I had International Business Law today. You may assume having Law classes in morning is one of the sleepiest things you have to stand; but the reality, or should I say the JAMK-reality is much brighter. Our Law teacher only introduced and explained main ideas in the first half of the class, and then we started to go through and discuss different case studies together. This way of learning turns the hard-to-remember-all nature of Law into a long and vivid memory for key issues. Here comes the first piece of practical studies at JAMK IB: case studies and open forums for discussions (and sometimes arguments due to a bunch of concrete opinions from IB-ers).
Teamwork, presentations, reports… there is a sea of those waiting for IB-ers to swim in. One of the very first lessons for JAMK IB-ers is to practice giving presentations and write reports in a truly professional way. Besides, groupwork may drive us happy or crazy, but for sure we will learn tons from it. One of my group work last fall was to write about several Human Resources Management (HRM) subjects in a modern corporation. Having been impressed by a lecture about Microsoft Finland which has been continuously highly ranked in HR field around the world, we decided to contact and ask Microsoft if we could have a face-to-face interview with their HR Manager. The interview then went soundly and my group really got to know the way Microsoft has developed and consolidated their HR system to get continuing successes. In a sense, that HR group work meant much more to us than just an excellent grade at the end of the course.
We also play games in courses, yes, we play games. It can be the one-week Global Mergers & Acquisitions game in which we play as different companies to negotiate with each other in the stock market with the support from some specialized computer software, or the Global Supply Chain game when we try to calculate and make purchase decisions to gain values for our imaginary organizations. We also play “language cards” in silence during one Cross-cultural Management lecture to get the idea how hard it is when we do not understand each other but keep on playing our own social rules. Actually my class has just started a new game called the Stock Market Game since today and the game is gonna take place until April (gotta be fun!!). Well, the list cannot be ended here and I promise you will play a lot more cool games at JAMK.
Company projects is another method to get relevant hands-on experiences. Projects are introduced by real companies in and outside Finland, often included in courses and make up for 50% of your total grade.
One example is our project for KONE in Marketing Communications last spring. The biggest elevator producer in Finland at that time was facing a profound challenge to reach a new customer segment. With knowledge gained through lectures, our IB group was working pretty hard with the company to come up with a sound plan and ready-to-be-used solutions.
More than that, IB-ers need to get at least 10 ETCS for projects outside courses which are also from various organizations within the industry and international network of JAMK. Last year I worked for one marketing project of Silenta, a Finnish hearing protection equipment producer. Our goal was to do researches about large airports all over the world as potential customers to purchase Silenta’s products for their airport working staff. Based on that data collection, we made suggestions to Silenta on which airports they should reach first, which ones they should not and etc. This kind of project-based learning puts IB-ers in a professional working environment and so explores possibilities for practical lessons.
Conferences, seminars and other study activities are often organized by JAMK generally and the Business Faculty particularly. How about internships? As an IB-er, you will get many internship placements announced by the school (i bet you still remember that JAMK has such a strong network with companies and institutions in Finland, Europe and other parts of the world) or you can acquire training places by yourselves. The training has to last at least 3.5 months (full-time working) and there will be financial supports from the school if the work places are not located in your home country (400€ per month). I am working now for JAMK Research and Development Department as a researcher, and I have to say I have been learning a lot there.
Oppsss we should call it a day shouldn’t we? See you tomorrow with the 4th story about IB-ers going internationalization!