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Study Experiences, DP in International Business

Study Experiences, DP in International Business

International Business Students Write about Their Experiences

Jani Laisi, Autumn 2012

I started my studies at HAAGA-HELIA in August 2009 with 65 students from 28 different nationalities in the Degree Programme in International Business. From the very beginning, it was clear to me that financing will be the focus of my studies and my career. HAAGA-HELIA offered me a good opportunity to develop myself in this area and provided a good coverage of courses in financing, human resources management, marketing and logistics. There were also good opportunities to study languages.

The best things that the school offered me were a practical approach to learning and a multicultural learning environment, including great connections to schools around the world and exchange opportunities. Team work made me understand cultural differences and develop my communication skills, key factors in today’s global business environment.

From the outset, I wanted to concentrate on financing courses. However, the importance of basic studies in a wider array of topics was revealed to me at the end of my studies when I started working full time in a financing related position. The studies provided an understanding of business as a whole and a good knowledge of my chosen specialization. This made it easier to start working in financing, although the learning process starts from very beginning in working life.

I saved my work placement period to the last summer of my studies, as I wanted to concentrate on my specialisation in financing and use the placement as a stepping stone into working life. I managed to acquire a job with Municipality Finance even before the work placement. Over the last eight months of my studies, I was employed full time and worked on my thesis.

The whole learning experience showed me that the better your school input is, the more you are able to get from HAAGA-HELIA. The school supports personal development and career opportunities. I learned many useful skills alongside business knowledge. I developed my interpersonal, communication, time management and team work skills. Along the way, there were many challenges, but they developed me even more. After 3.5 year of studies, I feel I am well prepared for working life and I know that I have sufficient skills to be able to continue forward in my career and studies.




Ekaterina Muygyanen, Autumn 2012

Looking back on the past three and half years of my studies at HAAGA-HELIA in the Degree Programme in International Business, I am surprised about how quickly time has passed. What is more important, it is surprising how many wonderful people I was lucky to meet. The schoolmates, lecturers, guest speakers and others shared with me so much as professionals and personalities that it must be compared to nothing less than a treasure that I will benefit from in my future work and private life after graduation.

Studies at HAAGA-HELIA were not only fun, even though a healthy sense of humour was an absolutely necessary attribute of the learning process and a great help in tough moments. During the studies, I have also personally experienced continuous self-development through teamwork and a project-oriented learning approach incorporated to the education process at HAAGA-HELIA. As graduation is approaching, I have realised that the time and effort invested in my studies are more than fully compensated in the form of new knowledge and skills, new interesting and useful contacts in my social network and new perspectives for the future. It was definitely worth it!

I would recommend that HAAGA-HELIA students enjoy every moment of their studies here, feel grateful for the challenges they may face, be open for the new experiences and always keep a positive attitude.

Laura Willgren, Autumn 2012

During my International Business studies at HAAGA-HELIA, I have majored in marketing. Unlike many others, I did not start my studies in Finland. I lived abroad for a number of years and my studies started in southern Germany back in 2008.

During the first two years of my business education, I studied International Business in Germany, where the focus was on leadership. When I first started there, I had no intention of switching universities, but life can take one to unexpected situations.

I loved my time in Germany, as it gave me multiple opportunities to meet people from around the globe and to work for a major global company. But in 2010, after almost 10 years abroad, I wanted to come back to Finland.

In August 2010, I started my studies at HAAGA-HELIA. Combining my previous studies in Germany and starting studies in Finland had some challenges. However, without a doubt, I am very glad that I started studying. At the beginning I felt that a lot of what was taught was more or less common knowledge. What I did not realize back then was that parts of it were so, but there were other factors I had no knowledge of and I learned them easily, as they were combined with ideas and processes learned before.

During my studies, I have grown as a person and become more considerate when working with other people. I am sure that this is so thanks to a lot of teamwork at school, even though there might have been times when I wished I could have worked on my own. I also have a good overview of international business as a whole, and this is due to the variety of courses during the studies. It might be that my personality is strong minded and determined, but after being a project leader of multiple team projects, I have learned how to adapt my skill set. By this I mean that I have been able to plan and accomplish the tasks at hand with people around the globe and learned a lot during the projects. I believe that understanding how the same things can be viewed from different angles is a huge advantage for anyone and this can be achieved by studying/ working with a diverse and international team. One might even realize that his/ her view, after all, is not the most fitting one.

I was already working before I started my studies, and also during them, but when I look back now, I can see how I could have performed even better. This is simply because of the things learned during the past years. With this background, I feel that I am capable of transferring my improved skill set into different working environments, which will benefit not only me but also my future employers.

Writing my thesis showed me how I can carry out a major research project for a company and create something that will be beneficial for them. To me, this proves that I have learned a lot, as I know that I would not have been able to do so four years ago.

I can also add that International Business, as a study field, may not always offer a specific job title for one to go after at the outset of studies. However, because so much is included in the field, one will find the fitting path during one's studies. In the past, while everyone else knew what they wanted, I was clueless. But now I know exactly what I want to do in the future. It is funny how life can teach you in the most unexpected ways.


Christoph Wilk, Autumn 2012

I have started my BBA studies in the International Business Programme at HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences about 3,5 years ago. Now, I am about to graduate in December 2012.

Coming to Finland for studies was connected to major change in my life. For me as a German, it was not too strongly connected to a culture shock but more to the fact that I gave up my old life in Germany and started new in an unknown environment. I was happy to have received a study place at HAAGA-HELIA - and I was at that time unfamiliar with the influence it might have.

Already the introductory week showed the positive change I was confronted with: Among about 75 new intakes, over 20 nationalities were represented. This was the start of a truly international experience in business studies. The beginning year at HAAGA-HELIA well introduced all students to the new environment. Through practical study approaches, we learned not only to collaborate in teams but also to understand the underlying factors of a team’s success. Big significance was given to understanding cultural differences and overcoming these. Moreover, during our first year we studied the basics of business. These provided the fundament for all upcoming studies. Especially the creation of a business plan was very valuable.

The second year of studies was especially remarkable for me. The focus of studies was now stronger connected to internationality. Next to acquiring key knowledge in this field, I further extended my own perspective and went on exchange to Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University is one of HAAGA-HELIA’s partner schools and provided me with an unforgettable experience. Apart from getting insights into the educational system and studies, I had the chance to deeper understand culture and people. During this time, I got to know new good and international friends.

The third year of studies mostly contained specialization studies. My choice was on studies with focus on finance. Although having had finance studies as part of the curriculum already before, I now got the chance to deepen my knowledge in many fields of managerial and financial accounting. A practical approach of studies especially helped to understand the differences of theory and practice and let us students understand what problems real businesses face as part of daily operations. Moreover, it gave us another chance to network and get in contact with potential future employers.

Furthermore, part of my third year studies were my bachelor’s thesis as well as my professional internship. I was lucky that I was able to complete these activities at the same company. Both the thesis and work placement were rewarding since they gave the chance to deepen my knowledge as part of the specialization studies. However, during my internship I did not only increase my practical knowledge in finance, I was also part of teams and acted as a team leader of an international team. My study experience at HAAGA-HELIA provided valuable input for all these activities.

Looking back, the past years of studies at HAAGA-HELIA let me grow on a personal and a professional level. I mostly enjoyed working in international teams and getting to know new cultures. Moreover, especially through my specialization studies and my thesis work I enlarged my competence in the future field I have wanted to work.

Tuomas Nirvi, Autumn 2012

In 2009, the company I worked for went through employee co-operation negotiations. As I was a partner employee, it was obvious that I would be facing a change on work sector. This got me to think that it would be perfect time to do more studies, which made me apply to HAAGA-HELIA UAS' Degree Programme of International Business, and I got accepted - starting from January 2010. I am graduating in December 2012, six months ahead of the schedule. As a twist, I returned to the company I had to leave in 2009 to complete my work placements and thesis, and am still working for them.

I knew that I would face a challenge in choosing the area of specialization. One thing led to another and soon enough - summer 2010 - I did additional studies in pedagogics at the Open University of the University of Helsinki to see, if teaching is something that I want to do in the future. In fall 2010, coming back for the second semester at HAAGA-HELIA, I knew that I want to specialize in HRM.

Throughout my studies I received support from the experienced and professional lecturers. Most of them have had several years of experience working in international business, which made it clear that they have something to deliver to my learning path. Naturally, as people differentiate from one another, there were times when it felt like that the lecturers may be too into their subject to clearly express the needed information. This caused frustration but in the end, the picture became clearer; they were not being too complicated but they just pushed us to do our very best and reach to the goals. For that, I am truly grateful.

The first thing one senses by walking into the Pasila Campus, where I studied, is the international surroundings. Just by having a cup of coffee and sitting in the bistro, you can hear several languages in addition to Finnish. That, among other things, gives the studies a little zest. There is always a culture you can get familiar with but this is also one of the things that may create challenges. Students with several cultural and educational backgrounds are put into work as a team or a group, which sometimes takes time to adapt to. Not to worry, one can adapt and that is a thing that HAAGA-HELIA expects you to learn during your studies. By learning of different cultures and their behavior, you can develop yourself to be a strong player in the international field of business during and after graduation. It builds one's character and for me, has been one of the most rewarding learning curves of life.

The Degree Programme of International Business gives you a possibility to build and achieve new goals in your professional life. The contacts you create during your studies will last long, some of them throughout the life. All in all, you will be well educated; trained how to admit and develop your deficiencies whilst being truly what you are as a person. With these and the specialization studies and comprehensive thesis, I believe that studies at HAAGA-HELIA have given me the means to success on my career. You never know what kinds of doors you will encounter during your life but first you should have the keys to open them.


Jenna Saarni, Autumn 2012

I started my BBA studies in 2009, in the degree program on International Business. The three and a half years have gone by unbelievably fast, but they are filled with a lot of good memories. The multicultural studying environment provided personalities from A to Z, and I’m proud to have met so many interesting people who have taught me so much.

The 3.5 years included lectures from marketing, logistic, HR and finance, as well as a number of language courses. For me, numbers have always been something that I have been good with, therefore focusing more on finance seemed as a natural path for me. The two major challenges were getting a suitable work placement and an interesting and doable thesis topic, and both in the field of finance. However, with a positive attitude and a determent mind, everything is possible. I was able to get an in-teresting internship position in a Finnish pension insurance company, in the invest-ments department, which definitely opened a new world for me. On top of all I’ve been able to continue my work at the same place, which for a fresh graduate is more than great.

To be honest, I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, but I feel that HAAGA-HELIA has given me the tools to continue almost anywhere I want. The opportunity to work with people from totally different cultures and backgrounds has been priceless, and I have to say I will be missing our good atmosphere during class.

For future students and freshmen I would say, bear with! Even though the amount of assignments, teamwork, or just frustration may feel overwhelming, don’t give up! Be-fore you even know it, you’ll be graduating and already welcoming new challenges on your way.