Conference participation – work and network

Ambassador’s page: Interviewing our research talents

Attending an academic conference is an awesome opportunity for students to expand their horizon and build networks with scholars and experts in the same or similar field of studies from other parts of the world. Almost every researcher looks forward to this great privilege, and so was Maija Torniainen, a student of our programme, who shared her experiences with us after attending an international academic conference in Spain.

Maija took part in the 4th International Conference on Higher Education Advances that was organized from 20th to 22nd of June 2018 in Valencia, Spain.

In the picture: The Fourth International Conference on Higher Education Advances, Valencia 2018

The conference was held at the Faculty of Business Administration and Management of the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), which has been recently ranked as the best technical university in Spain by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2017. The conference was an excellent opportunity for researchers and practitioners to exchange ideas, experiences and research results related to the preparation of students, teaching/learning methodologies and organization of educational systems.

Added research value

When asked about the most obvious motivation that made her attend the conference, Maija mentioned building networks with scholars from all over the world, listening to their latest research findings and breakthroughs, gaining new international experiences and improving academic paper writing and presentation skills. She was excited when her paper was among those accepted as a full paper out of 316 research papers submitted to the conference!

In the picture: Maija is presenting her paper in the track session

Maija explained that she was able to participate in the conference because of her work as a project manager in a project aimed at developing entrepreneurship education (in Finnish: Yrittäjäksi –nuorille tukea yrittämisen alkuun 2017-2019). The project’s objective is to support students and young people in entrepreneurship. It is managed by South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk) and funded by the EU via the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.

Networking for future collaborations

When asked about the reason why Higher Education Advances conference was unique to her, Maija happily mentioned that writing her conference article certainly improved her academic writing and presentation skills.

Furthermore, her participation in the conference was useful from the point of view of networking and receiving new knowledge from researchers working around the globe.

Maija’s memorable experiences

“Firstly, conference presentations from other participants gave quite a good overview of current issues and topics in business. In addition, networking with other conference participants creates possibilities for new forms of cooperation”.

“To relate the participation in the conference to my international business studies, the participation brought benefit to my professional experience and benefit to my studies. Where could I gain such a comprehensive experience to develop my professional growth?”

How can business students benefit from conference participation?

Maija expressed that during the conference, there was the possibility to take part in multiple track sessions and keynote sessions. As far as students can also take part in the conference, they can participate in best student paper award.

In addition, more benefits of participating in international conferences include…

… sharing of knowledge and good practices                                                                    … the development of social and communication skills                                           … in principle, a conference paper author is required to have good academic writing skills: according to Maija’s experience, these skills can only be developed by continuous writing.

Maija stated her plans to attend more academic conferences in future because she has gained a lot, and as being able to grow her academic competences in international level which had brought added value to her studies.

Finally, she urged all students to develop not only multiple working-life related academic skills, but to grow their international networks and knowledge by attending academic conferences.

Interview and text author: Ifeoma Racheal Agbo, Student Ambassador of International Business and Sales Management Programme