Mikhail came from Brazil to work for Valtra
From a young age, Brazilian Mikhail Oliveira was interested in seeing the world and working abroad. He was studying engineering in Brazil when his sister showed him an advert about study and work opportunities in Finland. Mikhail filled in applications, got a degree in logistics at the Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences and eventually got a job at Valtra. Now he leads a team of 14 people of 9 different nationalities.
Adapting to the Finnish climate, for example, has been difficult for a Rio de Janeiro resident, but on the other hand, Finland also has its good points, such as a low hierarchy. People are friendly here once you get to know them better. Working in English is getting easier every year at Valtra," - Mikhail Oliveira.
Mikhail Oliveira was studying engineering in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when his sister showed him a "Come to study in Finland" advert in late 2016. Mikhail knew almost nothing about Finland, but started to learn more about the country. He took an entrance exam organised by the Finnish government in Sao Paulo. In the spring of 2017, he was informed that he had been accepted to study International Logistics at Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences.
"I talked to my family and friends. They encouraged me to go. Finnish education has a very good reputation," says Mikhail.
Mikhail exchanged his studies in Rio for studies in Jyväskylä. For his final thesis, he looked for an internship in Brazil and Europe.
"A friend of mine from college was already working for Valtra. He told at Valtra that I was looking for a topic for my thesis. It soon turned out that Valtra needed a thesis student to research a purchasing issue. They liked my research plan and I started working on my thesis at Valtra in January 2020, just before corona struck."
Networking and making connections
Due to corona, Mikhail did much of his final work remotely. A month after finishing his thesis in the summer of 2020, he got a permanent job as a materials designer at Valtra. Mikhail Oliveira’s thesis supervisor had personally recommended him to his materials design supervisor.
"Working days are super-busy. At school I learned the theory, but in practice things are more complicated. Every day is different. Lots of problem solving, reporting and meetings with people like production, purchasing, quality, product development and production planning to make sure all the parts needed on the assembly line are always in the right place at the right time."
About two years later, a major reorganisation took place and Mikhail replaced his former boss as head of the department.
International employees are valued
"My team consists of 14 people and 9 different nationalities. So Finns of Finnish origin are in the minority. Among them are a Somali, a Filipino and, in addition to myself, another Brazilian. Of course, many of them have lived in Finland for years or decades and know the language perfectly."
According to Mikhail, the situation of foreign workers who do not speak Finnish has clearly improved in the last couple of years.
"There is still a lot to do, but the situation has improved a lot in the last couple of years. Finnish colleagues speak English and more and more of the company's general information is available in English."
Valtra and AGCO's world-wide operations offer possible international opportunities
Mikhail does not want to plan his future carefully but remains open to new opportunities.
"I was motivated from a young age to go abroad and see the world. I am still open to new opportunities. They can be at Valtra or in the international AGCO Group, in Finland or abroad. I like to see what opportunities come my way, think carefully and then make decisions. I don't want to be stuck in one thing for the rest of my life."
Mikhail visits relatives and friends in Brazil at least once a year. Valtra also has a tractor factory in Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil, but in practice, Mikhail has had little contact with his Brazilian colleagues so far. Valtra and AGCO's international operations could be one way of seeing the world in the future.