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

Racheal Agbo – Meet Our Ambassador!

We are happy to introduce to you Racheal Agbo, the Ambassador of the Master’s Degree Programme in International Business and Sales Management 2018 – 2019! Racheal is a first-year student of our programme who came to Finland from Nigeria. The Ambassador’s aim is to provide students’ views on the programme and let us hear students’ voices telling about student life. Read Racheal’s story and greetings to the existing and prospective students of IBS!
“I am Racheal Agbo, from Nigeria. I am currently studying master’s degree in International Business and Sales Management.
I was captivated by the idea of enrolling for this course because of its focus on international business and sales management, which suits my passion and background in business nicely. This zest led me to University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio and more precisely to Master’s degree in international business and sales management.
Before applying to this course, I discovered that the course module would equip me not only with the right skillset for an effective and innovative human and resources management, but also broaden my perspective through the various international networks and wealth of experience within this region.
The atmosphere in my study programme is quite multicultural, because we have the opportunity of studying with students from diverse academic backgrounds. Another interesting aspect in this course is that, we have lots of group work and also independent studying.
The consistent encouragement from our lecturers made our learning process easier and helps us excel in our studies. I believe that studying this course will provide me with an awesome job opportunity in an International firm in future.
Accepting to study at the University of Eastern Finland is a dream come true because, I have become one of the elite group of students gaining professional knowledge from the industrious lecturers and experiencing the beautiful scenery embedded in and around the institution.
I will not forget to mention that Kuopio is an adorable and lovely city. I fell in love with this city on my first arrival. It is very peaceful and they have good bus connection for students going to the university, exquisite cafes, restaurants, sports centres and they frequently organize attractive events. You cannot be bored living in Kuoipo 🙂 You are welcome to join IBS big family!”
We remind that the application period for the 2019 academic year lasts 1 November – 31 Junuary! The application details and procedure can be found by this link: CLICK

Student Experience Insight: Interview with Liisa Leppävuori


Liisa Leppävuori is one of the current International Business and Sales Management Master’s Degree Programme students at the University of Eastern Finland. She is doing her master’s thesis about students’ experiences of the programme. An interview with Leppävuori gave us insightful views from the students’ perspective.

First of all, students expected a lot of independent studying and actual contact with companies when they were applying for the programme. After proceeding in the programme, students realized that there was a great amount of group work, which many of them found very supportive of learning. Through those group work experiences, there was also a lot of cooperation with companies, and students appreciated that. One of the most fascinating reasons why applicants had been interested in our programme in the first place was its uniqueness: it cannot be found at any other university. Also, applicants expected Finland to be a very peaceful and safe country.

After completing the studies in the programme, the students were very satisfied. The courses were challenging enough, and thanks to the programme being taught completely in English, presenting and speaking in English raised students’ confidence. Some of the students wanted there to be even more presentations held during classes. One of the favourite courses was Cross-Cultural Communication and Negotiation, because it was seen as highly practical.

Courses with mixed learning methods were successful and pleasing. Instead of only theoretical studies, students get to do group work, which prepares them for working life. Participants in the programme include Finnish and international students. Cultural differences between students might be challenging, but they are seen as learning experiences! Many students praised the freedom offered by the programme: students can freely choose which courses they take and when to accomplish them. The teachers are very approachable. Students and teachers are pretty much on the same level in Finland, which makes it easy to approach lecturers, teachers, professors and other personnel.

At the end of the interview, Leppävuori gave some advice.

“Everyone who wants to apply for this programme should be open-minded. Be prepared for the Finnish winter, and if you are selected to study here, remember to keep in touch with your family and friends back home. Remember to do the things you loved doing in your home country, but also try new things and hobbies typical of Finnish culture. And remember to join ESN KISA’s activities! They have been very popular among and liked by international students.”

ESN KISA arranges all kinds of activities, from movie nights to trips abroad, for both Finnish and international students. Finnish people might seem shy and reserved at first but in reality, we are very nice, friendly and approachable people. Our city, Kuopio, is a very nice place: not too big but not too small either. There are a lot of events going on throughout the year. Our university is amazing, and our personnel is approachable and eager to help!

Interview and text: Tiia Alina Heikkinen, Student Ambassador of the Programme