you might remember my last blog entry in which I wrote about my experience in the Academic Business Consulting course (Next year it’ll be called only Business Consulting). But same as all good things, also this course is coming to an end. This means it was time for our group to visit our previously chosen destination San Francisco for a joint trip as reward for the hard consulting work we have done in 7 projects overall.
We are currently sitting at the Oakland International Airport as I write this, waiting for our flights back to Finland. We have experienced so much during the past week that it becomes a task of its’ own to comprehend all of it into one blog entry but I’ll give it a try.
The trip began with an amazing weekend spent in California’s famous Muir Woods and a 19 km hike. The following day we (the ones who were still able to walk) visited Santa Cruz and hoped for some waves to learn how to surf, which was cancelled due to a lack of waves. However, a wonderful weekend was a great start to prepare us for the upcoming company visits.
We got to talk to several very inspiring individuals from venture capital investment firms such as 50 years and Index, as well as from serial entrepreneurs like Ugur Kaner and Canopy’s open workspace community director Red Rainey. San Francisco is all about who you know and what you make out of your contacts, at least when it comes to business. The motivation of people has all kinds of different backgrounds, which makes this fast paced environment an open playground for tech enthusiasts, communication lovers and also profit hungry capitalists. I personally found the difference in culture compared to Finland to be very extreme. In Finland people are more rational, seeking low-risk investments and business models, whereas the people in San Francisco live by selling dreams and ideas to raise capital for start-ups. The difference was not necessarily bad, just shocking to someone who has never experienced it.
Let my first introduce myself again. My name is Marcel I am 25 years old and originally from Germany. I am the International Student Ambassador for the Finance Track at Hanken and this my second blog entry.
The first year of my Master studies is now over, the last study period was intense, I had a lot of mid-terms, assignments, group work and presentation. However, I had my last exam two days ago and now it is time to enjoy the summer. The weather here in Helsinki has been perfect the last week. Thus, I spent the first day after my last exam at the beach and tried to replace the library/desktop tan with some real tan. I will stay in Helsinki for a couple more days before I will go back to Germany for the summer. I will do a three months internship in M&A. I hope to apply the knowledge I acquired at Hanken. I think the Corporate Finance course I took last period will be especially useful for that. I am curious and excited about new challenges and opportunities to learn the practical side of Finance. I will come back to Helsinki at the beginning of September and I am hoping to see some of you guys in person, but until then enjoy your summer!
Possibly after you have lived one month in Helsinki, you would have known all the corners in this capital city. However, small as the city is, opportunities are abundant!
It might come as a surprise depending on where you are coming from. In Finland, more than half of the university students are working while studying. What’s more connected to your future career than real work experiences? Finnish society actively supports student work offering part-times, traineeships, internships, and summer jobs. The vibrant local startup world also welcomes both local students and internationals. During my first-year master studies, I had an internship in an NPO initiating and organizing events for foreign jobseekers in Finland. I have been also volunteering for different events such as for the legendary SLUSH – the world biggest startup event organized by Finnish students.
I want to talk about one of the most anticipated student events in Finland – Vappu. It is a national May Day celebration when the students get loose and graduates get a chance to reminisce those student days.
There are two important days on Vappu, April 30th and the May Day itself. Personally, I like the things that are going on during the April 30th more. Additionally, the weather on May Day this year was terrible so I have used the day just as a chance to relax and meet up with some friends.
So, Vappu is celebrated by every student union in Finland and the Student Union of Hanken (SHS) is no exception to that. We started our celebrations in the Observatory Park in Helsinki, a nice place with a sea view, slightly further away from the main crowd. This year the attendance was amazing and you could see plenty of students around: masters, bachelors, exchange peeps… As the time went by and the crowd got bigger, we started to resemble a large group of NASA astronauts, thanks to our white overalls (indispensable piece of clothing during the Vappu).
So yeah, the event itself is more or less about hanging around with your buddies, playing games, drinking some bubbly, having a picnic. For me, it was a great opportunity to catch up with my buddies from Economics Department. Mats has spent half a year in Japan under QTEM programme, Noora and Elise were in Switzerland and Austria under Erasmus. Therefore, we finally could share our experiences and talk about the future plans. As those plans are big for all of us, we came to a conclusion that this might be our last Vappu together. Sad.
Gender equality is a rising topic in Finland, even this land is already one of the top countries in gender equality and people are still striving hard for it, in my eyes, Finnish society has done almost everything possible they can to help woman, but why it hasn't be fully achieved and there is still differences in salaries and other rights? After I two events I attended at Hanken, I realised something.
Last Tuesday, I attended an induction event of Finnish Young Shareholder Network, which was newly established, and many initiators are from Hanken, yes, proud of it. :) I had a friend of mine with me going there together, and when we arrived, we found out that we are the only two female participants, and rest of the group are guys. I asked the board members of the organization if this also the case of their members. They first showed a pity smile, and said yes, they have very few female members. This reminds me about an event last year, when Mensa visited Hanken and offer free IQ test to Hanken students, I went there, and saw majorities are guys. The Chairwoman of Mensa Finland also pointed out this phenomena, every time, the ratio of female vs male test takers is 3:7, and the same ration among Mensa's member globally. And Mensa neither doesn't know why it is like this.
These two events made me thinking, it appears that it is women are not proactive enough in striving to get themselves equal things, or even more. Perhaps because of afraid of taking risks or failure or lose something else, or just not so sure about themselves. In my opinion, gender equality doesn't mean "We women are better", instead it's "we are not less". I encourage every female student to be confident about herself on all aspects at early age, and be brave to embrace the new challenges and be able to undertake the risks. Be the one!
This is my first blog post as an international student ambassador and the first time I write a blog in general. Since you have probably no idea who I am I would like to introduce myself first before I will share my past experience with you. My name is Marcel and I am a first year Master of Finance student from Germany. I live in Finland since August 2017 and I really enjoy my time here!
During the last half a year at Hanken I had the opportunity to meet a lot of great and interesting people from all over the world. I met them during classes, group work, and other student activities. I am confident that the contacts and friends I made will last even when I am done with my studies. Besides the people at Hanken, the courses are very interesting too. In my first semester, I had the opportunity to learn what are the expectations when you write a thesis in finance at Hanken, and what kind of ways exist for conducting empirical research in finance. In another course, it was possible to be part of a two-day case study event together with PwC. During these two days, I and my group mates had to face a real life valuation case and present and defend it in front of professionals from PwC. This was perfect to test the studied theories in a real-life scenario. A further highlight at the end of 2017 was the visit of SLUSH. SLUSH is one of the biggest start-ups events with over 20 000 attendees, 2600 startups and 1500 investors from all over the world. It was impressive to see how big and flourishing the start-up scene is here in Helsinki. An added plus was also the after show party of the event. It was a lot of fun and one of the biggest parties I have been. The current semester is going on at the moment. The semesters here in Hanken are separated into periods with new courses and exams every period. In fact, the first period of the second semester of my first year just ended. This means half time for my second semester! I just finished the last of my three exams for this period. It was rather stressful to have three exams on three consecutive days and I spent long days in the library, but I was never alone there. Thus, there was always time for a coffee and some fun together my friends and fellow students.
Since I just finished my last exam for this period, I will now say goodbye. I will directly go to the airport to pick up one of my friends from Germany. In the next days, I will show him Helsinki, the Finnish Sauna tradition, and a day trip to Tallinn is also planned. Apart from that, I will try to relax a bit before everything starts again next week.
In this blog entry, I will talk about the activities that happened at Hanken in the past month. I believe that the February was one of the busiest months not only for the Masters’ Committee but also for the whole Student Union in general. This post should be interesting to the new students who have been recently admitted to Hanken and would like to familiarise themselves with the Student Union activities.
So, on Valentine’s Day, we had an awesome day at Uunisaari where we have spent few hours sweating in a sauna, chilling in the hot tub and dipping into an ice cold Baltic Sea. Some members of the group did the latter activity for the first time and I was among them. It was unforgettable! So unforgettable I have done it three times!
On February 28th we have visited the Fazer chocolate factory. Guides of the factory show you around while telling the story of the company. However, the reason why everyone visits the factory is not the story of the company which you can just simply look up online. The coolest thing about the visit is the very end of the tour when you are given around 10 minutes to eat all the chocolate you want. Yes, you have read it right – you end up in a room which is filled with all the Fazer’s chocolates and you can eat as much as you want. Furthermore, you even get some gifts at the end of the tour! Another awesome experience for sure.
On March 3rd the Masters’ Committee had an event together with the Exchange Committee. The event was called the Drinking Games Night: Sporty Edition and was all about the student favourite games: beer pong, caps, cup flips and more.
Two days later we have visited our partner Miltton’s office where we have heard some LinkedIn tips, got to know the company more, heard some leadership insights and had a chance to mingle with each other in a less formal setting. On top of everything, the Annual Ball of Hanken took place on February 24th. This is arguably the largest event at Hanken during the year, so you don’t want to miss it out like how I did. You can check all the cool pics from the Annual Ball on the Student Union website.
"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read"
In my previous apartment, I had a curvy bookcase on the wall- a bookworm, which you can shape in different ways. Unfortunately, I could hardly imagine where to put it in my new interior so I decided to give it as a present to the new owner. It is often challenging to fit your books in a small flat and I imagined, how happy he shall be that at least one task would be solved. To say you the truth, at that moment I was very proud of my kindness and generosity. But man proposes, and God disposes. The only thing he told me in reply: 'I do not have any books'. I had an embarrassing pause because simply did not know how to react to these words.
I am not a saint or a snob, I do not read a lot and spend plenty of time in my smartphone or laptop, but nevertheless, I love real books much more than e-books! Have you noticed, that we are surrounded by letter E: e-learning, e-books, e-banking, e-invoices? The list is not exhaustive and will become only longer over the years. Yet I realize the inevitability of increasing online services and their benefits for the society, I am definitely not ready to convert my whole life to E-format.
And I chose a Book.
Some of them I brought from other countries, others were inherited from my parents and grandparents or were bought at the flea market. They are my memories. They will be memories of my children. This is how family traditions are established.
I am not questioning the value of a good book to the generations to come. Can you imagine that some of your grandchildren would say: 'Hei, look, this PDF file is very special, it was created and saved by my grandma'. It sounds ridiculous, isn't it?
I will show you some examples from my collection!
Incredible Victor Hugo's books of the year 1883 I found on the flea market in Paris. Never mind if you do not understand a simple word in French. It is enough to touch them and carefully turn over the leafs.
The World Atlas of Wine will give you insights into well-known wine regions! Chablis, Mosel, Medoc, Bordeaux… Sounds familiar? By the way, such atlas may be even used as a study book about geographical indications in trademark law.
This is my first blog post here and I’ll introduce myself a little before I throw all my thoughts and what’s currently going on right at you. My name is Marco, I am a second year master’s student in International Strategy and Sustainability here at Hanken.
As we’re heading towards the last period of this academic year with a quite fast pace, that’s at least how it feels for me, it’s good to take a few minutes to check in on where we stand every now and then. I, myself don’t have all too many courses that I could complain or dwell about, yet the ones I have keep my hands and mind plenty busy.
As I am preparing myself for my master’s thesis I have to attend a course on qualitative research methodology. To be honest, it’s not my favourite but what has to be, has to be. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to even write a thesis as it is a mandatory requirement to make sure all students are able to produce correct academic papers and know all about the methods they will use to collect and analyse data properly.
The other course I currently attend could not be any more different from the theory-heavy research course. I am talking about Academic Business Consulting, Hanken’s oldest and most prestigious course. It has been running since 1976, teaching students how to do consulting work for real companies on real projects. It does not get any more real-life experience than this. Besides being a student consultant myself for a highly interesting fintech firm, I do also manage the day-to-day operations at ABC as CEO. Yes, you’ve heard right – CEO. ABC needs one as it has been a registered company (find us on academicbusinessconsulting.fi) since 1994 and someone needs to be the responsible person who signs contracts and handles the budget. Besides that I enjoy most the direct client contact I get to experience when meeting either new or existing customers to discuss how ABC and our consultants can bring value to them. So much variety in industries and projects really keeps you on your feet, believe me. I can’t really say that I handle all of the work alone, that wouldn’t be fair to my amazing management team who supports me in many ways. Right now we’re in a crucial phase, as most consulting teams have signed projects and are in the middle of their research work, while we are still working on getting 1 or 2 more projects on board. This has so far definitely been the most rewarding and exciting experience I’ve had during my time at Hanken and I am looking forward to the final outcomes of our project work and my own development as a leader and consultant. I’ll update you in my next blog closer to the end of the academic year.
Finally the dead season in Helsinki is over and everybody's back to work or studies from the winter vacation. I was lucky to celebrate New Year here, in Helsinki, however, it is not celebrated the same way as the Russian people do.
In Finland New Year celebration it is more about partying and going out, while in my country we usually spend this day with our families, exchanging presents, watching old Soviet movies and eating traditional dishes like Russian Salad or Herring under a Fur Coat (sounds a bit weird, I know!).
I met 2018 with my friends watching the fireworks display from the terrace of the Maxine club located on the top floor of the Kamppi – if you want to see Helsinki at the bird's-eye view, you should definitely check this place out. The city center was crowded – it looked like almost all the Helsinkians went out to see the show.
Another highlight of my winter holidays was, of course, LUX Helsinki – it was my first experience, and I liked it a lot. The Lantern Park at Koulupuistikko as one of favorite spots. Thousands of lanterns made by students of Secondary and Primary Schools and Aalto University created absolutely magical atmosphere making me feel like I was in a fairytale. Lanterns presented were made of almost everything – paper, plastic bottle, CDs and so on.
Another thing I liked very much was the final location of LUX – Helsinki Cathedral with its projection called Konstellaatio inspired by the music of Mika Vainio and dedicated to him. The building was transformed into the huge screen and the lights were highlighting its various elements, that looked like a process of its construction. So, I am already looking forward to visiting the next year LUX!