I first walked through the doors of TSE in late August, 2011. Being accepted into the Global Innovation Management master’s programme felt like winning the lottery (or at least I assume so – I’ll let you know when I win the lottery). I was super nervous, starting a new school. Thank goodness I already had someone to sit next to in orientation! That was a major consolation not only on those first days but also throughout my studies. The people are without a doubt the best thing about studying international business at TSE.

The GIM-programme, belonging to the international business discipline, is unlike any other educational environment. Through conversations and even some lively debates a more meaningful learning experience is created. Yes, it still has a lot to do with books, but what you make of those books need not be boring. Finally grasping the full power of the case study, or finally seeing how this theory clicks with that theory, is a real high. This is made possible by a faculty that treats students like equals, that encourages knowledge and ability creation rather than learning books by heart, that is always open to ideas, and that never once got tired of explaining the same thing twice (or thrice).

Students – as well as teachers – in the GIM programme come from all over the world. This is a real chance of “internationalisation at home”. Creating an understanding of the multicultural world and developing working skills to cope with difficult situations is a concrete and significant benefit of the programme. This is an experience one is truly thankful for. Through such an environment, one begins to understand not only the world but oneself better. It is gruesome, time-consuming, and difficult, but absolutely worth it. It might even get you that dream job in the end.

I finished my GIM-studies in early 2014 and stayed on as a research assistant at the department of marketing and international business. There I got to know the other side of things; how committed the IB faculty is to their work, and how much more they actually have to offer than I had ever realised during courses. I applied for a doctoral candidate position and was accepted. I started in early 2015 and hope to defend my thesis by the end of 2018. After that – who knows? All I can say for certain is that I have never once regretted coming here. This is where dreams are built.

Riikka Harikkala-Laihinen
Doctoral Candidate