'Business students understand the value of an exchange to their future career prospects. International experience, the ability to work in a multicultural environment, is an asset companies are looking for when making recruitment decisions. However, the biggest asset of an exchange term is the personal growth, international identity that develops overseas. Students´ ability to reflect their own values and the ability to look at the world from different perspectives develops during the exchange period. Obviously, it is remarkable how students' self-confidence and communication skills are developing', says Saila Kurtbay, Head of International Affairs.
'It is an opportunity available to every single business student to develop international and cross-cultural skills by studying abroad in a different academic and cultural setting', continues Kurtbay.
Iina Sintonen was on exchange at Nanyang Technological Universityssä (NTU) in Singapore.
'The best part about exchange was realizing at some point of the semester that I had adapted well to the local culture and norms, which for some parts had first seemed quite strange. My exchange definitely gave me tools to start building the international career I've always wanted!', she tells.
International experience is considered an important part of a business degree and many students decide already at the early stage of their studies that they will apply for exchange at some point of their studies. Many students who study on exchange on bachelor’s level apply again at master’s level. Exchange studies are transferred to students´ Aalto degree as an International Study Module, which can be included in both bachelor´s and master’s degrees.
In the academic year 2017–2018 the School of Business is sending 436 students on exchange to 38 different countries, which is a record number. The School of Business is sending students to all continents: Europe receives the highest number of students (41%), followed by Asia (28%) and North America (18%). The top four countries business students go on exchange to are Canada, Singapore, China and the USA. The most popular universities according to students’ first choices were the National University of Singapore, WU Vienna, Bocconi University, the University of Queensland, University of Technology Sydney, University of St. Gallen, Nanyang Technological University, HEC Montreal, Seoul National University and Yonsei University.
Henna Sahlberg is looking forward to her exchange period at Nagoya University of Commerce and Business.
'I applied to Japan, because I want to experience something completely different than I have experienced in working life and studies until now. My goal is that the exchange period is both a great experience and useful for studies – I have studied Japanese language when I was younger and it feels good to me to get a chance to brush it up', Henna tells about her feelings prior to her fall semester exchange which starts next week.
The School of Business not only sends students on exchange but also receives foreign exchange students. In the academic year 2016–2017 the School of Business hosted 310 exchange students. Most of the students came from Europe (44%), followed by Asia (27%), North America (15%), Oceania (7%) and Latin America (7%). Most students came from China, France, Canada, Singapore, Germany and the USA. In September the School of Business will welcome 170 new exchange students to Aalto.
'According to the annual survey, the most important selection criteria for coming to the School of Business on exchange have been interest in Finland and Helsinki; the good reputation of the School of Business and the recognition of Finland as one of the safest countries in the world', says Minna Pekkanen, Manager of Incoming Student Exchange Program.
In addition to academic studies, extracurricular activities organized by KY student association and especially trips by KY Sub, are the highlight of incoming students’ exchange experience. In the student feedback, almost every exchange student praises KY and their diverse activities.
The School of Business has an extensive partner university network of 150 excellent business schools around the world. As a sign of quality, 89% of the partner universities are internationally accredited by AACSB, EQUIS or AMBA. Partner universities are evaluated annually according to student feedback, students’ academic records, student demand as study destinations and accreditations. New agreements have recently been signed with the University of Zurich, Victoria University of Wellington and the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shenzhen, and negotiations with many excellent universities continue.
The International Team of Learning Services consists of Saila Kurtbay, Minna Pekkanen, Niina Huovinen and Kaisa Pulliainen. Sanna Krigsholm and Sanna Huovinen are on parental leave.