Posts in the International Business category

Text: Topias Lehtimäki (student, International Business), Trung Dang Viet (student, Energy and Environmental Engineering) and Alessandro Zocca (student, International Business)

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This writing is done by students participating Tampere3 Smart Campus Innovation Lab (SCIL) summer 2017 projects. At SCIL, students from various fields and university professionals collaboratively carry out development projects that benefit the higher education consortium on a wide scale.

What does sustainable development mean to you?

There are two words that are thrown around a lot nowadays. Sustainable is one, development is another. When combined with each other, a concept called sustainable development is born. Many of you readers have heard of the concept, some of you may even be educated in the matter.

Sustainable development has many definitions by various organizations. Even TAMK has its own definition of the concept, and by the way, did you know that sustainable development is also one of the four values of TAMK’s current strategy for 2020? Because sustainable development is one of TAMK’s values, we decided to ask some of the staff and students what it means to them.

Janne Hopeela

What is your occupation here at TAMK?

Three main areas actually: I’m a student counsellor, which is my main responsibility, then I’m working with practical training; coaching our practical trainees. I’m also responsible for international coordination.

What does sustainable development mean to you?

That’s a very big question. Well of course I try to think about the small steps and things in my private life, how to recycle things, it’s an everyday thing. I really want to do my share and take care of sustainability. I’m very interested in that.

Sustainable development is a value of TAMK, how has it changed the way you perform your daily routines?

Of course it has. I have been working in TAMK for 20 years, so I’ve seen some of the changes here as well. For example, we are using more double-sided copying and at the same time we try to do less copying and use more electronic ways of circulating materials by teachers and students. The attitude towards copying has radically changed.

But then some of the things I have seen changed here when we implemented the strategy for example the kind of lights we use but of course we should be switching off more. During winter we can still see quite a lot of class rooms where there are no people inside, but lights are on. So how could everyone of us really notice that I am the last person leaving the classroom – just remember to switch off the light. Very simple things.

How, in your opinion, could TAMK develop its sustainability further?

For example, in my own office they are changing the windows at the moment. I guess it’s because it’s an old building from the 60’s and they are trying to become more efficient in finding a way to reduce the use of energy in different ways. Of course it’s quite expensive to do that. But I think in the long run it will be for the benefit of TAMK as it’s a big institution.

If we can save some costs in heating during the winter or cooling down during summer time. Money is an issue for UAS’ nowadays so if we can find ways to reduce the use of energy, let’s go for it. An example: switching off the lights when I’m the last person leaving. This is just some of the tiny things I notice in everyday life.

Paula Nissilä

What is your occupation here at TAMK?

Customer services secretary at TAMK Info Desk.

What does sustainable development mean to you?

For me it means that everyday there is something new to learn, in different ways, even at work we are improving all the time and all we do here, has become more advanced.

Sustainable development is a value of TAMK, how has it changed the way you perform your daily routines?

It has changed the way of working here at TAMK. Sustainable development is discussed constantly and the staff is trying to come out and develop new ideas to improve and also to reflect on it. Also thanks to this, sustainable development has been imprinted into my mind permanently! I try to learn more about it, because I understand that we have to save the nature somehow and at the same time intensify the elimination of unnecessary operation that isn’t helping the cause.

How, in your opinion, could TAMK develop its sustainability further?

I was in Scotland for an exchange last year (2016) and after that I have realized that maybe even here at TAMK we could for example decrease the amount of paper consumption by using more monitors instead of normal boards and banners.

Tinja and Riikka

What is your occupation here at TAMK?

We are Nursing and Healthcare students.

What does sustainable development mean to you?

Recycling and also thinking in a more ecological way come immediately to mind .

I can think about it in relation to nursing work, as well, said Tinja, when discussing about effective use of medical supplies.

Sustainable development is a value of TAMK, how has it changed the way you perform your daily routines?

At least, we are trying to use less paper and utilize more online material on Tabula, Tinja said.

Having some of the exams on screen and not on paper is helping the cause, Riikka adds, and also last summer I participated in an online course where it was possible to take part in the discussions and consulting the slides directly from home.

How, in your opinion, could TAMK develop its sustainability further?

About social sustainability; making students that are studying different subjects, cooperate together is a way to implement that, for example being able to practice with a team formed by nurses, doctors and physiotherapists is a good thing.

 

As it can be seen, staff members and students are already aware of what has been done and what can be done to improve sustainability. Now the question remains: is TAMK ready to take sustainable development to the next level?

“I started very young; I was in my 30s. It was a freezing water I had to jump in. But I enjoyed it because I always loved the concept of leading. Since I was a child, leadership was a big part of me.”

Persistent and insightful, Director of Business Operations at TAMK EDU, Carita Prokki has spent almost two decades of her life serving Tampere University of Applied Sciences in different roles. Although she started as a teacher in the early 90s, her leadership vision manifested in her actions, beliefs and goals opened doors to new opportunities and career advancements. Carita was soon appointed the dean of School of Business, a role she stayed in for many years and allowed her to practice side teaching.

“When you’re working as a manager or leader, you start missing the teaching. I was then teaching adults, mostly during evenings and Saturdays. I was in heaven those times. And I think the students loved it too because we all had a great time. I used different teaching methods such as group discussions, rather than lectures”, she recalls.

Carita surprised many people when she decided to step out of the dean role and the institution she regards highly. But she reached a turning point in her professional life and felt it was time to do something different. Therefore, she focused her attention on trying something new and completed a PhD in Organizational Leadership.

“If you are not satisfied with your job or life, it also affects people around you. You have to step out and try something new. It’s not always safe, you might fail, but actually, you’re growing all the time. You become stronger. Too many adults feel pushed in the corner and stay there afraid.

Have you ever paid attention to what they say during a pre-flight safety demonstration? If there is a loss of cabin pressure, the panels above your seat will open, and oxygen masks will drop down. If this happens, place the mask over your nose and mouth, and adjust it as necessary. Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others. Think about it metaphorically. You cannot be good to others if you are not good to yourself. First, help yourself and then somebody else.”

Far from being over, her journey with TAMK took a new direction in the area of global education. TAMK has started this fresh concept in 2011 and Carita came into the picture two years later. In the beginning, there was only the 21st Century Educators programme, but Carita’s huge advantage was her comprehensive knowledge of TAMK.

“I know very well what this institution does and is capable of. You cannot sell Finnish education or tell other people about TAMK without a substantial in-house knowledge. The beginning was very fast, smooth and fruitful. But now, with other universities of applied sciences selling their expertise worldwide, the competition is getting harder, and we think it’s smart to cooperate and unite our forces. While the global trend is more present nowadays, the business ideology is not very developed in Finnish universities.”

So where does TAMK stand out compared to other universities of applied sciences? Carita’s reply is on point: “The vocational teacher education which TAMK takes very seriously. We want to do our best and deliver high-quality results. You need passion to do international business. When you’re passionate about something, it will separate you from the rest.”

On a global scale, TAMK has a unique product found nowhere else: Proakatemia. And Carita knows very well how to make good use of it:  “It happened to me sometimes to go to universities above TAMK’s level. In 30 seconds I realised I have nothing to sell to them, apart from Proakatemia. Nobody in this world has Proakatemia. That’s the ace of spades in my pocket. And I can always use that card to sell our advanced entrepreneurial studies.

She continues: “Almost every day, I think how we can praise our country and education more. Finns are modest; they are not so used with words like excellent or amazing to describe their best assets. But when you go abroad, you have to start using these words. Almost the first question I get no matter where in this world I go is: “What is your ranking in Finland?” There are no rankings in Finland. We never aimed at, we never had any competition or ranked ourselves. I hope we will never do that because it will ruin the basics of our educational system. Let’s leave our references and results speak for themselves.”

TAMK EDU makes Finnish education available worldwide. The most important aspect is adapting to different realities, Carita believes:  “Whether I go to an Arabic, Asian or Latin American country, I have to be very fast and clever with adapting to their cultures. I can’t go there with Finland tattooed on my forehead and say: “Hey! We come from Finland, and we do things like this.” Although everyone admires and knows so much about Finnish education already. To give you an example, China is such a big market that you can have all the Finnish amks (universities of applied sciences) to offer their services there, and it would still cover only a small part of it.

Chinese customers have a different understanding of a group size. We sent them a letter saying we can host a workshop for 30 people and their reply was that their minimum is 300. Last year in August, we flew there for one big training. We had 340 teachers and rectors in the auditorium waiting for us and wanting an interactive training. I was there with Mark Curcher (Program Director of 21st Century Educators and Senior Lecturer), and we had to split all those people into groups to make it interactive. It was a huge learning opportunity for us and an enjoyable experience.”

The Global Education department does not only provide learning experiences for the team that puts its soul into it, but also for TAMK’s teachers. Carita recalls one particular occasion that cracked open a strong taboo: teachers don’t work during their summer holidays.

“In 2013, I was facing a difficult situation. A group from Oman sent me a short notice message that they’d like to visit TAMK during July. Their arrival date was scheduled right after Juhannus, which in Finland is a popular public holiday. Most Finns celebrate it at their summer cottages with family and friends. I emailed the teachers in the morning with no expectations. Anyone who wants to come to work this July? A few hours later, all the teachers were at TAMK. I was amazed by the positive response, and everything went smoothly with the visit. Teachers confessed to me how grateful they were for this opportunity. I believe that the international context is the fastest highway to develop TAMK thanks to the possibilities it provides. International students are very active, they want to make the most out of their studies, and this makes it very pleasant to the teachers as well. There are an extra gratefulness and love you can feel during international courses.”

Carita travels abroad in connection with her work approximately one week each month. When everyone else is at home sleeping, she has to put up with long and often, uncomfortable flights. An alluring smile graced her lips when she detailed about showing up at a workplace: “Sometimes I feel I could be a gardener and grow flowers. But I think we all have moments in our work when we are not happy. Balancing those moments is important. I have to be patient with the global business; to build the trust and develop the relationship with our customers. In a way, I’m like an entrepreneur; I take care of sales, keep the things rolling all the time and motivate my people to sell. But I don’t put the money ahead. That’s not my style. I believe that when you show good results, the money follows.

She adds: “The Global Education department doesn’t receive a budget from TAMK. We rely entirely on the deals we make. “

Despite the high factor of uncertainty associated with her work, Carita collects distinctive rewards: “It’s challenging and the most difficult job I’ve ever done in my whole life so far. At the very moment, you can be challenged until the limits of your skills. But at the very another moment, you are in heaven with people, and you get your second salary from their sentences.”

An effective leader knows that storytelling is an essential part of leadership. And maybe another beautiful thing about Carita is that she is not afraid to pass along brave sentences on feminism and inspire other women to live an authentic life: “Many women have been under a lot of pressure for so long that they have forgotten about themselves. There are so many things women are capable of achieving in their lives. And I think that media is very cautious and not writing about all these things because they are afraid of empowered women. Women are multi-talented and multi-energized.”

Read more about TAMK Global Education

Text: Andruta Ilie
Photo: Tiina Suvanto

 

Tanyu and Virpi presenting the 21st Century Educators program to the world

Tanyu and Virpi presenting the 21st Century Educators programme to the world

Outstanding, highly acclaimed and on top of Europe’s rankings for the past 16 years, the Finnish education system continues to be an appealing topic for many educational institutions around the world. Consider the World Economic Forum and the many articles published on insights and secrets of Finland’s one of the most successful exports to the world. With the doors to the world already open and an increasing worldwide interest, a team of experts from Tampere University of Applied Sciences discovered an undeniable need of educating teachers through innovative methodologies to guarantee immediate results. Meet TAMK’s 21st Century Educators.

21st Century Educators is a fully supported, cohort based, collaborative programme which believes that learning is best undertaken as a social activity in an authentic context. The programme is developed so that it encompasses courses and services which can be delivered either online, face to face or in a blended format by TAMK Global Education. Which countries respond the best to the program? What skills should the educator of the future possess? Customer Relationship Managers, Virpi Heinonen and Tanyu Chen provided me the answers.

The first thing I notice when I step into their office is the chemistry between Virpi and Tanyu and how they conclude each other’s answers. Virpi constantly gives Tanyu the chance to share ideas related to her experience as a researcher well-accustomed to the Chinese market. As a consequence, Tanyu discloses how satisfied she is with her work “I realized that what I learned, researched and analyzed in theory, I can put in practice at TAMK.”

This year, they have worked with partners in China, Brazil, USA, Uruguay, Oman and Myanmar but the first two are the most eager to learn about the Finnish education system and implement the knowledge into their teaching practices. When it comes to China, the opportunities are bigger since the education model is shifting. “In 2015, the Chinese Ministry of Education issued a new policy wanting to have 600 out of 2000 existing higher education institutions transferred to universities of applied sciences. This is a big transformation. If previously the education methods and approaches were adopted from English speaking countries, nowadays China is more focused on the Nordic countries. They are deeply impressed with the Finnish education.” states Tanyu. Despite their sincere enthusiasm, Chinese customers are not easy to reach. For high-end customers, traditional face to face training is preferred to digital studies.

“We have been operating in the Chinese market for two years now and our program is very well known there because China is a very special case. Universities send their leaders to study abroad which means the management and the leadership are the core. Teachers don’t have so many opportunities and their visits here are relatively short. So if we can impact the leaders, then they will make the right decisions regarding the teacher training services.” she adds.

Do they have a follow-up scheme to track the progress of Chinese leaders back in their homeland? “Actually, we do have a follow-up scheme to collect the feedback for those who have learned in Finland and we also have Finnish experts to train the local teachers in China. So far, we received positive feedback from those teachers who attended the teacher trainings. Many of them got promoted or their level of teaching has increased. Teachers are switching their daily practices and taking to their classrooms what they learned from Finland. It’s very difficult in the beginning because their mindsets have changed, but the students’ not yet. The change is gradually happening in the classroom and it’s a slow process. “

Virpi travels more often to Latin American countries and Brazil is a top destination. “With Brazil it is going well. We just had our third graduated group and they are all great ambassadors. They are marketing Finland themselves within the federal institute where they work at so we are expecting more Brazilian teachers next year and we are also sending our teachers to Brazil. Mark Curcher, our Program Director is also taking care of the online program and services besides travelling to Brazil for conferences and workshops. We have traded in Brazil for four years already and there has been a lot of interest in Proakatemia type of innovation weeks, leadership and coaching trainings. TAMK will have a new Master’s programme in Educational Leadership starting in 2017 and the goal is to prepare those who work in educational institutions, HR management, governmental positions or NGO’s.  We are hoping to reach people from different countries with interesting and distinctive backgrounds.”

The must-have competences of a future educator

Is leadership one of the must-have competences of a future educator then? “Definitely. Leadership and coaching skills are the most needed at the moment. An educator has to be able to facilitate the student’s learning process. Students are already capable to find the information they need to support their studies so the teacher’s role is to facilitate the learning conditions and create an experience.” continues Virpi.

“If you go deep, you’ll probably find lots of skills. Lifelong learning and cultural competences are also very important. To always be hungry for learning and developing new skills and share them with your group of students. All student groups are diverse and international and we learn from them as much as they learn from us.”

Virpi and Tanyu have been working together for slightly over one year now and laid the basis of a small, but very efficient team. And while they’re selling the expertise of different degree programmes to other countries, they are counting on all the support they can get from the head of each department and front-line teachers. Especially when they have international visitors interested in class observation, laboratory showing and project presentation. A quick response is crucial in sealing the deals from which the whole institution benefits.

“We need everyone’s help and more effective internal communications in order to reach our future goals and spread the Joy of Discovery to the rest of the world.”

 

Text & photo: Andruta Ilie

 

Read more about 21st Century Educators: http://21stcenturyeducators.tamk.fi/

Discover our brand new Master’s programme: http://www.tamk.fi/web/tamken/educational-leadership-master

Simon Ireland

International Partnerships and Business Coordinator at University of Salford, Simon Ireland attended IWBAS2016 at TAMK in March, not only as a Lecturer, but also to discuss a bold collaboration project initiated by the two universities. The double degree programme between Salford Business School and TAMK’s School of Business and Services was successfully approved on the 21st of April. Currently focused on the Tourism and International Business area, Simon breaks down the ongoing process and explains how students can benefit from taking the dual programme.

Simon, this is not your first time at TAMK, if I’m right.

No, I’ve been here many times. We started off running Erasmus intensive programme, two-week courses for students from here, my university and Jaume I University in Spain. When we brought students here, we did various activities with them. And we’ve taken your students to Salford, then everybody to Spain and we cycled round for ten years doing that.

We initially started with 60 students altogether (20 from each institution) and then, it reduced through time due to logistical reasons. It was still quite a large number. Now that Erasmus changed the policy on these intensive programmes, it hasn’t been logistically suitable to do it anymore.

But at the moment, we’re working on a collaboration of having a double degree with TAMK. We’re looking at a double degree in International Business and International Business with Tourism.

How is the preparation going for the double degree programme?

We’re really at the closing end of the process now. Once it gets approved, we can start exchanging students on that course in September, this year. Basically, it’s a combination for a TAMK student who has studied for two years here and then they would come to Salford to join our funded graduate programme for one year and once they completed that, they come back and finish off the research dissertation thesis. And that would give them both awards, so they would get a degree from the University of Salford and one degree from TAMK.

How would you describe Salford Business School to TAMK students?

Salford Business School is quite a large school within the UK. The university itself has about 20,000 students and within the Business School, we probably have about 5,000 students altogether. There’s about 70 academic staff working in the school. We do a full range all the way from pre-undergraduate and undergraduate to post-graduate, master programmes of different areas and PhD research. A full service business school. My area is Tourism and International Business. Most of my role is actually dealing with international partners at the moment, even though I’m still a functioning academic in the school. I get to travel around the world quite a lot because of that.

Tell me more about the partnership between the two universities.

It grows as the relationship grows. There are different things that can come out of these relationships. But with these things you have to progress at a natural pace. You can’t do too many activities in one go. So we’re focusing on the double degree at the moment. The double degree is almost like a progression agreement between the two institutions.

Clearly, coming from a UK university, we have a very different approach to education. Students are paying very significant fees in UK. And it really changes a lot the nature of how an organization functions and rules. So it’s quite a great pleasure to come here and see the relationships the academic have with the senior management, because the relationships in the UK are a lot more formal, a lot more structured.

One of the hot topics discussed during IWBAS was the attention deficiency in classrooms. What are your thoughts on the matter?

I can appreciate that. I think it depends on the nature of the student most of the time. Some can see having all these virtual learning environments and these electronics resources at their fingertips as being possibly a fallback, if they’re not working as hard as they should do, not engaging as much as they should do. As an academic, you know that those pieces of information are only there for support to what you actually do. And I think the need to engage a student is always going to be there. You need that sort of drive and attitude to deliver material that makes the students want to come, because they’re the ones to benefit the most. I strongly believe that the good students are the ones that will still engage and use the material as it should be, as a support material, rather than relying on it as a source. Sometimes, I think people have this misconception that putting a PowerPoint presentation somewhere is distance learning. So I think that when you consider the differences between those two, between traditional and distance learning, then materials are completely different.

There is an expectation from this generation that everything should be available to them at all times, they want an instant response from the society. I think it’s a learning process for anybody that, as availability of information and getting what you want appears to become easier, than there’s a stronger reliance that this should be expanded. When people venture out into the real world, they realize that whether they’re dealing with companies, businesses, energy suppliers, housing people, everything, they’re going to end up with the same issue. It’s a learning process for the student, rather than the other way around. There is a need to adapt to this change. The change is everywhere.

Though international weeks are meant for learning, they also create memories. What is your strongest memory from your visits to Finland?

When I first visited here, I was taken out to cross country skiing and then, we sat down by a fire and grilled sausages. That, to me, is a memory that will never go. It’s part of the whole education experience, because it’s part of the relationship development. So that’s probably one of my strongest memories.

Any life advice you give to your students?

Just relax and be happy. The world is a difficult place and you can hit challenges every single day, and everybody does. It’s the way you deal with them that makes a difference. If you just take one step at the time, things will be a lot easier than panicking, getting worried or getting stressed and try to attack things head on. Quite often, you just need to stop for a minute, relax and think: “I can deal with it.”.

 

Text & photo: Andruta Ilie

Note: IWBAS 2016 was the International Week event organized by TAMK’s School of Business and Services.

 

House of Blackheads in Riga

House of Blackheads in Riga

In summer 2014 Pirkko Varis from Tampere University of Applied Sciences participated in the annual NICE network meeting, organized at the Faculty of Engineering Economics and Management, Riga Technical University. The organizational team consisted of Inga Lapina, Jolanta Jurēvica, Natalja Lāce and some other persons from RTU.

Riga 2

The programme included plenary and workshop sessions on strategic partnerships within ERASMUS+, institutional accreditation and evaluation systems, student and staff mobility, blended learning, placements, internationalization of curricula and grade transfers. In addition, we did a lot of networking.

Riga 3

Pirkko, Thomas and Frantisek with other participants trying to recognize own bread

Pirkko, Thomas and Frantisek with other participants trying to recognize own bread

Some visits were made to old Riga, Jūrmala, the biggest seaside resort in the Baltic States and to a national park. We also visited a bakery where we made our own bread. In the end of the visit we got our bread with us and after returning home the bread reminded us of the really nice stay in Riga.

Trip to Jūrmala

Trip to Jūrmala

 

Trip to a national park

Trip to a national park

Thank you for organizing the fantastic meeting for all of us!
Text : Pirkko Varis, TAMK
Photos: Regina Parzer, IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, Austria

What is NICE network?

The New Initiatives and Challenges in Europe, NICE network is a network for representatives of more than 35 business schools, faculties and departments of business and economics. They work together in order to develop curricula, joint projects, intensive courses, exchanges, internships and other cooperation. Pirkko Varis from Tampere University of Applied Sciences has taken part for many years in the NICE network and in the projects initiated by the members of the network. For example the IICEE European module was developed by some partners and now it is part of the curriculum in several universities throughout Europe. An intensive programme was developed based upon the module, too. In annual meetings of the network study programmes and methods are compared, new initiatives are discussed and proposals are made for cooperation and development of the network. The Quality Charter of the NICE network and other information is available on the website of the network www.nicenetwork.eu

On Friday 22nd of August 2014 Dr. Fernando Leon Garcia, the President of CETYS University, Mexico visited TAMK. The reason for his visit was to learn more about TAMK’s education, international activities and premises and also renew the Memorandum of Understanding between the two universities.

During the visit Dr. Garcia brought out his aspiration to expand the co-operation between TAMK and CETYS. In practice this would mean for example joint summer and/or winter courses, active staff mobility and double degrees especially in the field of International Business, Industrial Engineering, Game Design/Graphic Design and Energy/Environment.

 

Presidents Markku Lahtinen and Fernando Leon Garcia in the signing ceremony.

Text and photo: Kirsi Tolvanen, Head of International Services