Born globals

Today, many companies go international right from the beginning. The same is true for today's students.

Marina Kovalchuk and Joonas Karvinen are future experts of international business and sales, both looking forward to fulfilling their career potential after graduating from the Master's Degree Programme in International Business and Sales Management, IBS.

"I want to be a marketing specialist, so for me, the fact that this programme also focuses on sales management is really important," Kovalchuk says.

Originally from Russia, Kovalchuk has been in Finland since 2010, first studying business at a university of applied sciences, and now in the IBS programme.

"I chose Finland because the education system is one the best in Europe, and because there are many well established innovative businesses here."

The opportunity to study sales management was also decisive factor for Karvinen. "Companies here in Finland and all over the world appreciate candidates with expertise in sales management."

Karvinen has a background in telecommunications and B2B sales, making the IBS programme a logical next step. "I did my Bachelor's degree in innovation management, but felt that the career opportunities might not be as broad as in this programme."

Professor Mika Gabrielsson, the programme director, says that close links to business and industry are essential.

"We collaborate with companies – local, national and international alike – in an attempt to create a well-functioning network between them and our students."

"This network involves companies that are local but operate globally, as well as companies that are born global. The idea is to understand each other's needs," Kovalchuk and Karvinen explain.

Launched in 2014, the IBS programme has been popular right from the start, and the trend is continuing. "Thanks to the programme being very specific, we offer our students clear career prospects. I'm glad to see that we are attracting an increasing number of applications," Gabrielsson says.

"Furthermore, the feedback from students currently on the programme has been very positive."

According to Kovalchuk and Karvinen, the human factor is very important. "We get to interact with people who have profound expertise in the fields of international business and sales, market research, stock markets, and so on."

With students hailing from all over the world, the international aspect of doing business is covered quite naturally.

"Approximately 75 per cent of our students come from abroad and, although I'm a little surprised that Finns aren't seizing this opportunity in greater numbers, I'm glad that the ratio is what it is, because now we are a truly international community, which is very beneficial," Gabrielsson says.

At UEF, studying international business and sales management is also possible at the doctoral level.

"We've developed a PhD programme our students can continue in. In fact, quite a few have expressed their interest in doctoral studies."

For Kovalchuk, that's definitely an option she's open to.

"I'm very interested in research, and I'm considering continuing towards a PhD. In any case, I feel really inspired and I'm confident that I've found a career that enables me to reach my full potential."

Text: Maj Vuorre Photo: Raija Törrönen