Exchange Report: Copenhagen Business School Fall k90307

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1 Exchange Report: Copenhagen Business School Fall 2013 k90307

2 1(8) 1 1. Preparing for the exchange 1.1 Registration and needed documents For Finnish students, there is very little to do before the actual exchange. All registration forms and applying for courses are done online and I had no need to send any papers via physical mail to CBS. For Finnish citizens there is no need apply for visa or send a certificate for English language proficiency. In the following sections I briefly summarize the most important tasks to do before the exchange in CBS Initial Registration and choosing courses For the fall 2013, we did the initial registration form for CBS in mid-may. The following documents are needed to upload to the system: CV in English, copy of passport, transcript of grades and photo. You can also apply for the buddy program which I highly recommend. In the registration application there was also the first round to choose the courses, so it s a good idea to look into those before the registration, and to check that the timetables do not overlap too much. Although there are two further possibilities to change the courses before the semester starts, the most popular courses will be full after the first round. Also it is important to note that the courses weren t allocated first come first served, so there was no need to rush. After approximately a month we received a confirmation to which courses we were assigned to Housing Application One of the biggest problems in Copenhagen is the difficult housing situation, so I can t emphasize enough the importance of this application. In the late May, couple days before the actual application was sent to an , there was news in the accommodation page of CBS that they will send the application in day x around time y to the . There is only limited amount of dorms available for exchange students, so it s very important to be ready when the application is sent. In the application we had to prioritize what dorm and size we want to apply and the dorms are allocated immediately after finishing the application, so the system is first come first served. I managed to get into dorm that I wanted, but some of my friends weren t that lucky, as the system crashed or they were a couple minutes late Second application round for courses In the beginning of August, there was second application round for courses. In the second application round we already knew the final timetables of the courses, so it was possible to check if there were some

3 2(8) overlaps. In the second round there were quite many courses that were already full and also some unpopular courses were already cancelled. 1.2 Travelling to CBS and reception Travelling between Finland and Denmark Thanks to Norwegian airlines, it is very cheap to fly to Copenhagen from Finland. If booked early, you can get a one way ticket from 29 euros (+ luggage). For comparison, that is way cheaper than a train ticket from Copenhagen to Jutland in Denmark. I benefitted these cheap airlines tickets and visited Finland during the semester break, and also had my girlfriend and friends visiting me multiple times. There is a direct metro and train service from the airport, and a metro trip from airport to the city centre is only about 20 minutes long Reception CBS has a buddy program that exchange student can sign up for, and I did. My buddy did come to the airport when I arrived to Copenhagen for the first time, and had my welcome package from CBS with him. Because I lived in CBS s dorm, he was able to get my keys before my arrival. He showed the way to my dorm and it was really helpful to ask questions and discuss with someone from CBS. I fully recommend the buddy program and I think it would be foolish to don t take a part to it. 2 Exchange studies 2.1 Starting and ending dates of the terms The fall semester started with mandatory orientation week, which took place in the last week of August. There was also a possibility to take a Danish crash course a week before, but since I chose not to study Danish, I skipped that one. The actual courses started in the first week of September and I had my last exam in mid-december. There was also a fall break week in mid-october, but some courses had teaching on that week too. 2.2 Courses in CBS CBS is a much bigger school than Aalto School of Business, and there are a lot of courses in English to choose from. Exchange students have no need to follow any certain program, and courses can be chosen freely from different programs if the prerequisites are met. There were also some minor study programs to

4 3(8) which exchange students could apply for, such as: The Copenhagen Model in Business Law and Economics and Minor in Economics, Psychology and Neuroscience. For few courses there was also a need to write a motivation letter. Most of the courses offered were 7.5 ECTS. The workload varied a lot between courses, but after discussing with my friends I felt like that the course didn t require a much more work than 6 ECTS course in Aalto Business School. There are also some differences in study culture, as there are a lot of project exams and oral exams in CBS. Moreover the grades are usually fully based on exams, and the exercises done in and out of the class d not accumulate points for the final grade KAN-CMIT_VBDA Big Data Analytics, Ravi Vatrapu, Graduate Level 7,5 ECTS This course lasted for the whole semester, there was one lecture a week and the exam type was a project with an oral exam. Due to the serious illness of the intended lecturer of this course, the first month of the course was a bit chaotic. All though the study office recommended cancelling the course, the original course coordinator made a new lesson plan and taught the course. The course was very different from anything that I have studied before and was more computer science than traditional business course. Although the topic of the course was Big Data, there was a lot of focus on Social Big Data since the lecturer was from Computational Social Science Laboratory and the Big Social data is maybe the easiest big data source to get hands on. Since the students majors varied from marketing to computer science, the lectures gave the general idea of the subjects and students could go to more detail with the literature that was given in the lesson plan. Since most of the big data datasets can t be analysed with traditional tools such as Excel, it was a great benefit with the project if students could understand a bit of programming. However this was not needed the pass the course, since the lecturer provided a dataset for the project, which could be analysed with Excel. The project exam could be done alone or in a group from 2 to 4 students. The oral exam was based on the project and the course s literature, but it was relatively easy if the project was well made, even for a first timer in oral exams. Overall the course required quite a lot of work, so if the plan is to take it easy and travel a lot during the exchange, this is not a course for you. But I enjoyed this course a lot and learned even more. I fully recommend this course, especially if you are interested in this field of science.

5 4(8) KAN-CM_F65B Financial Models in Excel (full semester version), Peter Raahauge, Graduate Level 7.5 ECTS This course lasted for the whole semester, and was based on internet lectures, voluntary exercises and the final open book exam made with Excel. This course was the only one that related to my home university s major, and I chose it because we didn t have similar in Aalto. Since the course was implemented with e-lectures and voluntary exercises without deadlines, it was great for exchange students since and I could plan my own schedule. There were also weekly exercise sessions where students could go and ask aid from the teacher, but this was no needed since there was also a solutions provided for the exercises in the course website. The course itself required quite a lot of work, since there were Excel exercises for almost every week. If done properly, the exercises took from 1 to 2 days to do. The topics of the course varied from portfolio optimizing to derivative prising and although I was familiar with most of the topics and theories beforehand, I learned a lot of new Excel methods and tricks. There was also some Visual Basic programming in the course, but since its weight was so small in the final exam, one could get a highest grade without writing a single row of code. Although this course required a lot of work, I recommend it especially for Finance majors. I also think that in our university should provide a course similar to this KAN-CM_V89 Introduction to System Dynamics, Erik Kampmann, Graduate Level 7.5 ECTS This course lasted for the whole semester, and was based on lectures, weekly voluntary exercises and the final open book exam made in the IT-class. The course was organized in cooperation with CBS and DTU (Technical University of Copenhagen). This was not my first priority course, but since I weren t chosen to one of my other courses, I got this one as my backup. The course description wasn t the clearest one and before the course I almost had no idea what kind of subject System Dynamics is. However, the lecturer and the teaching assistant were both excellent and both had native level English. The course provided a different way of thinking and tools to analyse compared to economics, called system thinking and dynamics. It s all about causalities between different variables, which are used to build causality maps to identify loops. Analytical thinking was enough early on, but when the models started to get big and there were a lot of different causalities between variables, we used software called Vensim to

6 5(8) simulate these problems. Besides traditional business problems, we simulated very interesting problems from exam reading to SARS modelling. For me the workload of the course was average. There were quite a lot of readings to do for every lecture, but usually I could manage with just skimming the readings through. The lectures were divided to actual lectures and to exercise sessions, and we usually managed to do most of the weekly exercised during these sessions. The exam was done in the computer class and part of the exam was done with the Vensim software. If you like problem solving and analytical thinking, I recommend this course BA-HA_E68 Sports Economics, Troels Troelsen, Undergraduate Level 7.5 ECTS This course lasted just the last half of the semester and it was based on lectures, workshop sessions and to the final exam project. This interesting course combined sports and business studies. As I m a big sports fan, studying for this course was actually fun and nothing like my previous studies. The teacher was a pioneer in the sports industry and although his English was not always top-notch, he is very entertaining and knows a lot about sports. The topics included i.e. sports marketing, league design, financial management and sports mega event analysis. There were also voluntary events outside of the classroom, such as going to a football match and trotting race, which included comments and insights from the particular sports organization s staff. There were usually two lectures per week, which were quite interesting. Teacher s slide decks were also quite messy and unclear so it was a good idea to attend. During the course there were also three workshop sessions with mandatory attendance and each group had to do a one hour presentation in one of these sessions. The project exam was relatively easy since there was no oral or written exam included. Compared to my other courses, the workload was quite low. I don t know if it was the fact that this was my only undergraduate course or were my other courses just so demanding. Nevertheless, I fully recommend this course if you have even a tiniest interest towards sports. Easier workload makes this course perfect for exchange students.

7 3 Free time and other information 6(8) Copenhagen is a great place to live, as it combines good factors from small and big cities. It s very famous of cycling and Danes are very proud of it. Bike is the best way to move around in Copenhagen as a student, since the bicycle road are really (REALLY) good and the public transport is quite expensive. Also in my four month stay in the city, I could not find a single people that couldn t speak English. 3.1 Cost of living Copenhagen is an expensive city to live in. For a Finn the price level is not much higher that we are used to, but many students outside of Scandinavia were shocked. It s a good idea to buy groceries from cheaper supermarkets, such as Netto or Lidl. The CBS s cafeterias are also quite good, and I felt like the overall quality of food was better than in Helsinki s student cafeterias. In cafeteria the food was priced based on its weight and a price of a lunch/dinner was around 30 DKK (~4 ). There are not that much student discounts as in Helsinki, and students have to pay full price for public transport as an example. 3.2 Housing As mentioned before, the housing situation is quite difficult in Copenhagen. CBS provides student dorms for exchange students, but for my semester there was only enough for half of the exchange students. The monthly rents in the CBS s dorms are varying approximately from 350 to 1000 euros, and I felt like the price level is at the same level than in the private markets. Nevertheless, I recommend getting a dorm from CBS because it s much easier. Some students were still without housing after few weeks in Copenhagen and I even heard that two people left because they could not get a permanent housing for themselves. I was lucky enough to stay in the most famous dorm in Copenhagen, Tietgen Kollegiet (apply for it!). I had my own room with bathroom but I shared common areas and kitchen with 12 others students, mainly Danes. This was a great opportunity to get a known with Danish people and culture, and I believe that I got some lifelong friends there.

8 7(8) Figure 1: Tietgen Kollegiet 3.3 Danish culture and weather In my experience, Danish culture is very similar with the Finnish one and I experienced almost no culture shock at all. Maybe the society is more liberal, as places like Christian and a bar inside the university illustrate. Danes may be a bit hard to get know to at first, but after a while they are really social and friendly. As in Finland, most Danish students also work besides of their studies. Although the weather is a bit warmer in Copenhagen than in Helsinki, Copenhagen is very windy. As the whole country is almost flat, combined with the surrounding sea, you can really feel the wind and storms and they can even make quite a lot of damage in the city. When I arrived in August the weather was warm and lovely, but it changed to typical Finnish Autumn weather quite fast. 3.4 Student life, free time & travelling CBS s Exchange Social Program provides a lot of easy and fun ways to get know to other students. During the introduction week they offered a possibility to buy Social Package, which included evening activities

9 8(8) with other exchange students for every night during that week. The activities varied from city tour to lake party. The Social Package is the best way to meet new people and I recommend it for everyone. Exchange Social Program also organized Berlin Trip and Tour of Denmark (visit to Legoland!). I only have good things to say about the Berlin trip and heard a lot of positive comments about the Tour of Denmark as well. Tickets to these trips were sold out in few days after the sale started in the summer, so be fast if you want attend. There are also other student organization in CBS and other universities that organize such trips. If you are unable to attend to the trips organized by student organizations, renting a car is a viable option. Trains are quite expensive and especially for groups, renting a car is cheaper. There is a lot to see and do in Copenhagen also. There is a party in CBS s own café/bar Nexus every Thursday, Christiania and Tivoli are a fascinating place to visit and you want to see a world class art you can jump into train and go to Louisiana museum of modern art. There are lot of cosy cafes (go to Paludan!) and a lot of restaurants with a good value/price ratio. If you want to stay in shape (and cycling is not enough), there are a lot of cheap gyms with a student discount and CBS Sports has a lot of different sports teams. I enjoyed my time a lot in CBS s floorball team, although I was usually the only foreigner around. 4 Final Comments Copenhagen Business School is a great place for an exchange. CBS is a big high level university and there are a lot of courses to choose from, the city a bit bigger than Helsinki but still cosy, (most of) the Danes are wonderful people and you can instantly feel like home in Copenhagen. If you are looking for an exotic adventure CBS may be not a place for you, but otherwise go for it! I learned a lot during the exchange. My English is more fluent, learned to work with people from different nationalities and to study a bit differently because of the different study culture and requirements. What I didn t learn, is Danish. With decent Swedish is relatively easy to read something from a newspaper. But it was impossible to understand a Dane speaking Danish when I first went to Copenhagen, and after four months, it was still impossible. If I would go to CBS again, I may rethink my course choices. Although every one of them were interesting and I m more than happy with the quality, the workload was quite demanding at least towards end of the semester.

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