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Oct 7, 2019 5:05:39 PM

Summer Roadies edition 2019

Olivia Helle

Consultant, Full Stack Marketing


"Summer days, driftin' away..."

But oh those Columbia Road times! 

Meet some of our lovely 2019 summer Roadies. They're bright and brilliant, and ready to take on the world. Perhaps you'll be one of them in 2020?


Get a summer job reminder!


Samuli Kesseli | Aalto University, School of Business | Information and Service Management

Samuli_KesseliWhy Columbia Road?

During my Bachelor studies I got interested in website development and started to do my own projects as well as help friends with their website needs. Through website design and development I also got interested in marketing technology. I acquired so many projects that I finally reached the point where I had to set up my own company to handle them.

While doing research to decide the company name and what the company website should look like, I randomly ran into Columbia Road’s website. I remember reading through the cases and the website in general thinking that working in these kinds of projects with this kind of a data-driven approach is something I would like to do in the future for a living. During my Bachelor’s exchange in Istanbul I noticed an opening at Columbia Road, applied, and the rest is history, I guess.

What did you learn during the summer?

Unlike most summer Roadies I joined already in February, so I have had more time to learn and experience Columbia Road. Even though the first month was quite intensive, I felt that I learned more during that month than during all of my previous “part-time” entrepreneurship projects.

There are so many things I could list as learnings, varying from substance knowledge to the practical elements of consultant work. The one key learning I want to highlight is the importance of openly asking for help when encountering even the slightest feeling of needing it, especially in the beginning. I never realised how important company culture can be before joining Columbia Road.

What are your plans for the future?

Right now, I am focusing on handling my Master’s studies while simultaneously working at Columbia Road. I already know that I have challenging 2 years ahead of me. I am also still getting used to living in the capital region of Finland. That has been, and continues to be, an interesting experience.

Anything else on your mind?

To me it’s amazing to walk through the office knowing no matter what it is that might be troubling my mind, there are always people around me who are more experienced in similar types of problems. Or who are simply so incredibly smart that brainstorming on random topics will breed amazing ideas.

Jaya Kumar Bidari | Metropolia University of Applied Sciences | Software Engineering

Jaya_Kumar_BidariWhy Columbia Road?

I got to know Columbia Road by coincidence through social media. After some research I found out that my interests were firmly aligned with what Columbia Road was doing. After starting at Columbia Road I’ve continuously been fascinated by how the technologies we use bring transformation to our clients and help them grow efficiently. Digitalisation cannot be overlooked and Columbia Road is a market leader. I wanted to be part of the journey to learn and grow while helping our clients to grow.

What did you learn during the summer?

I was lucky to be part of projects where I got the chance to work with technologies I had never worked with before. I found myself learning and working on CRM integrations to webstore development with Woocommerce. We had a diverse and a coordinated team. I learnt about project planning, teamwork, agile development, customer satisfaction and improved my soft skills. The internal trainings I attended gave me new insight on consulting and boosted my confidence.

What are your plans for the future?

I am a continuous learner, and learning new technologies is always on my to-do list. I’m currently working on my Bachelor’s Degree in software engineering, and my plan is to graduate by 2020. I’m lucky to be continuing at Columbia Road part-time while studying, so I’m also looking forward to exciting and challenging projects in the future.

Anything else on your mind?

For me, summer was not only about work. I was happy to make some good friends. We talked, not only about our work and projects, but also about our hobbies, and careers, and we shared our backgrounds, cultures and feelings. I really enjoyed the fun we had in Linnanmäki with summer Roadies, and the time we spent with the whole company at the Futulon summer party. Moreover, I always enjoyed my time with my team members at work where we learnt from each other everyday, got into problems, solved them, dared to make mistakes, learned from those mistakes, cherished each moment and grew continuously.

Ellen Aarinen | Aalto University, School of Science | Information Networks

Ellen_AarinenWhy Columbia Road?

My former colleague and friend from university recommended Columbia Road and encouraged me to apply to their summer programmes. I applied before Christmas in the hope of becoming their new Sales Associate. They were super fast in their moves and recruiting was very professional. When Columbia Road’s Managing Partner Lauri called me with an offer, I felt excited right away and said yes.

What did you learn during the summer?

At Columbia Road I really got to do a wide array of different things. I’ve been working in sales, project planning and management. I’ve been developing internal sales and account management strategies, but also helping with recruitment and various events. Columbia Road has given me a chance to learn and to experience what goes into making companies from different industries flourish in the digital business environment.

What are your plans for the future?

I definitely want to keep on working in consulting. For an outgoing person like me, client work has been especially exciting and fun. I’ve been given a great deal of responsibility, trust and encouragement to take initiatives, which have been the highlights of this summer. I hope to be able to work in companies with a similar kind of work culture and to spread the mentality to other organisations as well.

I want to also add that I’ve really enjoyed the agile IT environment combined with the digital business mindset that Columbia Road has. It has awoken my interest to working with digital business development and strategies in the future as well.

Anything else on your mind?

One of the best things at Columbia Road are the people. Columbia Road is full of fascinating stories behind bubbly personalities, who are also hard-core professionals in their area of expertise.

Thor Galle | Aalto University, School of Science | Human-Computer Interaction & Design

Thor_GalleWhy Columbia Road?

Over the last few years I submerged into entrepreneurship studies in my minor, learning hands-on how to create digital products and services. We used iterative and lean business development methods to learn quickly and provide real value to customers. However, barely any attention was given to how these methods could be applied to existing companies. Columbia Road fills that gap in the digital market. We help companies achieve their highest commercial potential online by using modern practices, not wasteful IT projects. Now that’s a mission I subscribe to!

What did you learn during the summer?

A lot, and on many levels. The consultancy world was completely new for me, but the guidance from experienced mentors at Columbia Road combined with learning on the go helped me to find my way. The variety of projects ensured that learning never ended: each unique case introduces new technology stacks, new stakeholders and new goals – that’s what I like the most.

If I had to pick one topic that I learned most about, it would be communication. Columbia Road has a flat hierarchy, meaning that everyone takes ownership of our work, but with great power also comes great responsibility. Good communication is essential for the company, both internally and externally, but what does that mean? Good communication is timely, proactive, precise, concise, honest, polite and relevant. And probably much more. It is not easy, and I have made some mistakes there. But hey, that’s the way to learn!

What are your plans for the future?

Ah, the future. I don’t plan that far ahead. I’m finishing my Master’s Degree now in Stockholm while continuing part-time at Columbia Road’s Stockholm office, and I’m really enjoying the new environment. I know that I want to keep on learning, but where? That remains a question. Back to my home country Belgium? Staying in Stockholm? Back to Helsinki? Somewhere else? Living internationally opens up a world of possibilities.

Anything else on your mind?

Columbia Road is full of humans who are passionate about what they do, and I really appreciate that. We all help each other every day, and there’s plenty of fun activities outside of work too. Some colleagues recently started arranging regular language exchange sessions for those interested for example – ideal, because I’m learning Swedish right now. And we’ll have a full company get together in Stockholm this weekend. I’m really looking forward to it!

Jose Zapata | Haaga-Helia University of Applied Science | Software Engineering

Jose_ZapataWhy Columbia Road?

I wanted to find a company that could help me grow as a professional and as a person. I met some people from Columbia Road at Slush and got a good vibe from them. They seemed chill and down to earth, just like me. I saw that they did things differently and I wanted to be part of that movement.

What did you learn during the summer?

In this short time I was able to take part in various intriguing projects ranging from web based services to cross platform mobile applications. I've learnt new technologies, further expanded my existing knowledge and gained insight on best practices from fellow Roadies. Most importantly, I grew as a person and learned a lot about myself. I learned to step out of my comfort zone when needed and even took the lead on a complex project, driving it to success.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to finish my Bachelor's Degree by the end of the year. Then I'll continue my journey of exploring new parts of the world while bringing my ideas to reality by using technology as a tool.

Did we get you inspired? Unfortunately the application period for the 2020 summer jobs is over. If you're not graduating anytime soon you might want to subscribe for a summer job reminder – to get reminded when to apply the next time!

Get a summer job reminder!


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