From Saunas to Marketing Strategies: My MBA Summer School Story

Studying at LUT as part of UC Davis International Exchange Program

When I think about my summer school adventure, I can't help but recall Taylor Swift's hauntingly beautiful lyrics from the summer song 'august': 'Salt air, and the rust on your door.'

Swift’s lines perfectly capture my three-week summer program at the LUT University in Finland. It was a season filled with the tang of salt in the air, the rustling of new friendships and the magic of Finnish nights that seemed to stretch on forever.

As part of the Graduate School of Management’s International Exchange Program, I ventured to LUT and took classes focused on marketing, globalizing business, and entrepreneurship. 

Prachi Mishra giving a presentation in a classroom
Prachi Mishra leads a presentation with other international students about a marketing campaign for portable Finnish saunas.

Learning the Art of Marketing High-Tech Global Products

The marketing course took a deep dive into the fast-paced world of marketing high-tech like Zoom and even flying taxis, where uncertainty is the only constant. The sessions were highly engaging, with students from all over the world sharing their experiences. Listening and gaining insights into marketing within diverse cultural contexts was genuinely thrilling.

One of the most significant takeaways from my time at LUT was the invaluable knowledge I gained in marketing high-technology global products.

I also enjoyed the interactive learning sessions where we had to create a new product and develop a marketing campaign for it. These ranged from a ‘squishy clean’ ad campaign for Scrub Daddy to an ‘Is it cake?’ campaign for Audi.

Saunas, Lakes, Karaoke, and Rye Bread

screenshot of a Instagram reel made by Prachi Mishra
Prachi Mishra shared her Finnish adventures in real-time on the UC Davis MBA Instagram

We had a fun summer session learning about Finnish culture, recreation and other unique experiences.

LUT University is nestled right next to the picturesque shores of Lake Saimaa—the largest lake in Finland and one of the largest in Europe. My most cherished moments were enjoying a brief respite by the lakeside during breaks in my classes, as well as kayaking and other exciting adventure activities.

Finnish sauna sessions were a revelation. You sit in the sauna, get all toasty, and then you can go for a refreshing dip in the lake. It's like a dreamy experience that leaves you feeling refreshed and a part of nature. LUT University owns a sauna by Lake Saimaa that is available to students and offers free attendance twice a week, allowing international students to enjoy this fantastic Finnish tradition without breaking the bank.

In addition to saunas, the people of Finland also love karaoke. To conclude our summer school program, our coordinator treated us to a cruise on Lake Saimaa, where we enjoyed an entire night of karaoke.

A Global Network of Friends

Another beautiful aspect of my summer school adventure was the incredible cultural exchange with students from all over the world. I made friends from different corners of the globe, each with bringing their stories and perspectives. We organized a potluck party at LUT campus and bonded over good food. I have connected with all my summer school friends on Instagram and we already have a fun meetup planned in the future.

Exploring Europe

My friends and I saw the chance to explore Europe before our summer school program kicked off, with two of them having just graduated and me nearing the completion of my MBA.

 Prachi Mishra in Paris
Prachi Mishra traveled to Paris with fellow UC Davis students to celebrate recent graduations.

From the stunning architecture of Paris to the lively canals of Amsterdam and the historical allure of Helsinki, our trip was a whirlwind of new adventures and unforgettable moments.

Embarking on our European journey, beginning in Paris, France, felt like the perfect way to cap off our MBA journey. We ventured through six countries, including France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and Italy.

I am immensely grateful for every moment, every lesson and every connection made during this summer school program at LUT. The memories I've forged and the friendships I've nurtured will stay with me forever. It was more than just an educational journey. It was a life-altering experience that has left an indelible mark on my heart.

My Top 3 Travel Tips

If you're contemplating joining the LUT summer school program, it's essential to keep the following factors in mind:

  • Midnight Sun Preparation: Midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle when the sun remains visible longer. Since the LUT program occurs during this period, bring blackout curtains and eye masks if you prefer sleeping in darkness.
  • Transportation Costs: The campus is a bit far from the city center. Plan for transportation expenses, with an estimated $500 for commuting and meals during your stay.
  • Accommodation Essentials: Apartments on campus cost around $250 with an extra $100 for cleaning fees. They are unfurnished, so bring your own bedding, utensils and a wireless router for your stay.

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