Starting university studies is both challenging and rewarding

The support of fellow students and the strengths of the program have made the path easier, since the first-year students of the BScBA Program started their studies under unusual circumstances last fall.
BScBA Student Anne Torvinen enjoying a summer day

Starting studies in university is a big life change and many questions run through new students’ minds: How am I going to manage, will I make friends with fellow students, are the professors harsh and distant etc. Well, what about if you start your university path in an extraordinary situation due to a global pandemic? Then the student community, approachable teachers and professional university staff play a key role to ensure a successful study experience.

New students who started in the Bachelor's Program in International Business (also called the BScBA Program) last fall, seem to have coped quite well. A first-year School of Business at the Mikkeli Campus, student Anne Torvinen, surely speaks also for her fellow students when she says that during her short time in Mikkeli, she has created unforgettable memories.

“When I first applied to this program, I had few expectations and tried to keep an open mind. I was blown away by our amazing and supportive community. I have met some of the funniest and most interesting people, and not once have I regretted applying to this program”, Anne says.

Studying online but maintaining the quality of teaching

The fist-year students only had one contact course before teaching was moved entirely online. Though online teaching has raised new challenges, the students have achieved the learning outcomes very well. Anne admits that she was not looking forward to online classes and the unfamiliar city of Mikkeli: “I was sceptical of what awaited me due to the pandemic. But now being here I would not trade my experience with anyone. Our lectures have been fun and engaging!”

The learning experience of the BScBA Program is module-based with students taking one course at a time, making the studies interactive, intense and focused.

“I have enjoyed studying in modules since we get to concentrate on one specific course for the three weeks’ time. Our assignments are evenly spread out through the module so that the workload does not feel overly draining”, Anne explains.

The lecturers of the BScBA Program are top scholars in their field, and they bring globally competitive knowledge into teaching and assignments. Students find them supportive and approachable and this hasn’t changed during the online courses. “The professors come from different parts of the world. The quality of teaching is extremely high and the students provide valuable feedback on the professors’ performance in class.”

As the classes have been online, Anne thinks that it might sometimes be a bit challenging to follow the teaching. And at that point, the professional skills of the teachers step in.

“My favorite professor so far has been our Business Math with Excel teacher Roman Stepanov. Roman ensured that every student understood the subject, made himself easily approachable and was regularly available to the students”, Anne says.

I would not trade my experience with anyone. Our lectures have been fun and engaging.

Anne Torvinen, first-year BScBA student

The Mikkeli Spirit lives up to its reputation

The team spirit of the Mikkeli Campus community is something the current students and alumni like to brag about, and it might be hard to imagine from the outside perspective what it is like. Anne has an example how the support of your fellow students can make a difference: “Studying here for one semester has already taught me so much and changed me as a person. Never in my life would I have even thought about applying to the board of our program’s student association, Probba, and becoming the Editor-in-Chief of the student magazine, if it were not for the people around me.“

New students have heard many stories of the things they could have experienced, but there hasn’t been a chance to do so because of the Corona pandemic restrictions. But the inventive students did not despair. Anne explains: “In a way, it makes me sad we have not yet gotten the ultimate Mikkeli experience. At the same time, the situation has forced us to be creative in how we spend our time. At best, I have spent at least 9 hours daily in Zoom talking with friends and watching Netflix until 3 am.”

Many of the students of the program have some kind of international background. Anne herself was born in Moscow, Russia and have also lived in Spain and Finland as her family moved quite often between these countries. Students come from various backgrounds, and Anna emphasizes that each person is a unique and valuable member of the Mikkeli community.

“It does not matter if you are from the busy streets of Shanghai or the small Finnish municipality of Nilsiä, Finland, every student is greeted with open arms and a warm smile. You will not regret your decision to apply to this program. And after graduation, the Mikkeli Spirit lives on with the alumni, and when we go on our separate ways and spread around the world, we know that the Mikkeli people will have our backs.”

Bachelor's Program in International Business, Aalto University

International Business, Bachelor (BScBA, Mikkeli) and Master of Science (Otaniemi) in Economics and Business Administration

The Bachelor’s Programme in International Business provides students with a comprehensive range of skills and knowledge to build, develop and lead companies on a global scale. A bachelor’s degree in business with an international focus opens up a wide variety of career opportunities across all industries and continents.

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