Stories from master's students

Here you can read the stories of master's students in the Humanitarian Logistics track

Hi All!

My name is Sonja Saari, and I’m a Hanken alumni, graduated in 2019. I wanted to share my story with you and to encourage everyone with a motivation and passion towards sustainability and humanitarian field to apply to the Humanitarian Logistics (HUMLOG) track at Hanken.

After graduating from high school, I spent a year working and figuring out my future career. I gained a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and worked as a legal assistant for a number of years. Yet, I had a feeling something was missing, and I knew I desired to pursue master’s studies. Luckily, my genuine interest towards sustainability and incorporating a greater cause both into my studies and work lead me to the master’s programme of Humanitarian Logistics offered at Hanken. Instantly, I was amazed.

Humanitarian Logistics track offers a wide range of courses, and students have a possibility to tailor their study paths with a number of voluntary courses. The strong emphasis on sustainability is shown greatly through studies, and students get to learn how to apply multi-disciplinary fields together. Specialty of the HUMLOG track is that one truly learns the complexity of global supply chains, as logisticians in the humanitarian sector are operating in the most challenging scenarios there might be. In addition, students get to apply theoretical phenomena into real-life projects. For instance, I was part of a project course in corporate social responsibility and humanitarian logistics, during which we analysed and solved a real-world case provided by World Vision Finland.

Overall, Hanken is a highly ranked university, and the Humanitarian Logistics track provides students great tools to pursue further aspirations in business, non-governmental or academic side. What happened to me after I graduated? Currently, I’m a Supply Chain Compliance Specialist at Neste’s renewable business sector, and my studies at HUMLOG track have greatly helped me at my work.  For instance, the basic level courses of Supply Chain Management and Strategy and Sustainability include topics, which I encounter on a daily basis in my work: warehouse and inventory management, supply chain design, supply chain transparency, among others.

In my current role, I am responsible of managing sustainability criteria of Neste’s renewables in supply chain operations. In order to ensure the fulfilment of sustainability market compliance requirements from the very point of origin to the end customer, one has to have solid understanding of the challenges complex supply chain scenarios face, how current affairs in the world influence the supply chain robustness, and how the suppliers, Neste, and the end customers are addressing them. There are various internal and external stakeholder with whom I work daily, and HUMLOG track with its international approach definitely prepared me well for that. Cross-functional collaboration globally is a key to successful supply chain operations; something that students graduating from HUMLOG track excel without a doubt.

The courses in HUMLOG track provides insights beyond basic level supply chain comprehension as you begin to realise what it takes to build a global supply chain in the most challenging settings. A degree from HUMLOG track is greatly appreciated, and it opens doors to numerous paths – only you are in a driver’s seat. If you have a spark towards interesting, challenging, yet rewarding studies, I highly recommend you to apply to the Humanitarian Logistics track. Best of luck with your studies!

— Sonja Saari

Hi everyone! My name is Claire and I am a second-year master’s degree student in the Humanitarian Logistics track of the Business & Management specialisation. I wrote this post to share my story with you if you consider applying.

As long as I can remember, I have always been a rather adventurous person, which led me to various experiences such as moving around Europe and Australia during my studies, backpacking in the Middle-East, working for an Embassy and becoming a long-haul flight attendant for the national airline of my home country.

When the time came to decide where and what field I would pursue as a master’s degree student, I quickly set Hanken as my main goal. The plurality of the Business & Management specialisation alongside the friendly size of Hanken attracted my interest and I decided to apply. At this stage, I had kept a general focus during my bachelor’s studies as I did not really know what field I wanted to work in. However, the track in Humanitarian Logistics seemed like a great combination of multilateral aspects of business and international relations.

Overall, studying at Hanken has been a very positive experience, from the multi-disciplinary aspect of courses to the people you get to meet among the staff and the students. Furthermore, not only do we get the chance to study courses from different tracks of the Business and Management specialisation, we also benefit from the wide amount of partnerships Hanken has built with companies throughout the years for projects and internship possibilities.

As a master’s student, one also gets the opportunity to apply for exchange studies. After careful consideration for the major and the location I wanted to apply for, I set my choice on moving to Paris to study crisis management at Université Paris Dauphine and École Normale Supérieure.

Alongside my studies at Hanken, I have developed a big interest for the aviation industry and deeply believe it +represents a great asset for humanitarian operations. When moving to Paris, I have started flying to prepare a Private Pilot License

alongside my studies and nowadays aim to work in humanitarian aviation as an airline pilot.

I would recommend anyone who has an interest in studying Humanitarian Logistics to give it a try: the need for logisticians is constantly growing in a globalized economy and studying at Hanken prepares you very well for it through a combination of practical and theoretical exercises.

— Claire Dubosc

Hello everyone! My name is Mimmi Pöysti, I'm 27 years old and just about to graduate from Hanken.

I have studied Supply Chain Management and Social Responsibility for both my Bachelor's and my Master's degree. I initially chose this study major because of my interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability, both of which are at the core of this subject. Towards the end of my Bachelor's studies, however, I found my calling in humanitarian logistics. I did not switch to the specific Humanitarian Logistics track but I did write both my Bachelor's thesis and my Master's thesis within this topic. As a part of my Master's degree, I also traveled to Cameroon to do an internship in humanitarian logistics with the United Nations Fund for Populations Activities (UNFPA).

The Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Research Institute (HUMLOG Institute) has given me both a job during the last phase of my studies, access to a network of international academics and practitioners in humanitarian logistics and a fascinating field of study that I am keen to return to after perhaps a few years of practical work experience in the field.

So what's next for me? Within a couple of months, I will be holding my fresh Master's diploma and finishing my work at the HUMLOG Institute. Then I will be off to the island of Lesvos in Greece to volunteer for a refugee relief organization.

After that? Who knows. When I was interning in Cameroon, I met professionals from different UN agencies and humanitarian organizations who were very interested in my degree in Supply Chain Management and Social Responsibility, not to mention the very unique specialization in Humanitarian Logistics. Apparently logisticians are in high demand in this field, and currently few have studied logistics in the particular context on humanitarian relief. I can't wait to see where I might end up working next!

It's a relatively small community, so if you do decide to study humanitarian logistics at Hanken, I'm sure our paths will cross. Good luck with your studies!

— Mimmi Pöysti


Let me share my story about how I decided to apply to the Humanitarian Logistics track and the experiences I gained from it.

I heard about Hanken Master's Programme through a friend of mine who did her bachelor’s degree at Hanken and she really recommended for me to apply. Then I saw on Facebook that there is an Master’s Open House event for those, who are interested about master’s studies at Hanken. I participated in the event and learned about Humanitarian Logistics track from the inspiring presentation of Gyöngyi Kovacs.

Even in my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined that I could combine a business degree with my passion to help those in need. I was hooked to this new path! During the Master’s Open House event, I learned a bit about the courses provided in Humanitarian Logistics track. I was especially interested in sustainability and it seemed like a core competence in studies at Hanken. After having graduated, I can say with experience that Hanken has a strong emphasis on sustainability and that there are plenty of courses offered to study that matter in detail!

In addition, I learned about the unique characteristics of the humanitarian logistics field through specific courses. Especially we learned how to apply theories from supply chain management to the field of humanitarian conflict. I learned that the field is very unpredictable and demanding. One of the courses really challenged us to work in teams to provide best possible solution for disaster relief. This course was very interesting!

Closer to my graduation, I wrote my thesis about performance measurement in Humanitarian aid focusing on a case organization in Finland and its supply chain. I did qualitative research including participants from different parts of the supply chain including those who financed the projects. I was able to participate to one of the largest conferences in Nordics to present my thesis with the help of my supervisor, Wojciech Piotrowicz. Preparing, participating and presenting my thesis in NOFOMA Conference has been one of the greatest experience during my studies. One truly learns what kind of project it is to write academic paper!

Graduating with Master’s degree has great benefit considering job markets. Moreover, the lessons one learns in university cannot be learned anywhere else. During the Master’s courses, the students are challenged to question their opinions and learnings in order to have complete understanding of several phenomenon. First, I did not fully understand what critical thinking means in practice. Throughout the courses, several professors have challenged us to think from the broader perspective, to question and to criticize, in good manner, the articles and theories that were taught. In work life, one cannot be too naïve and believe everything that is told. Therefore, I believe a Master’s degree in Humanitarian Logistics can provide lifelong learnings that can be only learned at University. 

— Tiia Reunanen