Erasmus Report University of Tampere (UTA), Finland Semester

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1 Erasmus Report University of Tampere (UTA), Finland Semester Thom Neeleman S Bsc. International Business Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

2 Erasmus Report Exchange Period Tampere, Finland This report consists out of 2 parts; the general report and the specific subject report. In the general report you can find the following information: Details of the host institution, The level of contact with the home university, My preparation and journey to Tampere, The residence abroad, Grant agreement, General study overview, Other relevant information In the subject specific report you can find the following information per course: Lectures and literature, Overview of lecture program, Course contents, Lecture related activities, Relevance to Groningen study program, Study load, Assessment in Groningen

3 General Report First of all, I would like to congratulate you with the choice of going to Tampere. You are now ensured of having an inspiring exchange period with lots of fun. Moreover, you will definitely upgrade your RUG average grade for your bachelor. In the following text I will elaborate on my past experience and I will try to explain you how you can make the most of your period abroad. 1. Host Institution and Exact Semester Dates. I flew to Finland on August 20, a week before the official start of the semester, which is on the first of September. This gave me the opportunity to already get to know the good places in Tampere a little bit and to get used to the new living environment. Moreover, and most important, in this week I got to know all the other exchange students in my student house. This was an essential period in the exchange because the social groups are being created in the beginning of the semester and I would like to recommend all of you to go to Tampere before the semester starts. The end date of the semester abroad for me was December 16 because all my exams and assignments were handed in. The official end of the semester is the 19 th of December. The details of the host institution are as following: Kalevantie Tampere, Finland The person to contact in case of any kind of trouble is Terhi Nieminen. She is really kind and willing to help you out with every type of problem. Her mail address is as following: 2. Level of Contact With Home University and Preparation Before leaving to Tampere there was some quite intense communication with my home university in order to arrange everything for a smooth stay abroad. Firstly, I had to hand in my top three universities that I wanted to study at accompanied with a motivation letter in which I shortly mentioned my motivation for each university. When I was selected for the University of Tampere (UTA) I had to arrange my Learning Agreement on which I indicated what courses I wanted to follow. However, most people change their courses once they actually arrive at Tampere. This is because you actually get to know what the courses are about. Moreover, I had to write a statement of purpose in which I had to explain what courses I wanted to follow and why I wanted to study in Tampere. This was to get the formal acceptance from UTA as well. 3. Travel Preparations and Journey to Tampere Before leaving to Tampere, there were some things that had to be arranged. Firstly, I had to apply for a Visa creditcard in order to be able to buy my Ryanair flight from Bremen to Tampere. Moreover, this creditcard is often needed when you make trips to foreign cities. It is convenient to pay beforehand, and let your peers pay you the money back right away before it gets deducted from your account at the end of the month. Moreover, it is advised to make sure your passport is valid at least for three more months after December. This is because when you want to make a trip to Russia, they force you to have a passport that is valid for at least 3 more months. Also, I made sure I had approximately 50 euro s to buy the necessary things at the local Ikea to survive the semester. (Blanket, pillow, plates, cups, etc.) There is also the opportunity to borrow these things from a student society. However, these are quite used and therefore I preferred to buy my own things.

4 When I arrived in Tampere I agreed with my student mentor that she would pick me up from the airport and bring me to my residence. Moreover, she would give me a little tour around the city to show me where all crucial buildings and clubs were. 4. Residence Abroad Residence permit As you know, Finland is a member of the European Union. Therefore, having an ID card with you is sufficient to be in Finland. However, it is recommended to have a passport (as indicated earlier), which is valid at least three more months after you leave Tampere. This is due to the fact that Russian border patrol is quite strict when you want to enter Russia. When you start your study in Tampere, the university wants you to fill in a form where you indicate where you live, what you study, and how long you will stay in Finland. Moreover, UTA sends you a letter where they tell you that you have to register at the police station. This is, however, not obligatory if you visit at least once another country. Therefore, my advice is not to register at the police station. Accommodation I lived in a building owned by TOAS, which is comparable to Nijestee in Groningen. They own buildings all over Tampere. The specific building where I lived was called Lapinkaari, and it is located near a big lake. This was a residence for approximately 150 to 200 students, which is ideal if you want to meet new people. Also, the shared rooms (common kitchen and shared corridors) give you the opportunity to easily make new friends. The exchange officer of UTA will send you an with all the necessary information to enroll at TOAS and get a good room. Once you are selected you have to pay a deposit, after which TOAS will confirm that you officially have the room. This (12 squared meters) room is accommodated with a bathroom (shower and toilet), bed, desk, and closet. Hence, this was perfect for 6 months. Moreover, the location was perfect (bus stop to University is in front of the building, sauna is close, forest is across from the building). And the best thing was that I only had to pay 270,- per month. Introduction to Tampere Once I arrived at my residence after being picked up by my mentor I decided to go partying in the city center. This was a very good choice as you get to know the first international students already with whom you can hang out the next couple of weeks. Shortly after my arrival the introduction week started. In this week you have to attend some lectures where lecturers tell you what to do exactly, what courses are offered, where to enroll, etcetera. All the basic information you need to know is given. Moreover, if you would have any additional questions you can go to the exchange office and they are more than happy to help you out. During the day I attended lectures regarding general information, and during the night I decided to go out and meet new people. This first couple of weeks are crucial for meeting new people and forming the first friendships, so I would heavily recommend you to go out and meet as many people as you can. Furthermore, during the introduction week a bus tour is offered where UTA gives you the opportunity to see all of Tampere again and get to know all the good places. Student life and Finnish culture Since Tampere is a city with lots of nature and many exchange students it is not too hard to enjoy yourself. Compared to Groningen, the city is significantly smaller, but there are enough things to keep you busy. For me personally, a typical day included studying at the university, going to the gym or go for a run in the magnificent forest, have lunch at UTA, go to the

5 sauna, go out and party. There are students from many different countries in UTA which gives studying there a true international perspective. Moreover, there are many Finnish students. However, in my experience Finnish people are extremely shy and individualistic. Therefore, I failed in becoming friends with local people. Since Lapinkaari hosts many students, and alcohol is really expensive, it is recommended to stay home and drink as long as you can before going to the city center. Usually there is a big group who go to the city center all together and you can easily join in. Moreover, I would recommend making the first trip you take to Tallinn (Estonia s capital city). Here, alcohol is significantly cheaper. So purchase as much as you can and enjoy this during the rest of your exchange. I also asked some of my friends who visited Tallinn later to bring me additional bottles of vodka. This makes your stay in Finland way cheaper. Language People in Tampere mainly speak Finnish, and some people have Swedish as their main language. Luckily, most Finnish people are able to speak English quite well. Therefore, it is easy to ask a local where to go once you are lost. (Which will definitely happen). UTA does offer a course in Finnish. However, it is impossible to learn the Finnish language in only 6 months. Therefore, I would not recommend you to take Finnish classes. 5. Grant Once you go to Tampere, and your Learning Agreement is accepted and signed by all parties, you will receive the first 70% of your grant. This was 724,-. After finishing the Erasmus Report and handing in the signed During Mobility LA and After Mobility LA you will receive the last 30% of your grant. Next to the Erasmus grant I received 100,- each month for handing in my OV-abonnement. Moreover, I received my normal Stufi and the money I borrow from DUO. An indication of living expenses is difficult to give. I would estimate general living expenses to be 300,- per month. And rent, as indicated earlier, is 270,-. All the necessary items for university are provided by the university itself and are, thus, for free. 6. General Study Overview General advice All general information you need to know is given during the introduction week. I would recommend you to go to as many lectures as possible and pose your additional questions to the exchange office. At first, everything will seem confusing and difficult. But after 2 weeks you will find out is really easy. If you are really struggling with issues, and the exchange office cannot provide you with a clear answer you can always go to Ms. Nieminen, who is very friendly and willing to help. Moreover, the University website gives you a clear overview of all the dates and important information regarding the courses you enroll for. And even if you fail to enroll in time, you can send the professor giving these courses an after which they will enroll you anyway. Semester dates The semester I took consisted out of two blocks, as is the case in Groningen. The first block was from the first of September 24 th of October. The second block was from 27 th of October 19 th of December. The general study course of action is that you take three courses during each block (6 in total). These courses consist, dependent on the course, of lectures and examination (written exam) in the end. Tutorials are not a general thing in UTA. If you would fail a course, there are 2 re-sit possibilities. Therefore, it is almost impossible to fail one of the courses you follow in Tampere.

6 Level of education As indicated before, there are three exam possibilities, which make studying significantly easier already. Moreover, the level of the courses given is rather low compared to what we have at the University of Groningen. If you want to challenge yourself and actually learn something I would recommend you to take some master courses. These offer a higher level of education, and I actually learned most in these master courses. As indicated earlier, all courses I enrolled for were taught in English. Hence, I did not encounter any language problems. Summary of courses taken I followed several courses, but the overall focus for me was on business and marketing. This was because I was not sure what master I wanted to follow in Groningen, but I was thinking about following the Msc. Marketing. Therefore, I took Service Marketing, Service Logic as a Foundation for Service Management, and Strategic Marketing. These courses are all marketing related. Moreover, UTA offers some good courses focused on Asia; Asia-Pacific as a Business Area, and Legal and Ethical Aspects of Asian Business. Lastly, I took some courses that seemed appealing to me. These were Strategic Analysis, and Internal Auditing and Control Systems (Here you also learn to work with ACL, a audit program). 7. Other relevant info I think the most important factors to take into account are the following: - Save enough money to make trips next to your study - Register in time for a TOAS residence - Enroll for the gym at UTA and go regularly - Buy a card for sauna and visit the sauna often (cures a hangover) - Register for too many courses, and decide which ones you like best. You can drop the rest. - Borrow your books from the library, or read the online version to study for your exam.

7 Specific Report HALJTA21 Internal Auditing and Control Systems UTA, 4 September 9 October 2014 Lectures: 2 times per week, each 2 hours Literature: You receive a handout of approximately 90 pages that you have to read. The course is divided in two parts internal auditing, and control systems. There are 2 different lecturers that each focus on one of these aspects. Moreover, you learn how to work with the audit program ACL. The course is focused on how to audit internal actions in a company. Some of the contents are audit planning, processes, methods and reporting. Learning how to work with the ACL program in 3 tutorials. Also, written exam in the end of the course. I have not encountered a similar course at the University of Groningen. This course is mainly focused on internal auditing, and not as much on management accounting as in Groningen. Lectures: 20 hours Preparation exam: 15 hours Lecturer: Jaakko Rönkkö, Lasse Oulasvirta Assessment: 3 (8 in Groningen)

8 KATASA1 Asia-Pacific as a Business Area UTA, 8 September 23 September 2014 Lectures: 2 times per week, 3,75 hours Literature: Different articles provided by the lecturer. Moreover, you have to write a report and find your own relevant literature. There are two lectures each week consisting of different issues relevant to Asian business. The slides in these lectures were the most relevant information that could be used in the report. It was not obligatory to visit the lectures, and I did not visit all of them due to the fact that they took too long. This course focuses on geography, governance, business practices, and ethics of different Asian-Pacific countries. The main focus was on the end product a report where two countries were compared on different issues that were discussed in the lectures. In this course you had the option to write a report, or write an exam. Almost everybody opted for the written report, as this was significantly less work. Moreover, nearly everybody I know scored a 4 or 5 on this report. The course I would compare this to in Groningen is Comparative Country Studies. However, in Groningen the main focus was not on a specific part of the world, and in Tampere the lecturer was a professional in Asian Business. Lectures: 20 hours Preparation exam: 15 hours (written report) Lecturer: Jukka Lahtinen Assessment: 5 (9 in Groningen)

9 KATMAA13 Service Marketing UTA, 1 September 24 October 2014 Lectures: 2 times per week, 1.5 hours Literature: Grönroos, Christian: Service Management and Marketing. Customer Management in Service Competition, Wiley, The lectures were mainly focused on marketing in the service sector. During the lectures there were many practical examples of cases where marketing was applied in the wrong way, after which theory was used to illustrate how this could be improved. Moreover, we learned how to design a company overview to evaluate the service level provided. The contents of this course included many service-related things such as service logic, customer satisfaction, blueprinting, value added, measuring service level, and marketing principles. Almost everything was discussed in the book by Grönroos, so that was useful when studying for the exam. Every other week we had to write an assignment related to the lecture information. We had to relate what we had learned to a practical example that we experienced. This was not much work, and fun to do because you applied the theory immediately. I would compare this course to the basic marketing courses offered in the IB program. The lecturer does not penetrate the content of the book very deep. Therefore, understanding the basic concepts and applying it is rather easy. Lectures: 20 hours Preparation exam: 15 hours Just repeating the slides, and reading additional information on issues I did not fully understand in the Grönroos book was sufficient to score high on the exam. Lecturer: Elina Närvänen Assessment: 4 (9 in Groningen)

10 MBCS01 Strategic Marketing UTA, 9 September 24 October 2014 Lectures: 1 time per week, 2.5 hours Literature: Kotler, P., Keller, K.L., Brady, M. Goodman, M. & Hanse, T. (2009): Marketing Management, Pearson Education Limited. (Electronic Book) The lectures in this master course were extremely interesting, and given by a highly capable lecturer. The focus was mainly on building on strategic perspectives to marketing. The contents in this course were rather different, with a strategic perspective to marketing as a common denominator. Concepts such as customer value propositions, customer value, business models, and corporate strategy were discussed. During the lectures theory was well linked to practical examples. Moreover, some guest lectures were given in order to illustrate theory. Next to the lectures we had to write a report on one of the different issues discussed in the lectures. Here we had to dig in the theory and present the report to class in order to teach them more about our subject. The basic marketing course in the IB program is, again, the most comparable course in my opinion. However, in Strategic Marketing you go deeper into the theory of Marketing. Also, in order to be able to follow this course you have to show that you have some previous experience in the field (hand in a report regarding marketing from Groningen). Lectures: 15 hours Preparation exam: 15 hours Writing final report: 20 hours Lecturer: Hannu Saarijärvi Assessment: 4 (9 in Groningen)

11 JKKSTA15 Strategic Analysis UTA, 3 November 15 December 2014 Lecture: Irregular 3 hours per lecture, and 11 lectures in total Seminars/Presentation: Obligatory to attend 4 peer-lectures, 1 presentation of your own, and 1 feedback presentation Literature: Lecture material provided by lecturer The lectures were designed to provide different frameworks and options to conduct a strategic analysis for any firm. In the end we had to make our own strategic analysis based on the information in the lectures. From a pool of information we could opt for the frameworks that we deemed most relevant, and create a final report on this. All kinds of theories regarding a strategic analysis, such as SWOT analysis, Porter s Five Forces, Porter s Diamond. Next to attending the lectures, presenting your own report, and providing feedback, we had to write a report on a company or on an industry. We decided to write a report on Ryanair, and analyze where Ryanair should focus their strategies. In the spec. course marketing I followed a course that was very similar to this course. The same frameworks were used. However, the UTA strategic analysis was not as elaborated as the one in Groningen. Lectures: 12 hours Seminars: 15 hours Paper+Presentation: 15 hours Lecturer: Malla Mattila Assessment: 4 (9 in Groningen)

12 KATASA12 Legal and Ethical Aspects of Asian Business UTA, 27 October 10 November 2014 Lectures: 2 times per week, 3.75 hours This course was very similar to the previous described Asia-Pacific as a Business Area course. However, this time it was not as broad, but more aimed towards legal and ethical aspects. We had to write a report for final examination based on these two aspects. The main themes described during the lectures were related to either legal aspects or ethical aspects. Hence themes such as export regulations, import regulations, corruption, working conditions, contract laws, capital and financial markets, trade and currency legislation. As indicated, we had to write a report on a company that wanted to sell products in an Asian market. We had to analyze several aspects that were related to this. As with the previous Asian Business course I would compare this course to the Comparative Country Study course in Groningen. Also, International Business Law was slightly comparable in terms of finding the right laws for the right country. Lectures: 20 hours Written Report: 20 hours Lecturer: Jukka Lahtinen Assessment: 5 (9 in Groningen)

13 KATJOS42 Service Logic as a Foundation for Service Management UTA, 29 October 8 December 2014 Lectures: 1 time per week, 2 hours In the lectures specific (Scandinavian) views on service and service management were given by the aid of different theories. The lecturer was highly capable and was able to explain theory very well. The main themes during this course were the Nordic School of Thought, service dominant logic, customer dominant logic, network theory, different service evaluation models, and theory on how to orientate companie on service. We had to write a pre-assignment before every lecture where we summarized mandatory articles. Moreover, we had to use these pre-assignments to write a final report on service logic. To my knowledge there is no comparable course offered in the Groningen study program. Most courses and theories in Groningen are not focused on the Nordic School of Thought. This course offered me a completely different insight in marketing, and service logic. Lectures: 15 hours Written Report: 25 hours Lecturer: Ritva Höykinpuro Assessment: 5 (9 in Groningen)

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