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!
I hope everyone is having great holidays! As this is the last blog entry for the year, I would like to use the opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year! This blog post will be more of an advertisement for the Finnish Lapland or Rovaniemi as I am spending the last days of 2017 up here in the north. I hope that folks who are thinking of applying to Hanken will enjoy the read.
So, we wrapped up our fall semester at Hanken few weeks ago and Hanken is as empty as in summer time. I might have been one of the few people still around as I did not go home for Christmas. However, I have had a Christmas dinner with a great Hankeit Nabeel at his place, so it was not that bad. Right now, you can find me in Rovaniemi, 800 km north of Helsinki. I am here with 8 more people and some of them have seen the snow for the first time. Honestly, I am overwhelmed by the amount of the snow because I have forgotten what the real winter should look like. Unfortunately, Helsinki has not provided us with the feeling of great winter in a while now.
Anyway, Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland and is known to be the home of Santa Claus (Canadians reading this are subject to an anger attack). There are some cool things to do here such as snowmobile and husky tours, ice fishing, visiting Santa Village, doing snow angels, seeing northern lights and, my favourite, enjoying the peace and silence. If you are living in a city bustle, you would appreciate the experience I am talking about. I can now, to an extent, understand why some of the bestselling books are written in the middle of nowhere.
It was a hot summer day when I received admission letter from Hanken, and it just changed everything regarding future. Next thing I know is reaching Vaasa on August 18, 2016; it was a day with a lot excitement as well as anxiety in my mind. I walked onto the campus of Hanken and I never felt like it is the first time I came to this place, rather it felt like a familiar place or like a home.
Hours turned into days, days into week, and week into months; and I can say that Hanken as well as Vaasa gave me some of the best memories, friends, collogues, as well as teachers, who played a vital role in development of my personality to be a better person. Mostly my first year was filled with a lot of fun activities, making new friends, gathering new experiences, and most importantly the studies, and when I say studies, it is not the typical form if study, rather everybody at Hanken made sure that I “learn” instead of just study. Therefore, I can say that it was one of the profound experiences of my life.
There were times filled with joy as well as hard times, but the things that kept me going is support from the teachers and most important encouragement from my friends Nana and Niko. This tells the fact that time passes on, you just have to stay motivated and for me the motivation is something such as a saying from my culture, similar as, “This too shall pass”. This shows that Hanken once again provided me with the right development tools to deal with different challenges of life.
Finally, I would like to mention that Hanken as well as Vaasa allowed me to grow academically as I became more confident in my field of study; socially as I made new friends; culturally as I learned among and about Finnish culture and heritage; and most importantly personally, since I have never imagined in my early days in Vaasa that I will find life-lasting friendships and memories. Now I am leaving Vaasa for exchange semester in Norway, but I will never forget about anything that I have experience here.
December 6th is the independent day of Finland, and this year is extremely special as it is Finland's 10 year's birthday. This day, people are gathering to celebrate together, many major architects and land marks are lighted with the national colour -- blue and white, and in the middle night, a well prepared firework show in Helsinki center. Meanwhile, Finland is not alone, many other countries also lighted their land mark in blue and white, to celebrate Finland's 100 year's birthday.
Well, the celebration is not only on this day, instead, it began from the beginning the year, and lots of the activities about Finland 100 years throughout the whole year. Many Finnish companies, brands, schools, and government were actively reflecting on the achievements, learnings and experiences from the past, and made the visions and goals for the coming years.
In a historical time frame, 100 years are very short, however I was amazed how Finland has become one of the top developed countries in the world from the scratch, and topping the many key indicators such as education, low corruption, gender equality, one of happiest country in the world etc. Same time I feel so great to be able to witness and celebrate Finland's 100 years birthday, and being able to experience the high quality higher education in Finland.
Pikkujoulu is a traditional Finnish party, usually held by companies, communities, and amoung friends. In English it is called "Little Christmas". Usually it is held 3-4 weeks before Christmas, and the whole city is busy with particing and talking about little Xmas, and you even are able to spot people who are on their way to Pikkujoulu on the streets, and that's when it's called Pikkujoulu season.
Last Friday evening, our company had our Pikkujoulu, everybody Santa Clause' hats on. We had a nice venue, delicious food, and an interesting stand-up comedian performance.
The pre-party started with some drinks, snacks and sauna in our office building. Then the private bus took us from the office to the party location. Our Pikkujoulu officially started with CEO's informal speech about the achievements and happening of this year, and plans and target for the next year. In the end of the speech, we did a toast for each other. And started 3 course buffet, the place offers the combine of different kinds of Finnish and Asian food, very tasty. My colleague next to me ordered Mojito, however, the bar tender mistakenly put salt instead of suger to the drink, so that was our first time trying "Salty Mijito" :D well, the taste is really mehh, maybe only once for life.
Xmas is also the time to have the most traditional Xmas drink -- "Glögi", it is a beverage usually made with red wine along with different mulling spices, served in warm or hot. As I always have glögi with group of people or friends, so glögi is a very homy drink to me.
Here are some pictures from our Pikkujoulu! And wish everybody Merry Christmas!
Hey guys, how are you? It has been around 6 months since my last entry and I am slightly late with this one. I believe that the following picture will sum up the reasons why. The file seen in the pic had been submitted literally couple of minutes before the deadline and before I took on writing this entry.
(Photo: somewhere on a highway in Dubai, UAE)
This picture sums up not only my last couple of weeks but pretty much my life since the middle of August. I am very busy, and I find myself complaining about it too much already. Cannot help it though, I really am.
So, what am I up to? Let’s start the story from September. To be honest, I think I have overestimated the amount of workload I will have this year and I have taken on more responsibilities that I would normally. I am one of those people who appreciate their free time a lot so feeling so busy is super weird. So far, I have been involved in: part time job as Data Analyst, thesis writing, courses that would put me way above required 120 ECTS (blame my curiosity), basketball, running the Masters’ Committee, Hanken’s mentorship programme, travel, various meetings, outings, etc. Thus, the last three months have flown by in the fastest way ever.
Anyway, let me focus on the last week, it has been rather interesting. On Tuesday I had a possibility to meet with my mentor Marcus. It was our third meeting and I am glad that Marcus himself is taking an initiative on having them regularly. So far, Marcus has given me some valuable life insights, we had cool discussions about professional life as well as got to know each other better. Therefore, I want to say HUGE thanks to Hanken because there always are numerous possibilities allowing one to increase the soft skills’ package and I am blessed to have this opportunity. By the way, if you want to have an awesome mentor like Marcus, look up Hanken's Mentorship Programme.
(Photo: meeting with my mentor Marcus)
On Wednesday I had a meeting with Miltton’s representative. I had no feeling that something might go wrong prior the meeting but after I had arrived at the office, I found out that the lady I am supposed to meet does not work at the company anymore. Great! It was slightly funny, but I am glad Miltton has solved it well and I have got what I’ve wanted. Let's just say, stay tuned for some cool events :).