Tampere Taught Me To Be Entrepreneurial

Tampere Talent Ambassador Yulia Shumilova

I am from Tomsk, Russia, a half a million city in Siberia with 410-year history, six public universities and a number of private ones.

In Tomsk, I was working as an academic exchange coordinator, sending students abroad, and one day my boss forwarded to me information about the Erasmus Mundus scholarship to check for our students… But I couldn’t resist applying myself! As a result I got a chance to study in three countries: Norway, Finland and Portugal. The fourth semester we could choose where to write our Master’s thesis and I chose Tampere (over Oslo, that was offered to me), because I felt at home here (plus it was closer to Russia and not as expensive as Oslo :).

What would you like to tell about yourself?

During my 14 years in Tampere I have tried several hats: that of  a Master student, a  PhD researcher focusing on international graduate employability, an Erasmus+ project administrator, a planning officer,  a Conference producer and a part-time entrepreneur. I can’t say that my career path is smooth and stable, but due to certain instability of work positions I developed my sisu and learned to be entrepreneurial. I am going to write a research article about the importance of entrepreneurial capital soon.

What advice can you give to international talents planning to come to study in Tampere and stay for work?

As a researcher of  international graduate employability and an international graduate myself, the major advice that I can give is: if you can’t find a job, think of creating one yourself! 

Tampere entrepreneurial ecosystem (Demola, Y-kampus, Tribe, Tampere ES, Ensimetri, Red Brick Accelerator) will help you in this. So join their activities/programs already during your studies.  

And if you are planning to become a PhD student, please keep in mind that these days even PhD students have to be entrepreneurial as they often need to secure external funding for their studies. Grant writing and networking will be very important skills to master.

Why is Tampere the best place to live?

I am in love with Tampere’s nature and the view from Pyynikki tower. I guess, every other Ambassador has mentioned that already, yet it’s just worth seeing once all these lakes and forests! No wonder so many international students want to stay here after graduation (according to my research – at least 60%). 

Tampere is beautiful, safe, walkable, bike-able, fun (just wait for Vappu!) and foreigner-friendly. I am proud that the Mentoring program, Hidden Gems and the Ambassadors Talent Tampere networks were developed here.

Tell us more about your professional activities.

I work at Tampere University as a researcher, doing my PhD on the topic of International graduate employability in Finland and I am also involved in several EU funded projects. As an entrepreneur I organized more than 10 summer schools and professional development trainings for Russian partners in Tampere. 

Beside this, I am promoting the activities of Tampere Center for Russian Culture by organizing cooking/handicrafts and art workshops.


What is your involvement in international activities?

My workplace is quite international and in the EU-funded projects, I cooperate with a large network of partner universities from Europe, Asia, Russia and Ukraine.  In addition, I am glad that Tampere international community is becoming more active and I am trying to support my friends’ projects.

What potential do you see for Tampere in the future?

I believe that there is a huge potential in the international students who come to study here and stay after graduation as they build bridges between Tampere and their home cities and countries; bring diversity and stimulate innovation. And of course, I would like to see the new tram line finished and in action!

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