Breaking out of the pandemic to study abroad
Have you ever wanted an opportunity to study abroad alongside international students under the endless summer daylight, surrounded by a beautiful forest covering the largest lake in Finland?
LUT University's summer school partnership with the UC Davis Graduate School of Management was a once-in-a-lifetime experience as a bonus while pursuing my UC Davis MBA.
After two years of remote learning due to the pandemic, I was ready for a breakout MBA experience that could deliver lasting memories. That door opened when I was selected as one of six UC Davis MBA students to attend LUT University's summer school in Lappeenranta, Finland.
During the three-week summer program, we teamed up on class projects with students from all over the world. We also collaborated with master's students and some Ph.D. students from Finland, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, and across Europe.
Business Cases and ‘Radical Products’
LUT’s summer program is divided into three, week-long courses. I participated in the final two weeks and took courses in “Creativity and Entrepreneurship in New Product Development” and “International Marketing of High-Tech Products and Innovation.”
These short courses were intense and engaging. In addition to typical business case studies, we had the opportunity to develop wild and radical products by tapping into our creative side, such as the "veggie cars," a project in which we had to develop a race car made of vegetable and skewers to roll down a slope. It was fun and challenging, and everyone got a good laugh out of watching the entries.
The international representation in the classroom brought many perspectives during discussions, group activities, and presentations. I had experience marketing high-tech products in the U.S, but my viewpoint was different from others from Europe and Asia. Our diverse classes allowed us to hear from fellow students about their marketing experiences in their home countries.
As you can imagine, outside of class the LUT summer program also offered many opportunities to socialize and network with fellow international classmates, including several social excursions.
Exploring Nature in Finland
We had the chance to bathe in a traditional Finnish sauna, camp out at Saimaa Geopark and ride a ferry boat across Lake Saimaa, Finland's largest lake. I met and mingled with many fellow students and made new friends.
The opening welcome dinner was an incredible experience. We networked with our classmates, enjoyed dinner, and basked in the awe-inspiring views of Lake Saimaa, the forest and natural surroundings.
What stood out most was the weekend camping trip to Saimaa Geopark. We biked around the park across muddy terrains, explored Lake Kuolimo by rowing canoes, bathed in a traditional Finnish sauna, and ended the evening with a marshmallow roast while we watched the Finnish sunset around 11 p.m. Despite light rain, we all had a blast.
Thinking Globally and Expanding My Horizons
LUT summer school allowed me the chance to not only share what I have learned from the UC Davis MBA program with other students, but it also gave me the chance to learn from others from an international standpoint. This experience taught me that we can always learn much more from global business perspectives when we expand our horizons.
I would highly recommend this program to incoming MBA students and would love to do it again if given the opportunity.
This was an exciting opportunity for me, and it unquestionably enriched my MBA experience. I’ll remember it as an excellent program to cap off my MBA journey with UC Davis.