More Than the Degree

Taking People Management and Organisational Development Programme

Hey there, my name is Areeb and I am a second-year master's student studying People Management and Organisational Development Programme. The start of my Aalto University journey started in 2019 when I got admitted into the Mikkeli Campus to study International Business and Administration.

The reputation and brand of Aalto University attracted me towards studying the programme, where I got in second time after failing in my first year to get in. There's always a second chance. From my tech-driven aspirations as I was studying Materials Engineering during prior university escapades, I realised my passion lies somewhere else and hence I applied to Aalto. My three year stint in Mikkeli got me several friends, professor connections and an interest in people-related activities. I wanted to pursue marketing initially as a career path, but HR had decided it's fate for me.

Why People Management at Aalto University?

The Business School here in Otaniemi is amazing. I chose this degree programme since my main interests lied in HR and I was already working in the HR field doing career coaching and recruitment. I wanted to use my practical experience to gain more knowledge from guest lecturers and bring it back to my workplace. My aspiration is that the programme will give me a good baseline of getting into companies with a broad network, and have a solid educational foundation for my career.

Most Interesting Course

While several courses include learning diaries, or analytical assignments, my most thrilling course was Managing Organisational Change and Behaviour, which was taught by former dean, Bjorn. I have done lots of analyses using SPSS in some courses, while in others making creative videos about diversity and managing behaviour. All very interesting. In one of our courses, we played a Mount Everest Simulation with our team while competing with other teams. This was a really fun exercise. An overview can be found from here.

Most Unique Aalto Experience

There's been a few. Let's face it. I will go back to my Mikkeli times where lectures are taught in 3 week modules and course attendance is mandatory. You can only have 4 total absences. Soooo, on the final day having used all absences, I was in Helsinki going to take the train back. However, this was my first time returning on a Friday, and I did not know that the train would run at 08:20 AM making me very late to the final day (also the exam!). So, I took a train to Lahti and from there took a taxi to Mikkeli. Oh yes! The bill was quite expensive.

Not the best experience but wildly unique.

Teaching goes both ways

Studying at Aalto University in Finland, has been an eye-opener for me when it comes to the wonderfully equal and supportive relationship between students and professors. I really enjoyed our professors especially in Mikkeli. What really struck me throughout my educational journey here is how the university puts students right at the heart of their academic experience.

The professors and faculty members at Aalto aren't just experts in their fields; they are incredibly approachable mentors who actively encourage open conversations and genuinely connect with students on a personal level. This creates a warm and collaborative atmosphere where mutual respect reigns supreme.

The sense of inclusivity and support within the university is truly heartwarming. This inclusive environment not only makes you feel like you belong but also inspires you to be more creative and think independently. It's like a breath of fresh air to be part of a community that values diversity and empowers you to explore your full potential. At the end of the course we have feedback to input to the teacher which essentially affects their performance.

Furthermore, Aalto University has taken proactive steps to address the challenges that international and local students might encounter during their academic journey. They have set up sustainable and thoughtful support systems that aim to help students uncover their academic passions and find their place in society. This comprehensive approach to education goes beyond just teaching; it's about nurturing well-rounded individuals who are not only knowledgeable but also equipped to make meaningful contributions to their fields and society as a whole.

In summary, Aalto University's student-centric approach and dedication to inclusivity create a truly exceptional learning environment that not only imparts knowledge but also instills values of cooperation, creativity, and independence. It stands as a testament to the university's unwavering commitment to providing an outstanding education and ensuring that students have the guidance and support they need to flourish in both their academic pursuits and their broader roles in society.

Highlights of Aalto Studies

  • Completing my bachelor's under 3 years
  • Going to Nottingham Trent for exchange
  • Landing an internship, and job immediately after the Mikkeli programme

Future Plans

My current plan is to gain at least 5+ years of working experience while finishing my master's degree. Then I have to reflect if I want to pursue a PhD in Management or continue working in the HR domain, or move to consulting. There's a few things on my mind.

Tips for Incoming Students

To fellow students embarking on this journey, either going to Mikkeli, or coming to Aalto Otaniemi I would offer these tips:

  1. Focus on your academic writing, it will take you far in your studies and even work life.
  2. Explore several subjects, but have a specialty in mind you want to choose.
  3. Network the hell out in your final year, and try to land an internship or a part-time gig.
  4. Work on some real-life projects, this is hard in the HR field, but be creative you can do Podcasts, Company Research. etc.
  5. Try to learn AI, automation and work with Big Data to get an edge in HR field.

- Areeb

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