From a Master's student towards doctorate

Haaga-Helia had the pleasure of having Emmanuel Kusi Appiah as an International Business Management student doing his Master’s degree back in years 2015–2017. Since that has happened a lot.

Alumni Story, Dr. Emmanuel Kusi Appiah
Alumni Testimonials

Dr. Emmanuel Kusi Appiah did his PhD about "Early Internationalization in the Digital Context” in November 2022 at the University of Vaasa. He is about tell a bit about his path towards doctorate.

Some memories about Haaga-Helia and the joy of learning cafés

– Studying at Haaga-Helia was very demanding but enjoyable. Every course module demanded rigorous learning and intensive research. This went a long way to improve my learning curve. I had the opportunity to tap the tacit knowledge of lecturers who were experts in the field of international business, research methodology, strategy, and leadership. Besides the human aspect of knowledge transfer, I enjoyed my studies in a serene atmosphere. All the necessary cutting-edge learning materials and infrastructures were available in Haaga-Helia to support my academic wellbeing.

– I believe that when knowledge is not shared, it becomes sticky. Being inclined to this philosophical assumption, I used to enjoy learning cafes during my studies in the master’s degree programme in International Business Management (IBMA). Some of the course modules such as Leadership in the Knowledge Economy, Doing Business in Emerging Markets and Applied Research and Development, had learning cafés as a key component in their respective syllabus. Though a quiet person, I enjoyed the learning cafes a lot. It gave me the opportunity to share my tacit knowledge with my colleagues. Symbiotically, I benefitted from the ideas of my colleagues. I therefore did not downplay learning cafés. Up till now, whenever I am reading and come across a statement or an issue on learning café, it trickles into my mind the nostalgic memories I shared with colleagues and lecturers at Haaga-Helia.

Studies in Vaasa, towards the PhD

– I was inspired to pursue PhD studies by the expertise of my lecturers, especially Dr. Maria Jakubik and Dr. Gerard Danford. Dr. Maria Jakubik introduced me to the key aspects of research in a course known as Applied Research and Development. Dr. Gerard Danford also enlightened me on the fundamentals and strategies in firm internationalization in a course known as Firm Internationalization.

– My PhD was captioned “Early Internationalization in the Digital Context”. It falls within the field of international business, international entrepreneurship, and information systems. As you know, the world is in the period that the late Peter Drucker called the era of the three C's—accelerated change, overwhelming complexity, and tremendous competition. One important phenomenon that has appeared in the spotlight is digitalization.

– Therefore, the curiosity to understand how digital-related elements such as capabilities and resources enable early internationlizing firms to generate value, and how some of the theoretical arguments in international business (IB), international and entrepreneurship (IE) are applied to the digital context was the major factor that triggered my interest in the PhD research.

– Academic ceremony at the PhD level is quite different from the Master’s or Bachelor's levels. The major difference is the public defence where you will have an external examiner from a foreign university who will act as an opponent during your defence day. Besides the public defence, graduation ceremonies are the same. I would like to emphasize that the public defence was amazing and was able to achieve a pass with distinction. Thanks to the intellectual support from my PhD supervisors, Professor Peter Gabrielsson of University of Vaasa, and Assistant Professor Tamara Galkina of Aalto School of Business, Aalto University.

Some insights for the current and future students

– The lecturers are superb in Haaga-Helia. From my candid opinion, I was able to follow the Haaga-Helia system tactfully, therefore I do not think there is something I would have done differently if I were a student now.

– I end here by encouraging current and future students to kill the bogey that persistently haunts them because no race was won without alacrity; therefore, they should do what they would this very instant. They should strive hard to be at the top for the bottom is already crowded.