Rachel - Aalto University Digital Business Master Class

M Business Administration
Winter 2023
I loved the balance of being able to do study and also see the country.


Who doesn't want an excuse for an overseas trip? Tying in study with a Scandinavian holiday was amazing - despite how expensive that part of the world is. But ultimately, it was about experiencing learning in another environment, from another institution and absorbing what people from all around the world had to offer. To be able to work with an organisation I would never get to do in Australia, and see what the rest of the world is thinking (i.e., getting out of our own bubble). Everyone I had spoken to had recommended doing at least one unit overseas and that helped me want to do it.

Personal Development

I learnt how to give a little more space to others for their opinions, especially trying to prompt people that may not have said much in the group setting. I also realised what awesome team I have back home, so need to celebrate that more. But mainly, I gained some really good knowledge of different cultures and connections from across the world. It was amazing to learn from not just the Finnish lecturers but my fellow classmates also.

Academic Development

I enjoyed having a different lecturer each day, most of which came from industry and were not full-time academics - this made such a difference (learning from full time academics is not always the most beneficial for MBA students). To be honest, it was a nice easy course as it is designed to ensure students get value from learning but also get to experience Finland. It is also did not appear to be targeted purely at MBA students so was not as intense as back home, therefore a nice workload compared to some UQ MBA units (which could also be influenced by the fact that I wasn't working fulltime around the studies in Finland compared to back home). The challenge was the group work which reflected my work life and therefore it was difficult for me to take off my consulting hat and put on my student hat. I really had to pull back to ensure everyone had input and I didn't just drive the project work around how we would normally do things at work.

Professional Development

I learnt that I am bloody good at my job and that I am surrounded by an amazing team. I also learnt that I cannot hide from technology and need to embrace it, learn it and dive into it to build up my skills - AI, ML and other tech are not going away.


For Finland, budget for A LOT. I am lucky to be in a position at work where I did not have to worry too much, however I did still take out a loan to cover it all and the grant I received was absolutely crucial to improving my experience. Flights were expensive, food is ridiculous and therefore I did a few noodle cups, student canteen, etc. Accommodation I ended up using my Qantas points for a hotel close to the uni so I saved money on public transport (which, if not planned could cost between $7-$20 a day). I would recommend that students for Scandinavia double what they think things will cost and budget for that.


The funding I received from the uni was crucial to being able to really dive into the local experience. I was able to use it to do day trips outside of Helsinki, getting to see more of Finland while I was there. It meant I could try the different on campus cuisines and also have a decent coffee each day (which are few and far between in a lot of Scandinavian countries). It just provided me a little less personal financial pressure and ensure I didn't have to think about what I did, I just got to enjoy the whole experience.


I listened to the pre-departure webinar and reached out to the lady who went to Finland last time for advice. But in the end it is always a personal preference. Some people had an Airbnb in Helsinki which they loved and didn't mind travelling to uni everyday. I liked being closer to the uni (as I like to sleep in) and therefore probably spent my transport savings on food. My hotel was great, and I was happy with my choice as I didn't want to share but there were enough people in the hotel that we could still meet up to do things. I did a lot of research online through hotels, Airbnb etc and I would recommend future students do the same.


It is hard to pinpoint one thing. I loved being able to just study and not worry about work. I loved the balance of being able to do study and also see the country. It was amazing to interact with people from so many places around the world, and learn how they do things. It was great to see how other unis do things, learn from industry leaders in Finland and also work with a Finnish company. The whole experience was a highlight.

Advice/Top Tips

I was almost not going to do this as I really wanted to go to Harvard but they weren't offering the course I needed to do. My workmates said I was crazy not to go somewhere I had been before and so I applied last minute. I am so glad that I listened as it was one of the best experiences I could ask for - plus a wonderful excuse to tack on an overseas holiday around it (which if you are going to do, pay attention to the work required outside of in-person hours as others had planned trips when other work was done and they didn't get to enjoy their holiday as much).So ultimately, do it and dive in (especially to somewhere that you might not normally go). You will never get a similar opportunity to do this and I would highly recommend the short-term version so that you can also build in-country experiences into your learning. Don't shy away from interacting with others on the course, do things with them outside the formal learning but also learn from them and what they bring. I wish I had considered this early and potentially done another one.