Would you shortly introduce yourself?
I am Jesse Rajala, a 29-year old fresh graduate of the Master’s Programme in Information and Service Management from Aalto University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences a few years prior. I began my master’s studies at Aalto BIZ in 2017.
Why did you decide Aalto for your studies?
After graduating from Haaga-Helia back in 2015, I acknowledged the possibility of continuing to a Master’s programme, but decided it was not worth it at the time. Eager to get into the working life, I thought I was ready to pursue my career ambitions in supply chain management and logistics. Working for a few years, I began to notice that my ambitions grew steadily and it became apparent that all the interesting open positions I found seemed to require a Master’s degree. Somewhere along the way I remembered that a Master’s degree was the end goal all along. The words of my mother to ‘maximise my potential’ and frequent debates with friends about the necessity of master’s degrees lingered in my head leaving me with only one option: getting that Master’s degree. Wanting to stay in the same field left me two viable options for a Master’s degree: ISM at Aalto Biz or Supply Management at LUT. I chose Aalto due to the reputation, location and great selection of courses.
Did University studies differ from UAS studies?
In terms of course-work and lectures, the differences are noticeable. In UAS studies, courses and lectures were more intense with a strong practical approach and focus on building presentation skills whereas in university studies the lectures tended to be monologues by the lecturer or a guest lecturer with a few positive exceptions. Both studies included a lot of group projects. I didn’t feel that there was a significant increase in the difficulty of exams going from UAS to university courses. The key difference between UAS courses and university courses is that in university courses, the lecturer is not there to hold your hand and tell you what to do. While in UAS courses, where the lecturer acts more like a teacher and guides the learning process, at the university level, especially in the master’s level courses, actually learning the course subject requires a lot of independent learning, self-guidance and active participation from the student. This is often learned the hard way, so this is probably my biggest takeaway to people coming to master’s studies from outside the university system.
Another significant difference between studying in a university compared to a university of applied sciences is the level of mathematical and analytical skills required to get by. This might depend on the study program, but coming from a bachelor program in business administration, I had to spend some time refreshing my more advanced high school math skills that I hadn’t used in over ten years. For UAS studies, basic math skills are enough, but university studies require far more advanced maths skills. This caught me slightly off-guard, therefore I strongly recommend students starting their Master’s degree from a UAS background to take a few bachelor-level maths courses to start off. I know several people in my class who did just this, myself included, and it helps vastly.