I am writing this blog post as I am taking a break from writing my thesis. As I am currently in the second year of my studies I have notably less courses to follow, also due to some extra credits I took in the first year. Being at the final stages of my master’s study at Hanken gives me some perspective on how I have experienced the past one and a half year.
The start of the studies was quite different from what I have experienced back in the Netherlands for my bachelor’s degree. I was already familiar with living in Finland which prepared me to some extent of what student life could look like. And I also attended a Sitz (a typical dinner party here in Finland) before starting my studies at Hanken to get familiar with some of the student activities. With that in mind I was quite curious to start studying. The introductory days were a very great opportunity to get to know all the different new master’s students from different backgrounds. We did a pub crawl in Kallio and several ice-breaker gatherings to mingle. I think from that point, I already established a group of friends whom I still meet regularly. The nice thing about the introductory days was that you’re mixed with all the specialisations, so you get to know people from different tracks and not just the marketing track that I followed. This intimate setting was very different from back in the Netherlands.
Later on, when the courses started, you got to know your track-specific fellow students much better of course. Yet, simultaneously, some courses were for different tracks combined, so I had a few courses that included students from humanitarian logistics and strategy and sustainability as well. Coming from applied sciences I found the courses to be quite academical, which I was expecting, but I was happy to find out that several courses had guest lectures from the corporate sector. We also did a few project courses in collaboration with big Finnish companies that made it possible to apply the theoretical knowledge. The level of the courses is definitely doable, and I have passed all courses with high grades. The workload, especially in the beginning, was quite high but still doable.
Besides the ‘normal’ student life of studying there were many events organised by Hanken’s student associations. You’re automatically part of these associations when you enrol to Hanken, and I found it a great way to get to know so many people. The events range from Sitzes to games nights and other meet-ups. It is a great way to blow of some steam from studying and to build real friendships.
Besides the amazing student community at Hanken there is another great aspect worth mentioning about Hanken. Both the network you build with other students and the status Hanken students have in companies, provided me with many interesting opportunities. There are countless of events and workshops where you have the chance to network with the biggest firms in Finland and in the world. And by being a student at Hanken these companies are genuinely interested in hiring you. Of course, it all depends on how active you want to be in this scene, but I have met many interesting company representatives. I am currently also working for 180 Degrees Consulting as the president of the Helsinki Branch which would have been hard to achieve without being a student at one of the renowned universities of Finland. All in all, I feel like have been able to really develop myself at Hanken by being an active member of the student community. Now, I have to get back to writing my thesis!
Stijn Boon, Marketing