We put together the most commonly asked questions about HAMK’s International Business degree programme and answered them as thoroughly as possible. The answers are put together by IB students Janita Juhola and Esra Aliu, IB alumni Terhi Tammivirta and teacher Eveliina Toivonen. You should also check out IB’s official webpage at www.hamk.fi/ib. Hopefully you find answers to your questions here!
Applying to IB
What should I study in high school if I want to study international business?
Basically, you can study anything you want because IB is such a wide education that you can choose what you want to specialize into. If you like psychology, you might like human resource management (HRM) or marketing. One that I would recommend to pay attention to is mathematics because you need that more or less everywhere. In addition, you should have basic knowledge and skills in English language. You don’t need to be like a native speaker, but you should have basic reading and writing skills and to have courage to open your mouth. The rest you will learn in HAMK!
You don’t have to be expert of any kind of economy subjects, as aim of studies is to make every student when they become part of HAMK to gain equal knowledge from the start.
Where can I study international business?
You can study international business in Valkeakoski campus but there is also a line in Finnish in our main campus in Hämeenlinna, which focuses on business administration (www.hamk.fi/liiketalous). There is a number of university of applied sciences in Finland where you can study international business. But remember HAMK’s door is always open and welcoming new excited students!
Is a degree from a university of applied sciences as valuable in working life as a degree from a university?
Yes, it is if not even more valuable because you already have so much experience in actual doing. It’s all up to students’ skills and persistence how they will progress in work life. We have many alumni who now are working in high positions.
You can read our alumni stories on our blog.
How do I apply to HAMK to study international business?
What are the entrance exams like?
If you are applying via direct application (recommended for applicants from abroad) the entrance exam will be online. Read more about the direct application process and entrance exam here.
If you are applying via joint application (recommended for applicants in Finland) there are two options: online entrance exam which will be held on February 2021 and entrance exam at our campus in Valkeakoski, Finland on April 2021. Read more about the joint application process and entrance exam here.
Studying in IB
What is the best thing in IB?
Best thing is that we have a small and cross-cultural campus. That way you get to meet many different people with different backgrounds, and actually get to know everyone. The atmosphere is very friendly and supporting. We are like a big family!
What are the teachers like in Valkeakoski?
Teachers come from many different countries and they are friendly and supporting. Since our campus is a small one, they know us individually and know our names and our strong and weak points. That way it is easier for them to help up and give us opportunities. They do care about and pay special attention to each of us. You can read articles about some of our staff members here.
What are the courses like? What are the assignments and tests like?
There are different types of courses, but the main thing is that they are in modules. That means that you have a readymade pack of courses that go together and it is easier and more efficient to study. There is also a wide diversity in assignments and tests. Most assignments and even some tests are done in teams.
Courses are reachable by all students no matter of their background and English skills, because your skills will grow and get much better by time. What you need to do is pay attention to deadlines. Tests are based on lectures, and teachers always make sure to tell where to concentrate and what is most important to learn for the tests.
Do the studies include many lectures or are the studies more independent?
The lectures are important but the teachers are flexible if you have some important reason to miss the class. On the first year, there are more lectures and on the second year, there are more independent assignments, so both ways are included.
What are the exchange opportunities like?
There are great exchange opportunities. If you have successfully passed your courses, you can go on exchange. We have about 100 partner schools around the world. You can choose the length of your exchange; the most common lengths are full academic year or half of an academic year. In addition, you can do two exchanges too, half a year in one country and half a year in another!
You can find more information about exchange opportunities here.
Read about IB student Angeliki’s exchange experience in the USA here.
Read about IB student Anniinas’s exchange experience in Spain here.
Read about IB student Valentin’s exchange experience in Bhutan here.
What does double degree mean?
Double degree means that you study your last academic year abroad in one of our double degree partner schools and when you graduate, you get a degree certificate both from our school and from the partner school. This makes you stand out when you are applying for a job!
You can find more information about double degree studies here.
How international are the studies really? From which countries are there students?
When we started school, we counted that there are students from 11 countries in our class. 1/3 are maybe Finns and the rest are foreign. There are students for example from Vietnam, Russia, Kosovo, Albania, Kenya, Nigeria, Turkey and Bulgaria.
How good should my English level be?
If you can understand and speak basic English you will manage. There will be some new vocabulary, but you will learn it during your studies with the rest of the students. The most important thing is that you have the courage to speak, even if your English isn’t perfect! And most of us are not native English speakers anyway.
Living in Finland and Valkeakoski
What are the student apartments like in Valkeakoski?
Valkeakoski has quite cheap apartments compared to the bigger cities in Finland like Tampere and Hämeenlinna, and it is not far from them. You don’t have to pay extra from water or electricity because they are normally included in the rent. There are different sizes of apartments depending if you want to live alone or with roommates. They usually fit up to two or three students. The student apartments are also located very close to the school, so it’s a short walk.
There are also apartments in the private rental markets all around the city.
You can find more information about Valkeakoski here.
Is it expensive to live in Finland?
It depends where you come from and what standards you have. It is more expensive than in many countries but as a Finn, I think not overly expensive. Approximately new students should count at least 800€ per month.
Is Finnish food good?
It depends on your taste but there is a variety of different types of food in Finland. Overall, it might be pretty plane for foreign people but you can add more spices on your own. There are also restaurants serving for example Asian, Mexican or Italian food and you can find variety of ingredients from the stores.
What are the Finnish people like?
Finns might be quiet when first met but they are loyal friends when you get to know them. In addition, a good thing to remember is that Finns highly respect personal space and polite manners. Finns are really helpful, and help students from abroad in many ways.
What can you do in your free time in Valkeakoski?
There is a movie theater, gyms and sports centers, a mall, excellent outdoor activity possibilities and much more! There is also a student organization called HAVO, which organizes different events such as parties, barbeque gatherings, movie nights in school or in Valkeakoski’s cinema, visiting sauna which for some of students will be a new and great experience, swimming in the frozen lake and lots of other activities.
Check out the city’s webpage here.
Will I get help for example in opening a bank account or getting an apartment?
Tutors, student affairs and teachers will help you in whatever issue you have. Just ask bravely!
Is the campus nice in Valkeakoski?
Valkeakoski campus is small, but nice and cozy. There are places for students to hang out in the lobby and there is a sauna and hot tub on the roof, which can be used in some occasions and gatherings. Classes and halls have power sockets and they are spacious and nice. It has a nice cafeteria and library, and everything can be found easily. The most important thing is the cozy and friendly international atmosphere in the campus.
Is it possible to find a job in Finland as a foreigner?
It is possible to find a job as a foreigner as here English language is spoken by everybody from kids to the older generations. And it’s all up to student’s skills that how it will find the way to get the job, but it is not impossible. Many foreign students find work.
Here you can watch videos in which International Business alumni (HAMK graduates) share their stories.
Here you can read the story of Jinchao, who has been working in Finland since he graduated from HAMK.
Here you can read the story of Festa, who worked persistently to find a job in Finland.
Here you will find out how Andrei managed to work and study in Finland at the same time.