Double degree student Michael: “Working in multidisciplinary teams was new to me”


Michael Koch was HAMK Business Administration degree programme’s first Double Degree student. He arrived to HAMK from Bern University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland, where he studied business.

At HAMK, his studies consisted of different modules related to strategic management, business development and digital marketing. What was his double degree experience like? What were the main differences between his own school and HAMK?

How did you end up in Finland and at HAMK?

In my school in Switzerland, we had an opportunity to choose double degree destination between Finland (HAMK), Sweden or Australia. I was comparing the different curriculums and noticed that at HAMK competencies are taught in a very practical way. Additionally, HAMK offered 15 credits from my absolute favorite topic, Startup Business School, and that definitely convinced me. Besides that, I have already been in Australia but never in the northern Europe.

What has been the best thing in studying at HAMK?

The best thing has definitely been cooperation between different degree programmes, teachers and even campuses (HAMK has 7 different campuses). I have been able to study and work in multidisciplinary teams, which gave new perspective on topics.

In general, I have never experienced personal teacher support like here at HAMK before. There wasn’t only my thesis supervisor who supported me in my thesis project, but also multiple other staff members and teachers who helped my along the way.

You did also your thesis at HAMK, can you tell something about it?

My thesis topic was “Evaluating the opportunity for a new business according to the Lean Startup Methodology”. I investigated the market opportunity for new kind of forearm crutches. Actually, another student from the degree programme in Mechanical Engineering and Production Technology does his thesis about the same business idea, but from the technology’s and development’s point of view.

What are the biggest differences between your own university and HAMK?

The biggest difference is the working culture. In Bern, everything is very strict and no changes to deadlines or requirements are made afterwards.  Whereas at HAMK, there are less guidelines and different kind of requirements.

Any tips for other students who consider doing their double degree at HAMK?

Just trust the teacher when they say: do not worry too much, it will be clear at the end! Stay flexible 🙂

What does double degree mean? How does this process go from the teacher’s perspective? Our principal lecturer Ismo Vuorinen was Michael’s thesis supervisor, read his experiences below:

Michael Koch from the Business School at Bern UAS presented his bachelor thesis at the final seminar on 16 May 2018. He is completing his third year of studies in the Degree Programme of Business Administration at HAMK UAS. Consequently, he is graduating from two bachelor’s degrees at the same time in line with the agreement between the two Degree Programmes. Michael is the first Double Degree student in the Degree Programme of Business Administration.

As part of the Double Degree studies, Michael wrote his bachelor thesis. The thesis proceeded along the established process at HAMK with some minor modifications due to the co-existence of two supervisors (HAMK and Bern) and lack of peer student feedback.

The student coming from a foreign UAS to finish his/her studies for a bachelor degree has already gotten used to the procedures and reporting guidelines of the home institution. This creates a need to open up the respective processes of HAMK from the very beginning to ensure a rapid start and smooth progress in due time.  In this case, the student showed autonomy, commitment and responsibility to such an extent that the thesis project stayed on schedule and ended to a successful result.

From the teacher’s perspective, Double Degree students bring a brand new and inspiring element into the tuition. In addition, networking with foreign colleagues becomes necessary in Double Degree agreements, but at the same time, it also opens up an opportunity for new contacts that may bring novel substance into your tuition and lead to joint activity in research and development.

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