, and in 2021 he intends to celebrate his 30th anniversary as an artist. Especially during his studies, producing music has provided a counterbalance to reading for exams.