Career stories

Katri Kakko, EOS Finland

Development manager

“Research and design are a good fit for the adventurous and the organized. But basically, as R&D is a group activity and the best teams are versatile, you can come as you are!”

Katri Kakko, EOS Finland

What have you studied and what influenced this choice back in the day?

I studied materials science with the emphasis on materials characterization and did my master's thesis on powder metallurgy and sintering. For me materials science was a very last-minute decision, just days before the application deadline, as I was not sure what I wanted to do after high school. I was interested in science, languages, arts and crafts. At the time, I remember having a discussion with my dad that if I, personally, wanted to make the work life more equal for women, I should apply to a field with less women. Consequently, engineering seemed like a good choice, because it allowed several career paths and materials science seemed to be a combination of math, physics, chemistry and more, which I personally find interesting.

How did you become a development manager?

After my thesis, I was able to get an internship in additive manufacturing. During that summer, I got excited about using knowledge from "ancient technologies" (sintering, metallurgy) to do something novel (additive manufacturing) with less environmental impact. It took a little time and persistence to get a job in the field of additive manufacturing, but I was instantly hooked on the R&D world!

What is the best thing about your job?

Apart from the obvious answer - my colleagues - I really enjoy being able to do research and then take the results directly into use. For me, R&D is like a good puzzle: it is all about problem solving, optimization and organizing data. Additionally, it brings me joy to dig deep, learn new things every day and go off the beaten track.

What have been the highlights and most important lessons of your career?

My first job after graduation was that of a project engineer and I had the best supervisor, Sanna. She taught me many things and especially her leadership skills and soft skills together with her expertise made an ever-lasting impression. 

In my current job, one of the learnings has been that it is important to seize the opportunity and take risks - I would not feel at ease with these characteristics in my personal life, but being opportunistic in working life has helped me push my own boundaries.

What do you expect from the future?

Additive manufacturing is a relatively new technology and especially in Finland we are not very far at utilizing all the opportunities. I want to see the field grow sustainably and I hope to play a role of setting new standards for additive manufacturing.

For whom is this a suitable career option?

Research and design are a good fit for the adventurous and the organized. But basically, as R&D is a group activity and the best teams are versatile, you can come as you are!

What message would you like to send to a young person pondering their career?

Don't take too much pressure! Try different things to see, what you like and what you don't. Life is a learning experience, and you cannot plan everything in advance.

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