Real-world ready: practical studies prepared Yana for the real professional life

Social Media Specialist and entrepreneur Yana Liubarskaia graduated from Haaga-Helia in 2022. Besides her studies in International Business, specialised in Marketing, she actively engaged in different opportunities Haaga-Helia offered, such as student exchange, volunteering at events, working as Haaga-Helia’s brand ambassador, and much more. Currently, she is running her own company “Liubarskaia", which helps businesses grow through social media marketing.

Alumni Testimonials

Expanding international networks

When Yana was planning her university studies, she applied to a few universities and got into all of them. Eventually, she picked Haaga-Helia because of other people's good feedback and the convenient location of the Pasila campus.

The student groups in International Business are typically very culturally rich and this made Yana’s experience even better than she expected.

− Most of my classmates have come from another country or lived somewhere else, so everyone was open-minded and fun to talk to, Yana says.

In her third year, a new international opportunity opened when Yana was chosen to represent Haaga-Helia at the Conference of the Future of Europe event in Sevilla.

− It was unexpected at first, but in the end, it allowed me to meet students from different countries, have a memorable trip to Spain in December, and, most importantly, make a change, Yana describes.

From classroom to career

Group work and projects became important components of her studies and provided social skills that are necessary for collaboration in diverse work environments.

− I would describe the studies as practical and social, both qualities being extremely important in work life. From the first year, we were actively learning how to do work in groups, no matter how big or small. In work life, you inevitably must interact and cooperate with different people (employers, coworkers, clients, employees, etc.), so I’m glad I got to strengthen that skill in group projects. The practical part included, for example, work placement and case studies, and they let us have a taste of what working life is like, Yana says.

Currently, Yana applies the lessons learned at her work as a social media specialist, supporting companies and entrepreneurs in promoting their products and services on social media.

− After working at a company for some time, I realized it would be fun to try becoming a sole trader, and even though it required some research and hard work, it was the best decision to make. My work consists of building strategies, creating content, and managing social media accounts, among other things. To some extent, it’s analytical but mostly creative, Yana explains.

Job hunting and overcoming language barriers

Finding a job as an international student or graduate with limited Finnish skills might sometimes require some extra effort. Yana thinks it is important to connect with recruiters and try to find out more information about the company or available positions.

− As a person who knows Finnish on a basic level, rather than a business level, I had to look for a job that doesn’t require it. When I was searching for a job during my studies, I also didn’t have a diploma in my hands. Yet, I managed to get invited to two interviews, securing one of the jobs. I have to say it was challenging because of the language barrier, but definitely possible! Luckily, I didn’t face any prejudice or discrimination of any kind in my job search.

Yana’s tips for international students struggling to find a job:

  • Customize your CV/cover letter for every job you’re applying to
  • Find people from the company you’re applying to, connect with them, and ask them to recommend you. Or even invite e.g. a department head for coffee/quick online meeting to discuss the position/company culture. It gives you an advantage over other candidates and even if you don’t get the position, you’ll get a connection and learn something new!

For companies who want to promote cultural diversity in your workplace, she would recommend the following:

  • Implement hiring practices in which candidate screening is done without paying attention to the nationality.
  • Whenever possible, add the Finnish language as a bonus, instead of a must. Providing free Finnish language training for candidates who fit the role but lack a certain language level.
  • Creating training for employees to raise awareness about different cultures, traditions, and biases.

Learning, growing, exploring

When asked about her future plans, Yana already has new ideas for growing her business as well as for her personal and professional growth.

− For now, I’m planning to expand my client base and continue building strong cases in social media. I’m also planning to live and work somewhere else to discover other work cultures. In the next couple of years, I have opening my own agency or an online school on the agenda. I also know you can get a master’s degree in social media, which sounds cool, and I love learning new things!

Yana recommends current and future students make the most out of the opportunities that Haaga-Helia offers.

– To all the current/future students out there - enjoy it! Customize your schedule to have topics in there that you love learning about. Also, be active: go on an exchange, volunteer for different events, become an ambassador, apply to different opportunities, build relationships.. In the end, this is what you will remember for life.