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Jukka Strand: Finland to US international student to Singapore World Bank

interstride logo by Interstride
December 16, 2022

About Jukka

Jukka Strand is a former international student from Finland who completed his Bachelor of Science at the London School of Economics and was then awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to complete a Master of International Affairs degree at Columbia University in New York City. His current role is Senior Infrastructure Finance Specialist at the World Bank, based in Singapore.

Walk us through your career path.

After graduating from Columbia, I started my career as an associate at Citigroup in New York. As the Global Financial Crisis took hold in 2008, I decided to pursue my long-lasting dream of working in an international organization and so I moved to Washington DC to work on transport infrastructure projects at the World Bank. Being able to use my financial skills to promote global development in challenging client environments proved to be very fulfilling and I have not looked back since.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while studying in the US?

The biggest challenge for me was to search for jobs in Washington while living in New York. The online networking tools were not as advanced as they are today, requiring me to make several trips to Washington to professionally break into the “World Bank bubble”.

What was your most valuable resource?

The support of peers, faculty and alumni was essential to my job search. You need to find the right people who can help you achieve your career goals

Can you tell us a fun fact?

One of the most memorable student moments I had was bumping into the President of Finland at the United Nations Headquarters, where I was working part-time. I had been looking forward to observing heads of state during their General Assembly meeting but could not have expected to be chatting and shaking hands with one, least of all my own President.

Do you have any advice for students studying in the US?

Boldly follow your dreams. The most difficult thing is deciding what you want to do and the rest is just executing a plan to get there.