Getting an edge in the working market from Master’s studies


Erika Harjumäki is a second year student in the Master’s degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship in HAMK. She works in the paper industry and has quite recently become a mother as well. What is it like to balance work, studies and motherhood, and how has she liked the studies in BME? Let Erika tell you more about that.

It was easy to choose HAMK to do my Master’s degree in, because it was familiar to me beforehand. I studied in HAMK’s International Business (bachelor’s degree) previously, graduating from it in 2010. I did my bachelor’s thesis for the paper company UPM. There I managed to get my foot in the doorway, and after graduation got employed by UPM. I still work for UPM, and I’m doing my master’s thesis for them as well, actually.

Getting an edge in the working market

I wanted to do the Master’s degree to develop myself further in my professional career. And since I’m currently in the paper industry, and people might know that the future isn’t seeming so bright for it, I just really wanted to add something extra to my knowledge set to be more attractive in the working market.

Scheduling is the key

When we started the BME-programme, we had one contact day per month in Hämeenlinna. It was difficult to arrange that with the employer at first, but then I actually started my maternity leave. So I have a different kind of employer now, which worked out just fine in the beginning, but now that he has grown a little, it’s a bit more challenging.

I’d say it is just about scheduling your time as efficiently as possible, whether you are working or in maternity leave. It is challenging and not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it!

Studying in teams

We do our studies in teams. The materials for each course are available online, so students can do their studying whenever it is most convenient for them. The teams meet once a week, and the meetings are recorded by a secretary, who is selected from the team. This is done to make sure the teachers can follow up on what the teams are doing. Once a month we have a contact lesson with the teachers in Hämeenlinna, where we present our team works.

Our teachers and the staff have given us immense support, which is really nice. They are truly trying to help us the best they can to complete our studies, finish our theses and finally graduate.

Cultural differences give new aspects on business

What I’ve especially liked about BME is the international atmosphere. And not just meeting the people from all these different cultures, which is also great, but hearing their perspectives on the business aspects is truly interesting, since people from different cultures don’t always think alike.

Our own team consist of five people. We had a Pakistani man, who is now taking a year off. There is also a woman from Tanzania, who is running her own business in Tampere. And then there are three Finnish ladies, me included. We are all in the working life, balancing studies and work.

Tools for future career

In my future work life, I’d like to get more managerial responsibilities. Maybe lead a project team or work in the human resources sector. Those are areas that really interest me. And I think that this educational programme is really good considering that, especially the project management area. After all, we are working in teams all the time, and the studying is basically managing one project at a time as we complete courses.

Got interested? Read more about our Master’s degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship and apply!

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