”I came to realise that not only is studying possible while having small children, it’s also extremely gratifying.”

Degree place and a baby on the way. When two major life changes happened at the same time, Elina Martiskainen hesitated. However, everything worked out well and she feels she hasn’t missed out on anything but rather gained victories on both fronts.

Elina Martiskainen
Student testimonial

“You would make a great producer”, announced a teacher at a media oriented High School to Elina Martiskainen. Not quite sure on what exactly is it that a producer does, Martiskainen did some research on the matter and realised her teacher had a point.

- I’m a very socially active person and like organising things. Alongside High School I was already doing volunteer work at various events, says Martiskainen.

After graduating, Martiskainen ended up doing miscellaneous jobs, but producing or the event industry never left her mind. In 2019 she came across the degree program in Tourism and Event Management at Haaga-Helia (degree programme in Sustainable Tourism and Event Management from 2022 onwards) and applied. She was called to take the entrance exam, but at that time she was already pregnant with her firstborn.

- First months of pregnancy, I felt so tired and queasy I don’t remember much of the exam, Martiskainen gives a laugh.

- But I actually got accepted. Then I had to give it some thought – to study or not to study. Luckily it was possible to postpone and start my studies a year later, in 2020. By then I was already adjusted to baby life at home.

A good start

Elina Martiskainen says she was a bit nervous taking up new studies after so many years of work and family life. Turned out it was all in vain, since she immediately felt inspired and at home at Haaga-Helia’s Porvoo Campus (about 45 km from Helsinki) where the Tourism and Event Management studies take place.   

- The COVID 19 Pandemic was at a better state at that point, so people got to know each other face to face and lectures were given on the campus. I met other students with small children which made it a lot easier to settle and blend in, says Martiskainen.

During the first semester, there was a business idea -challenge for all new students on the campus. Martiskainen ended up winning the competition together with three other moms.

- Creating a business idea and planning it together with our group was extremely rewarding. I’ve learnt the importance of team work. And also, it was so inspiring and interesting to see what other groups had come up with, she says.

Martiskainen has also been able to improve her project managing skills. Actually, that is one of the main goals of this study program. It provides students with valuable leadership and management skills. They will also learn efficient sales and presentation skills, and how to use different innovative development methods and approaches for applied research. 

- I’ve encountered some challenges managing group projects but I believe those are the kind of experiences that benefit me the most.

Towards an eventful future

Martiskainen is now a mother of two. She is thankful for adult education student allowance system, since without it she would not be able to study full-time and finish her degree. At the moment she is doing her internship period for Wolttigroup event agency. She plans to write her thesis for Wolttigroup as well.

- In a post-pandemic world, I see a lot of opportunities for myself as well as for the event industry. There is a need of doing things together now, and people are needed to make those gatherings and events happen, says Martiskainen.

She has also taken an interest in Human Resources.

- I’m writing my thesis on well-being at work. How to manage projects without a burn-out in the racy environment that is the event industry? How to disengage and recover from work? How to motivate and encourage the employees? These are some of the questions I hope to find answers to.

Since all work is more or less project work these days, those are some important questions indeed.