Essi Lesonen is Taking Every Opportunity

Essi Lesonen is a 29 year old Masters of International Business student who calls Oulu, Finland and Marbella, Spain, home. Essi completed her undergraduate degree in International Business from Oulu University of Applied Sciences in Finland.

"I decided I don't want to be one of them and I will grab every opportunity I'm presented with and just go with it. "

Q: What is something people wouldn't know about your hometown?

A: That Oulu is the "silicon valley" of Finland. A lot of IT companies reside there and there's a lot of high tech skills and knowledge in the region. Also, there's a pretty big sandy beach (Nallikari), that's almost as good as the beaches in southern Europe. Yes, there are beaches in Finland too!

Q: You have travelled a lot, what have those experiences taught you about yourself & the world?

A: For me personally, I have noticed that there is a tremendous strength inside of me and I'm more courageous than I thought. What it has taught me about the world is how unjust and unfair it is sometimes, but even after all the hardships people encounter all over the world, there's still beauty and happiness in it, and in the end we're all the same and want similar things.

Q: Favourite three places you've lived or travelled?

A: I hate making top lists because each and every one of the places were amazing in different ways but if I HAVE to.... I’d say 1. Taipei 2. Melbourne 3. Shanghai

Q: What’s a word you like from your native country and why is it important to you?

A: I don't have a phrase but I do have a word that is important to me. It's "sisu". It's a Finnish word that doesn't have a direct translation to English, but it could be described as determination, perseverance, guts and courage. Someone with sisu is a courageous person who's not afraid of the challenges ahead of them and will push through the adversity. They never give up.

"I need spontaneity in my life and I like to be able to change my plans on a whim when a new opportunity arises."

Q: Is there a philosophy that describes your outlook on life? How did you come to that philosophy?

A: "Just go with it". I have seen so many people giving up or postponing the things they really want to do, or turning down opportunities, because of fear. So I decided I don't want to be one of them and I will grab every opportunity I'm presented with and just go with it. That's how I ended up doing this interview!

Q: Why did you choose Australia for a masters degree?

A: I didn't choose Australia per se, but I wanted to study at UniMelb after I met some faculty back when I was working in Jakarta. I also wanted to do a master's degree at some point in my life and I was also already in Australia so it was also just a matter of convenience and timing.

Q: Tell us about your work experience in Jakarta and how that prepared you to come to UniMelb

A: In Jakarta I worked in a local university and did digital marketing and sales there. It gave me an invaluable experience about what it’s like to navigate in a completely different culture to what I grew up in. I definitely grew as a person. At work I learned a lot about working in a multicultural team and of course the skills I learned from my work tasks helped me to put theory into practice. Having work experience definitely helps with master’s studies as it is easier to understand the concepts and how to apply them in real life.

Q: What do you want to get from UniMelb by the time you’ve finished your degree?

A: I hope that I have deepened my knowledge about all the aspects related to international business and that I have gained new insights and ideas. I also hope to make new connections and gain friends.

If you like this profile on Essi you may also like our profile on Francesca Pujatti. Click here to read.

Q: Do you make plans? If so where do you see yourself in 3 years, 5 years?

A: I don't really plan anything. I do have some ideas what I want to do in the future, but they're not set in stone. I need spontaneity in my life and I like to be able to change my plans on a whim when a new opportunity arises.

Q: Who is a person you’ve met recently who inspired you?

A: I don't have one single person, but it's all the international students that have come here alone and left their countries and familiar circles for the first time. It can be daunting at times and the culture shock can be intense, but yet here they are, thriving, learning and making memories.

Q: You're very far from your home in Finland, what do your family & friends expect from you?

I'm very lucky because my family and friends are very supportive and they they want me to be happy and do my thing. They have never pressured me to live my life in a certain way. So, I think they just expect me to be happy and live my own life.

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