My Oulu: Daria wishes to give students more reasons to stay in Oulu

The Idea Competition was held in late April at BusinessAsema by UNIC CityLabs and BusinessOulu.

My Oulu


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Daria Zaikovskaia was the 2nd runner-up of Idea Competition. The event was a collaboration between UNIC CityLabs and BusinessOulu and took place at BusinessAsema. In the competition, participants were expected to share their solutions on how to promote valuable students´ working life connection in the city.

Graduated in Linguistics, Zaikovskaia has worked as an English teacher and as a Second Language teacher in her homeland Russia and in China. Now she is doing a master´s in Language, Education and Technology at the University of Oulu.

While looking for internships and reflecting about her own future in Oulu, Zaikovskaia had a burning question: “What kind of skills do I need for the opportunities in the job market?”. With a background in education, she wondered what professional options are available for people outside of the technology field.

Transferring knowledge

Trusting the chances are out there, she came up with her solution “Learning by doing” which goal is to foster students working life connections during their studies. Her idea provides an opportunity for students to observe professionals in action and see the real work environment, promoting immersive knowledge transfers between both sides.

“I believe that giving the students the opportunity to see a professional in action would provide them with a clear understanding what the expert’s day-to-day work is like, what challenges they have and what they do to overcome those,” she explains.

Her project’s goal is to give students the brief overview what the job is and give some hands-on experience of the working environment. Students would be able to ask a professional any questions related to their job, tasks, and responsibilities, as well as gain valuable insight and complete a real task related to the job. Students interested to participate would be matched with relevant professionals in different fields, from city planning to IT, who would be open to share about their working routine.

“If I were to compare it to something, it’s more like ´bring your kid to work´, but instead of kids and teenagers you have fully grown adults yet with little to no idea what they’re doing”.

Sense of community

Daria Zaikovskaia was grateful for participating in the competition and to be given a platform to say about idea.

“I try to make the presentation more personal and relate to the audience. It gives you a sense of community,” she said after pitching.

As a finalist Zaikovskaia was awarded a mentorship from key professionals of Oulu region, will present her solution at UNIC CityLabs Festival and get a professional picture from BusinessOulu.

She will also benefit from mentoring sessions from a selected board of mentors who will offer professional guidance for her:
Jari Karjalainen, Development Director, Osuuskauppa Arina
Juha Ala-Mursula, Director, BusinessOulu
Mikko Ahokas, CEO, Macon Oy
Jenna Antinmaa, Sales & Marketing Manager, ChocoSomnia Oy
Anu-Maarit Moilanen, CEO, Oulu City Theatre
Laura Piila, Vice President, Optomed Oyj