Vesa-Matti Vartiainen is a second-year International Business student at HAMK. He is studying in the part-time study programme. We asked him questions concerning his studies and how he manages to run his own company simultaneously.
Tell a bit about your background
In the autumn of 2015 I was in a situation when I thought about what to do next with my life. I had shut down my previous company, and I wanted to do something new. That’s how I started looking for a place to study. I was very interested in ICT studies, but I had also been into global economics for a while, and that’s how I started thinking about studying international business.
Why did you decide to study part-time?
I had already been in working life for a long time, and since part-time studies are much more flexible than full-time studies, I chose to study in the part-time programme. I started a new company called Melio Oy in the beginning of the year 2018, and have been working full-time with that. The company is an Amazon seller consulting company for Finnish sellers. I basically help companies sell their products there. Amazon is quite a tricky platform, because it operates all around the world, and therefore there are many things for a seller to consider.
Why did you choose HAMK?
When I was choosing a school to study in, I though first about the University of Jyväskylä. Their studies weren’t very flexible, though. I searched for good options and googled around, and HAMK seemed like a suitable one. I live in Ylöjärvi, and the Valkeakoski campus is quite near, and the number of contact days is reasonable. I didn’t have any friends in HAMK, but I read some student stories from HAMK’s IB students, and I got convinced that it is a programme worth applying to.
I have liked my studies very much. The first half a year, I spent getting familiar with the studying rhythm again. I just turned 32, so I’ve already had experience of many different things. I think that it has been easier to learn these new ways of working because of all the previous experience I have, compared to if I would’ve started studying right after high school when I was younger.
What has been challenging in your studies? What has been the best thing about them?
I feel like I’ve only started having challenges with my studies now during the second half of my second year of studies, and that is mainly because of my time consuming company. Time management can be a challenge sometimes.
In my opinion, the best thing in IB is the real international networking we get to do during our studies. I’ve already gotten contacts all around the world! And I feel that since we don’t meet every day with my classmates, I wait even more eagerly to see them every time! My class is a very varied group of people. About half are international and half Finns. There are people for example from USA, Morocco, Portugal and Tunisia.
People come from many different walks of life. There are those, who have been in the working life for 20 years and decided they want to do something different. Then there are those who have multiple kids and have been spending more time with them, those who come from abroad with the mindset to move permanently to Finland and start a life here, and those whose employer requires them to get a degree in order to move forward in their career.
How do you combine studying and working?
I think it is up to your own attitude how well you are suited for working and studying at the same time. In the beginning, I did a bit of studying every evening. But now I do school work during weekends. For example, I decide that I will study next weekend, and then I study from Saturday morning to Sunday evening. My current business requires me to work according to several different time zones, so I work in the evenings quite often, but with this system I have no problem in completing my studies.
Most of our studies are done in groups online. I’d say about 70-80% of our studies are group work. There are certain challenges, when you try to fit everybody’s schedule together, since everybody have such different lives. But when the work is divided evenly, everything goes smoothly.
Would you recommend part-time studies to others?
I’d most definitely recommend part-time studies! Especially if you are thinking about a new career or updating your skills and want to work simultaneously. As full-time students, many would have to give up their jobs. I think these studies suit everybody regardless of age. Our group’s mean age is actually around 30.
I want to give such regards, that whoever is reading this article and thinking about applying to IB part-time, join us! This is a great experience and most definitely gives you good tools for the future!