Why did I choose Humanitarian Logistics (HUMLOG) at Hanken?

In today’s blog, I would love to share with you guys about my interesting career choice – Humanitarian Logistics and how did I end up studying this major at Hanken School of Economics.

I bet that the term “Humanitarian Logistics” (HUMLOG) or “Humanitarian Supply Chain Management (HSCM)” causes a huge confusion among if not all, then most of you. Initially, many of my friends asked me whether if it is related to the human resources management (HRM) side of Logistics/SCM, and there are some others even wondered whether if it is a fancy term for “human trafficking”. Well, the answers are “no” and “absolutely no” to both questions since my field of study is much broader, more intriguing, and humane than what was being asked.

Alright, let me sort this out and browse you through the concept of HUMLOG in the simplest possible way from my understanding. Now, try to imagine: if your city has just been hit by a tsunami, most of shops, supermarkets, hospitals, and other critical infrastructures including electricity, telecommunication networks, and probably the clean water supply within the city are destroyed by the killer waves, even your home – your shelter is gone by the struck of this disaster. Then the questions here are: How are you going to sustain yourself without the supply of daily necessities? Where will you stay during this dark time when your home is not there anymore? How are you going to reach out to your relatives in neighboring areas when the communication network is down? Difficult to figure out on your own at this critical moment and time, isn’t it? Yet, this is exactly the case where humanitarian logistics comes to the rescue – when all regular supply chain networks and operations are paralyzed and grounded to halt. In technical terms, the processes of humanitarian logistics are fundamentally the planning, implementing, and controlling the efficient, cost-effective flow and storage of goods, material, information, and financial instruments (cash) from the point of origin to the point of consumption, or “in-and-out the affected area”, with the aim of relieving the suffering of affected people.

You see, it’s not at all perplexing, yet incredibly interesting, right?

During my first course of Supply Chain Management at bachelor study, the moment I realized that I am going down this career path was when those questions revolving around the movement of goods and information among multiple actors within the supply chain and the science behind this operation just kept lingering in my curious mind. On top of that, I have always been eager to contribute to a greater cause than myself. Therefore, the study of HUMLOG, which specializes more in the field of disaster relief rather than commercial purposes, has aroused my strong interests. Honestly speaking, HUMLOG grows on me tremendously and my interest increases substantially once I was exposed to the subject. If I did not choose to pursue this major, I would never know how difficult and challenging it actually is to rescue and alleviate an area under disastrous impacts. Furthermore, through the view lens of HUMLOG, I am profoundly grateful and appreciated of how privileged I am to live in such a peaceful and affluent society, where I have access to everything that I need while there are so many others around the globe are still suffering from the inaccessibility of basic demands such as food, clean water, clothes and shelter due to the  severe consequences of different disasters and conflicts. 

The one last point I would like to make is my overall experience at HUMLOG track over the past three months. Three adjectives that can describe most of my experience here are “passionate”, “insightful”, and “exciting”. Essentially, every course that I have attended so far, is very well-structured and establishes extremely solid theoretical foundations, yet, practical implications to real-world scenarios so that we – the students can have a better grasp of how to effectively apply theories into practices. Besides, huge contributors to my amazing studying experience are undoubtedly my professors at HUMLOG track. They are all at the forefront of their research field and passionate about what they are doing. More importantly, they can always make the lectures become more vivid and exciting by giving in so many thought-provoking examples and exclusive industry knowledge.


Attached below is some real footage of me and my life here at Hanken, let’s have a look 🙂

A super fun and bonding group work session at Hanken’s Forest
A super fun and bonding group work session at Hanken’s Forest
A hangout night with classmates
A hangout night with classmates

You can always feel the intimate atmosphere around Hanken once you are here, because we are a small community filled with joy and enthusiasm.

An insightful lecture with professor Anna Aminoff and Otto Sormunen from VR group about Supply Chain strategy for sustainability
An insightful lecture with professor Anna Aminoff and Otto Sormunen from VR group about Supply Chain strategy for sustainability

That’s it for today, guys! I hope that your view about HUMLOG has somewhat changed and your interest for HUMLOG has been captured after reading this post. If so, why don’t you join me on this meaningful journey of helping others and making the world a better place for everyone?

Hanh Pham

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