Career stories

Minna Lanz, University of Tampere

Professor of Automation and Mechanical Engineering

"Choose technology! The ultimate idea of technology is to reduce the workload and create wealth for humanity".
Minna Lanz

What have you studied and how did you choose this option?

I came to the University of Tampere, then the University of Technology, in 1999. My first exchange was architecture and the second was mechanical engineering. My stepfather Kimmo was a good example. He changed from a salesman to a mechanical engineer when I was in high school, and through him I was introduced to 2D and 3D modelling and mechanical engineering. I first became familiar with the technology and then became interested in it.

How did you become a professor of automation and mechanical engineering?

I was lucky and received a total of five thesis offers. I chose the offer from the then Department of Production Engineering and immediately started my thesis on an international project. My first assignment was just a few months later in Nottingham, England. This set off a stream of international research projects that kept moving forward towards new challenges.

What is the best thing about your job?

The best part is finding new challenges and the right research questions.

I work a lot with companies. Sometimes I wrestle with the nitty-gritty details and sometimes I look far into the future. The best thing is definitely the international research projects and the research community.

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

It's hard to remember successes afterwards. I count as a success, for example, when a project idea gets the green light or a publication goes through. The joy of success is when a colleague or a member of my research team succeeds in solving a technical or research challenge. I always try to make decisions based on the best information available at the time, based on facts. In this case, there is really no room for hindsight, because there was nothing else to do.

What are your expectations for the future?

I intend to find new and interesting challenges and then solve them. The more complex the problem, the more interesting it tends to be.

What greetings would you like to send to a young woman considering a career choice?

Choose technology! The ultimate idea of technology is to reduce the workload and create wealth for humanity. There are many interesting challenges, international contacts and good colleagues to be found in this field. Above all, there are fun jobs on offer and they pay well.

For whom is this a suitable career option?

This is for the curious and determined, the kind of person who is flexible but never gives up. A little ambition is always in order.

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