BBS Marketing student at the School of Business, Robyn Kelly, recently travelled to Helsinki to represent Maynooth University (and Ireland!) as one of only 25 students worldwide to win a place on the prestigious International Helsinki Days (IHD) programme at the Hanken School of Economics. Robyn has kindly shared some details from her trip to Helsinki. She explains that the main objective of the Seminar was to gather together students who study (or have studied) a Business related degree and use their theoretical knowledge, their cultures and their experiences to engage with Finnish companies and students to learn about key Nordic values: sustainability, cleanness and preservability.
Information on this International Seminar, which this year has the theme of sustainability, can be found at http://www.internationalhelsinkidays.com/.
Continue reading for Robyn’s first-hand account of her experiences at the Seminar.
“On February 4 2018, I travelled to Helsinki to participate in the 31st IHD Seminar held at The Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland. We were immediately engrossed in the Finnish lifestyle (and the cold weather!). Successful Finnish companies such as Stora Enso, DevCo and Kyrö Distillery visited the University throughout the week to talk all things business. These talks included the formation of their respective businesses, strategy, innovation and we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to talk to the guest speakers afterwards.
In particular, Stora Enso provided us with information on how they adapted their strategy in 2006 due to radical market changes and they provided us with a case study on retail digitalisation for which we were required to provide them with a solution. Split into teams, we worked on innovating a potential service which could be feasible in today’s renewable material market. Among my team, the members were from Germany, Hong Kong, South Korea and Turkey. This alone was an experience, for working with a group with such varied cultures allowed me to develop great communication skills.
On Thursday, we visited the Stora Enso Innovation Centre in Helsinki. I was lucky enough to present our retail digitalisation solution to Stora Enso, to an audience of 40 people. This was an amazing opportunity which I hope will stand to me in the future. That evening, we hosted an International food fair for the IHD Team. Each student had a stand at which to display our own culture through food; I also left MU brochures and merchandise (after all, I am a marketing student!).
Every evening, the IHD team provided us with entertainment. We were introduced to the Finnish tradition of a ‘Sitz’, whereby songs are sung throughout a three-course meal and songbooks are provided. On the last night, we attended a Valentine’s Ball, and this was open to all of Hankens’ University students.
Now, I come home much more educated in every sense. I also come home with many connections around the world and as a business student, I know the importance of these! This is a programme I would highly recommend to any Maynooth University student who is willing to apply.”