Story | 12/19/2023 08:16:04 | 5 min Read time

UPM Graduate Life: Three things that impress me the most about UPM

Justin Liu

UPM Graduate

I began my graduate journey in Communication Papers in August 2023. Inspired by UPM’s vision of sustainability, its pursuit of innovation, and human-centric work culture, I am excited to embark on the journey and be part of the driving force in creating a future beyond fossils.

As someone who grew up in Asia, I have long been intrigued by the renowned Nordic work culture and strong focus on environmentalism and sustainability. This has left me curious to witness what its means first-hand. My experience at UPM has exceeded my expectations and given me confidence in its vision of a future beyond fossils.

There are three things above all that impress me about working at UPM: the strong commitment to sustainability, the relentless pursuit of innovative business, and the outstanding work culture, which prioritizes work-life balance, personal development, and collaboration. 

 
 

The triple planetary crisis encompassing climate change, biodiversity loss, and the growing volume of pollution and waste has sharpened my awareness of the profound negative impacts our actions can have on planet Earth. When I first discovered UPM, I was deeply impressed not only by its visionary purpose but the concrete actions it has taken to make a positive impact on the environment. During the kick-off week, as we delved into various business areas and functions, what stood out to me was that sustainability is ingrained at the very core of UPM’s strategy. Two recent examples are the transition to delivering paper products with electric trucks and the replacement of diesel forklifts with electric forklifts at UPM mills. These projects demonstrate UPM’s commitment to pursuing environmentally-friendly and energy-saving solutions. UPM clearly walks the talk! As a graduate, I am excited about the prospect of witnessing more sustainability initiatives and projects coming to fruition. The opportunity to contribute to a future beyond fossils at UPM is something I deeply treasure.

When it comes to innovation, I appreciate the company’s open-minded stance towards embracing and testing new technologies and solutions that have the potential to enhance business efficiency and performance. At the time of writing this blog, generative AI was making headlines and being discussed worldwide. UPM has been proactively exploring how it can leverage this new technology while addressing potential risks. The company’s open-minded attitude has fostered and encouraged extensive discussions and diverse experimentation in the company, which is something that I highly value. Additionally, UPM stands out as a diverse organization, with its various business areas actively testing and developing novel, high-quality products. Notable examples include the world’s first-ever fleece jacket made of wood-based polyester and a fully fibre-based packaging solution that reduces the use of fossil-based materials while preserving food taste. It is inspiring to witness how the company is taking an innovative approach that fosters continuous improvement, adaptability, and a forward-thinking mindset.

Lastly, I appreciate the work culture here at UPM. The company’s flat hierarchy encourages communication and collaboration among employees of different levels. During my first rotation, I have had the opportunity to work on a project that involves frequent communication with colleagues at all levels. Although the project is challenging, I appreciate the fact that I can seek advice and help from my manager and co-workers, who are approachable and friendly. It is also a new learning experience for me to collaborate with UPMers from diverse corners of the world. Witnessing the different perspectives and approaches that each team member brings to the table is truly priceless. Furthermore, UPM places a strong emphasis on fostering our continuous learning and personal development. Over the course of my journey, I have had the privilege of attending numerous workshops and training sessions spanning topics such as generative AI and agile project management. I am also paired with a personal mentor with whom I can discuss my career trajectory, personal growth, and improvement areas. These opportunities have proven beneficial, providing me with guidance and insights that contribute significantly to my professional development. Hence, in addition to honing my expertise in data management, I have also developed my knowledge across various subject areas, cultivating a more well-rounded and versatile skill set. The unwavering support I receive from my manager, mentor, and fellow UPMers has been invaluable. As I anticipate taking on more responsibilities to work on larger projects, I look forward to encountering more opportunities that will encourage me to explore and push beyond my comfort zone. Overall, I am highly satisfied with the graduate programme.

Despite being a Finnish-based company, UPM has successfully grown and expanded its presence to countries all around the world. I firmly believe that future graduates, regardless of their nationality and background, will find immense value in elements of Finnish culture in both their personal and professional development within the company. I wholeheartedly recommend the graduate programme to anyone who is interested in applying. Join us on this exciting journey as we work together to create a future beyond fossils!

 
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