k90613 Travel Report Copenhagen Business School

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1 k90613 Travel Report Copenhagen Business School Fall 2014

2 Table of Contents 1. Preparing for the exchange Exchange studies Courses Exams Free time and other information Accommodation Transportation Books and printing Free time Local area, weather, cultural differences Food Final Comments Preparing for the exchange I did my exchange in Copenhagen Business School (CBS) on the autumn semester I got the first from the host university at 24 th of April which I thought was pretty late. The registration at CBS was done in early May and the registration was done in an online flow. When registering online I had to upload my CV, scan of my passport and my transcript of records. Also, in order to prepare for the registration, I had to browse the course lists and select my courses. The registration took place between May 1 st and May 13th. The deadline for signing up for courses was also May 13 th, but it was also possible to change the courses later on the course add/drop round early August. There was also a third add/drop round around the beginning of the semester but I did not need to change my courses then anymore. Before May 1 st, I got an information package which was sent to the university coordinator at the International office of Aalto. At 9 th of July, I got to know who my CBS buddy was and I got his contact information. Shortly after, my buddy contacted me, and we planned my arrival to Copenhagen. I traveled to Copenhagen by airplane and it took only about an hour and a half. From the airport I took a metro straight to Flintholm metro station which was next to my apartment. The trip was really easy and I met my buddy in Flintholm metro station and he took me to my dorm. He also had my keys to the dorm, some information papers from the school (Welcome Folder), and also a map of Copenhagen which turned out to be very useful during my exchange. There was an introduction week at the university between August 25 th and 29 th. The introduction program included a lot of general information about studying at CBS, courses and exams, housing through CBS and also about Danish culture and practical information. There was also a campus tour which I thought was unnecessary because I was already familiar with the buildings at that point. At the beginning of the exchange I had to register for a CPR number which is similar as our social security number in Finland. At a certain day, there were officials from the State Administration in

3 Copenhagen present at the International Office of CBS and they gave me my CPR number. I recommend to use this opportunity to acquire the CPR number since it had been made very simple for us. After this, I got a card called Yellow Card through mail. It is needed if you go to the doctor, dentist, bank, public library, municipality etc. in Copenhagen, but it is useful also in other situations. For example, when I got a package in mail, I used my Yellow Card to get the package from a package machine. Before leaving Denmark you will need to cancel your residence registration in Denmark by filling out a form. 2. Exchange studies The orientation week started at August 25 th and the actual fall term started a week later. I recommend to be present when the orientation week starts. There were no clear study periods as we have in Aalto, but the courses were of different lengths. Also, when the fall term started, the exam dates of December were not known. It was a bit strange since I was not able to make plans for December. The advisors told us that the last exams can be as late as 23 th of December. I booked my flight quite early and I decided to leave at 23 rd of December. Much later I found out that my last exam would be on 19 th of December. 2.1 Courses I think that generally, there were enough courses offered and I had no trouble to find courses that interested me. It was possible to take courses in all of CBS s majors and on both undergraduate and graduate levels, but the course selection was assigned separately for exchange students. I do not know how it differed from the course selection of regular CBS students. I did not study in any particular program. The courses could be selected very freely and it was not compulsory to follow a certain program. Also Aalto is very permissive on which courses you can take. For example, I was able to take one bachelor course even though I was doing my master s degree. The courses are offered in English and in Danish, but you cannot take Danish courses unless you know Danish. After signing up to the courses you can see your timetable in the CBS calendar website. The calendar is really handy, because it makes a timetable ready for you and you can keep an eye out for clashing schedules. The calendar is continuously updated with time and room if there will be any changes. However, I got an from the teacher if some lesson was cancelled or moved. CBS had a website called CBS Learn which was similar as our Noppa. The only difference is that on Learn you can see only the courses you have enrolled in. The teachers uploaded all the course material into Learn and there were sometimes also some messages from the teachers. The lectures at CBS take 45 minutes with 10-minute break between each lecture. All of my lectures were lectured three lectures at once which I thought was a little bit too much for one day. At the end of a lecture day it was sometimes hard to concentrate. Most courses at CBS are 7.5 ECTS. I was doing my master s exchange so I had to do only 24 ECTS, but if I had taken only three courses it would have been too little, so I had to take four courses and

4 so I did 30 ECTS. I think the courses required a little bit more work than in Aalto so maybe 7.5 ECTS was a correct amount of ECTS credits. 2.2 Exams There was no separate registration for exams, but I advise to check from Online Student Service that your exam registration is approved. For one exam my registration was for some reason discarded, and I noticed this only one evening before the exam. I sent an to the course secretary who happened to be absent, and I had to contact her substitute. Luckily, I got to do the exam after all even though my name was not on the list that the exam invigilators had. Later, I did not get the results of this exam and I have to ask for it, and I guess this was due to the failed exam registration. A new thing to me was oral exams that are really common in Denmark and the students practice them already when they start to go to school as children. We were given some general advice about oral exams on the introduction week and some more detailed advice during the courses. The idea in oral exams is that, when entering the exam, you pick up one question and then you have 20 minutes to prepare your answer. In my exams, I got to use all the course material when preparing my answer. When facing the examiners, you can have one paper with notes that you have written during the preparation. I think oral exams were a good and efficient way to test if a student knows the subject. The question that a student gets in the oral exam is only a start for a discussion and the teacher can ask you a lot more than what the original question was. A bad side of an oral exam is that there is only one question, and if you do not know how to answer to that particular question, the exam is over for you. There was also another new way for me to do exams, namely computer exams. I had two openbook exams which meant that you can have all the course material with you when answering to the exam questions. The answers were written on a computer and then printed out or uploaded on Learn pages. It is good to know that you have to download all the material you want to use on a memory stick or have it on paper since there is no access on the internet. If you bring notes on a USB stick, then you have to upload the notes onto your CBS PC, and eject the USB stick, before the exam starts. The exam type was very easy for a student because it is rather simple to find the answers from the course material. It is also good to notice that there is no possibility for a retake unless you fail the exam or you have a medical certificate that you have been ill. You also have to remember to sign up for retakes. KAN-CCMVV1676U Sustainable Management Accounting and Finance (7.5 ECTS, graduate): This course aimed to provide an appreciation of the broader context of corporate performance, disclosure and finance in the context of sustainability and social justice. At the end of the course, students were expected to have both a sound theoretical understanding and a practical grasp of sustainability in relation to the fields of accounting, management accounting and finance. The focus of this course was on the role of entities (governments, non-government organizations, firms and individuals) and their accountability, accounting and reporting issues in the context of sustainable development. Corporate social and environmental accountability, accounting and reporting is concerned with measuring, managing and communicating the social and

5 environmental effects of a corporation's economic actions to particular stakeholders and to society at large. The course was lectured by an Italian Assistant Professor Cristiana Parisi. She had a quite strong Italian accent and it was sometimes hard to understand her speech. The course also had visitor lecturers. For me, it was hard to get the big picture of this course and the issues that we dealt seemed somehow detached. I expected more from this course and I was waiting to understand specifically how sustainability can be related to accounting and finance. I have to say that I did not learn much during this course. For every lecture you was supposed to read the pre-readings and there was also a lot of group works and presentations during the lectures. A good thing was that you did not have to do group work on your free time. The grade was based wholly on the exam which was on open-book computer exam. KAN-CASCO1002U Cost and Management Accounting (7.5 ECTS, graduate): The purpose of the course was to offer the students the opportunity to develop a fundamental knowledge of financial management of a company. The focus was on how to design, implement and use different conventional as well as modern management accounting models and techniques for analysis, decision making and control purposes. Financial and non-financial data is a very important basis for evaluation of profits of different segments as well as evaluating and managing the efficiency of departments, people and processes in the organization. But it is also important as a basis for pricing decisions and planning purposes. The course put focus on how to capture financial and non-financial data as well as organize and use them for decision making and control. The course was lectured by Carsten Rohde and Jytte Grambo Larsen. They were both Danish but they spoke quite good English. This course started a little bit similar as our management and cost accounting courses in Aalto at bachelor level, but soon it got more demanding and it dealt with issues that I was not so familiar beforehand. For this course you have to get the course book because if you only join the lectures, it is not enough and the lecture slides are not informative. I also recommend to do the homework, it was usually some calculations that were included in the text book. There were also articles to read. I liked this course but it was a kind of basic course of management and cost accounting issues. The grade was based on the exam which was an oral exam. The exam questions were distributed about one week before the exam so you had time to prepare yourself. KAN-CASCO1003U Accounting and Control (7.5 ECTS, graduate): The objective of the course was to provide the students with an opportunity to learn to apply qualifications (knowledge and skills) in agency and behavioral theory to control problems in firms. Accounting is used as an important tool to influence decision making in firms. Accounting carries information of costs and benefits to decentralized decision makers, and thereby provides them with information which ideally helps them make decisions that are aligned with the firm s interest. This course was the sequel for Cost and Management Accounting. The course was lectured by Ivar Friis who is Danish, but speaks quite good English with a Danish accent. There were not that much calculations, but more reflection on how to solve a certain management problem and you also had to think about how the employees behave in certain situations in a company. I recommend to read the course book even though the lecture slides are informative if you have joined the lectures. But it is also possible to pass the exam without studying the text book. The course also contained

6 some homework, articles, and Harvard Business School cases that you was supposed to buy. I think the lecturer was very easy to follow and he also had experience from the business world. The grade was based on the exam which was an oral exam and the questions were not distributed beforehand. BA-BHAAV6020U EU, the Internal Market and Business Strategy (7.5 ECTS, bachelor): This course was a bachelor level course but I took it because I have not really studied anything relating to EU before. The aim of the course was to present an overview of the EU decision making system as well as the most business-relevant EU policies. It was the ambition of the course that students will have the necessary understanding to be better able to develop the strategic potentials of their companies when operating in the European market. The course comprised presentations about the EU institutions, the Single Market, the Euro, competition policy, labor market and industrial policy, external trade policy, and more. The course was lectured by Janine Leschke from the Department of Business and Politics. Leschke is German but her English is very good. The course material was a compendium which was a collection of book chapters compiled by the teacher and you could buy it from the CBS book shop. There were also a lot of guest lecturers and students were presenting company cases and other cases relating to EU rules and regulations. The group presentation was mandatory but it was not graded. The exam was a computer exam and you could have all the course material with you. I did not study that much for this exam but it was still easy to answer to the exam questions. 3. Free time and other information 3.1 Accommodation It is expensive to live in Copenhagen. Especially the rents are high and it can be difficult to find an apartment. You will have the opportunity to apply for a room in one of CBS s student dorms. The procedure for applying for a room is a separate procedure from the CBS registration and you will be informed about it by CBS s housing department. The housing application process normally takes place after the online course registration, and then you have to be alert if you want to get a room in CBS s student dorms. You have to apply for the apartment as soon as you get a link to your CBS because all of the apartments are booked immediately. For me the important date was 22 nd of May. The CBS housing department has access to eight student residences or dorms. You can apply for these using the CBS Housing on-line application process. I got a studio in a dorm called Kathrine Kollegiet. The residence hall Kathrine Kollegiet is situated in Frederiksberg, a residential area of Copenhagen. Frederiksberg is a nice area and offers a variety of parks, cafés and shops. Kathrine Kollegiet was about 1.5 kilometers from the main building of CBS and it took me about half an hour to walk there. I think most of the lectures are in the main building called Solbjerg Plads, in Kilen which is situated next to the main building, or in Dalgas Have which is a little bit closer to Kathrine Kollegiet. There was also one smaller CBS building right next to my dorm and I had some of the lectures there. Kathrine Kollegiet is located close to Flintholm Metro Station, which takes you to the city center in approximately 10 minutes.

7 Even though the apartment was really easy to acquire through CBS s housing department, it was not a cheap option. Before my exchange I thought that Helsinki was an expensive place to live, but it is nothing compared to Copenhagen. My rent was 5574 DKK per month plus there was a service fee total of 1389 DKK that was mandatory to pay if you wanted to rent the apartment. Also the rent contract was not negotiable by any part. The rent period was fixed: from August 15 th to the end of the year. My room was about 15 square meters and it had a kitchenette and a bathroom, so basically everything I needed. Internet connection was included in the rent and there was also a cable ready in my room. There were laundry facilities, washing machines and dryers, in the building. The problem of the dorm was that there was no soundproofing and I could hear everything that happened in the apartment next door. I was a bit unlucky since I had really loud neighbors and they basically ruined my exchange experience. They had often parties in their room since their room was for two people and therefore it was bigger and suitable to invite people over. I complained about my neighbors to the housing department of CBS several times and at first they were helpful and gave notices to my neighbors. In the end, they could not really help me since the neighbors did not care about the notices so I had to tolerate them until the last day of my exchange. One thing that is good to know when living in Copenhagen, is that the tap water has a lot of lime scale in it. It is important not to leave water standing for example on the sink, since it is hard to remove the lime scale afterwards. It needs some special detergents to remove it. Also, my toilet was blocked because of the lime scale, and I had to call the janitor for help. The CBS accommodation was good in that sense you always got help if you needed it. For example, in the beginning of my exchange, I noticed that my pots did not have lids. I pointed this out, and got two new pots immediately. I was also very pleased with the help with the toilet which stopped working two times and was repaired fast. My Finnish friend rented an apartment from the private market with another Finnish girl and their rent was much more affordable than in the CBS s dorms, so private housing is also an option to be considered. Of course it takes much more time and effort to search for an apartment that way and maybe also some other arrangements are needed (electricity contract, internet etc.). 3.2 Transportation I did not use the metro or the bus that much because there were no student discounts on public transportation. Although, when I went to the city center I had to take a metro or a bus since walking there would have taken too much time. It was the cheapest to buy a 10 trip ticket which was valid in all the public transportation. However, the 10 trip ticket has been removed from the transportation system since then. Copenhagen also has a travel card, which was a little bit similar as in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, but it was a cheaper option only if you used public transportation a lot. I did not buy a bike so walking was the easiest way to go to the university and other places near my dorm. Many students bought a bike and it is really common to use a bike in Copenhagen. On

8 the other hand, I noticed that some students had some troubles to get their bike sold after the exchange was over. 3.3 Books and printing I found it difficult to get the course books. I have used to borrow the course books from the library in Finland, but in Copenhagen it was impossible. There were maybe three copies of a course book in the CBS library when there were about 100 students on the course. In Aalto I have also managed to do courses without the course book, but at CBS the course book played a key role at least in two of my courses. I ended up to buy the course books. All the course books were sold in the CBS book shop but I found them cheaper in a net book shop called Saxo. I also recommend to search for used books, but then you have to be on time in your search. It is good to know that printing has toll at CBS and I think it is not cheap. Also, you cannot print from a school computer but only from your own computer which was a little bit strange. I printed as much I could when I was visiting Finland during my exchange. 3.4 Free time There was an Exchange Social Program organized by CBS s Exchange Social Program Coordinators and I was informed about it already before my exchange started. The program consisted of three elements: The Crash Course Week Social Package, the Introduction Week Social Package and the Tours: the Berlin Trip and the Tour of Denmark. Each element of the ESP was exclusively sold through the CBS Web shop where they were available for sale from the 1 st of August. The idea of the program was to provide social and cultural introduction weeks for exchange students. From these I bought the Introduction Week Social Package and the Tour of Denmark. I also bought a ticket to the Berlin Trip, but then I sold it later since the long bus trip to Berlin did not lure me. I recommend to be fast if you want to buy tickets for the Tours; they were sold immediately. Introduction Week Social Package (August 25 August 30): I highly recommend to join the introduction week evening activities this package provides. The Introduction Week Social Package was the evening activity program in week 35 and it was the social supplement to the mandatory daytime activities. This package included events such as Meet N Mingle, Danish Folk Dancing, Canal Tour, Lake Party, Movie Night and Welcome Dinner. Especially the Danish Folk Dancing was fun. The price for the Introduction Week Social Package was 550 DKK. Tour of Denmark (September 19 September 21): I also recommend the tour of Denmark which was an easy way to see other cities than Copenhagen. Denmark has a lot more to offer than just Copenhagen, and this tour is designed to show you exactly what is meant by this. On the Tour of Denmark the crew took us to the most important highlights of Denmark: Odense, Aarhus, Aalborg and Skagen. The tour included a visit to Grenen, the northernmost point of Denmark, where the North Sea and the Baltic Sea meet. The place was really beautiful and unforgettable. We also visited Legoland which was fun. The price for the Tour of Denmark was DKK.

9 3.5 Local area, weather, cultural differences I lived in Frederiksberg which is a town (the Frederiksberg Municipality) in Denmark's Capital City Region. Also the CBS buildings are situated in Frederiksberg. It is surrounded by but separate from the city of Copenhagen. It occupies an area of less than 9 km² and had a population of 103,192 in There is no visible border between Frederiksberg and the other districts of Copenhagen, and the town is informally considered to be a part of Copenhagen. For instance, the Copenhagen Zoo as well as several stations of the Copenhagen Metro (the stations Forum, Frederiksberg, Fasanvej, Lindevang, and Flintholm) are located in Frederiksberg. The Copenhagen S-train system also has several stations in Frederiksberg, including Peter Bangs Vej station and Flintholm station. The weather in Copenhagen is really windy and it rains often. There were really warm days at the beginning of my exchange though. The temperature during the fall was quite the same as in Helsinki but when I went home on 23 rd of December, it was +10 degree Celsius in Copenhagen, but -10 degree Celsius in Helsinki, so then the difference was noticeable. The culture of Denmark is similar as in Finland. However, I noticed one big difference during the lectures. When the lecturer asked a question, there were usually several hands up and students were eager to answer. I had never seen this kind of enthusiasm in Aalto University. I saw a lot of discussions and active participation from students at CBS. When spoken, the Danish language is really difficult to understand even though as written it is almost understandable if you know Swedish. There would have been a Danish crash course before the introduction week but I was not able to participate in it since I had work in Finland at that time. It was also possible to study Danish at CBS and I understood that there were also other free courses for foreigners in Copenhagen. I did not have the time to study Danish even though it would have been interesting. During the Information Meeting in the introduction week the housing department will ask you to pay the Media License required by Danish law. My buddy advised me not to pay it and I do not know anybody who would have paid it. 3.6 Food The food is quite expensive in Denmark. However, if you buy food from the shops, the price can vary a lot. I used cheaper shops which were the German shop Lidl and Danish Netto which I really liked. The selection in Netto was good even though it was cheap. There were also a few nice restaurants in the city center but the price range was wide. The exchange crew gave us a few tips in every price category, but I also suggest to search for the restaurants on the internet. At the university there are cafes where you can buy food but they do not have any student discounts. I guess the prices are a bit affordable than in usual cafes, but still quite expensive if you have used to Finnish university meals. In those cafes, there were salad bars which I really liked and often bought a lunch salad.

10 4. Final Comments I would recommend CBS to other students. I think the teaching was of high quality. I think CBS has the same problem as we have in Aalto: the group sizes are too big. Especially the two accounting courses that I had, were implemented through mass lectures and this makes the relation between the lecturer and a student were distant. On the other hand, there was a lot of conversation during the lectures and the students were very actively involved. However, the active students usually were the same in every lecture. If I was going to the same university for another exchange, I would try to get to know other students more. Partly because of my personality and partly because of the atmosphere at CBS, it was difficult for me to find friends. I was a bit lonely during my exchange. However, the courses that I took were quite challenging for me so I did not have lack of activity since I was studying a lot. It would have been nice to see more other parts of Denmark besides Copenhagen and maybe visit Malmö in Sweden since it was very near to Copenhagen. During my exchange, I think I learned a lot about myself and how to live in a foreign country. Though the things that I learned about myself during the exchange are quite hard to put into words. I think I learned how to be by myself and how I like to organize my living and studying. I also learned effective ways to study and also something new about group work. Mostly, the exchange and living abroad strengthened my self-confidence and my belief that I can handle challenging situations and solve problems. I have to admit that there were times when I was not that happy, but I am still pleased that I left abroad. I recommend exchange studies to everybody.

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