Student Story - Doina Mucundorfean
Home country: Romania
What are you currently doing: Sales and Purchase Manager for Haarla Oy.
How did you find out about TAMK and what made you choose it for your studies?
I had recently moved to Finland without actually finishing my studies in my home country. I knew I wanted to continue my studies, but since I did not speak any Finnish, of course my options were fairly limited. I checked out UTA programmes but the one I was interested in was held only every 2 years and as it happened, that particular year was not the one. I believe it was my boyfriend at the time who found online information about TAMK and told me about it. When I was younger, someone said I might make a good manager since I had an organized mind, so I thought the IB programme would fit just perfectly.
What did you like most about Tampere and Finland?
The first picture I saw of Tampere was one taken from the Näsineula tower. It was a city between two big lakes, the picture was taken in summer and it just looked like heaven. A big city, and yet so close to the nature. I love the sea and being so close to water seemed great for me. As I got to know the town more, I liked the architecture, the shops, the parks and Tammerkoski especially in summer. I also found TAMK quite amazing compared to the university I studied at for one year back home. You had very good equipment at your disposal, you could get the study books as a loan from the library and the teachers were really helpful and knowledgeable as well. After 10 years of living in Tampere of course, there are many things that I like about the city, but most of them are things I experienced here, so not so many particular aspects of the city.
In what ways have your studies contributed to your professional and personal life?
For me, TAMK represents probably the first and most important step into working life. What I mean by that, is, because of the IB programme's structure I was able to get a training place in a company. One of my former teachers worked for the company and the fact that he knew the kind of student I was, contributed to my selection. I tried my best during my training time in the company and that led to getting hired for the company. It was not a permanent position but I ended up working there for almost two years. Then, for my second job, the fact that I had studied logistics as my major mattered a lot to my employer. I was selected for the position of a Logistics Coordinator and I have to say that the issues we studied during the logistics courses did come in hand. Besides logistics, I also found essential the computing classes we had, like being able to use Excel, Word and PowerPoint.
Other than that, I would say that it is not so much all the information that you get, but more the overall understanding of business and how things are connected to one another. Once you get that, then the more concrete issues you can also learn on the job. You can understand them better when you put them in context since in school it is still rather abstract. And I guess that's normal. I always thought that business is more like common sense, but actually I notice nowadays the difference in thinking for a person that has studied business management and one that has not. You acquire a different perspective I suppose.
Another important aspect I liked about TAMK and found useful later on is learning to work in a team and with different kind of people. I feel for me that's one of the best things I got out of it, even though it was not always easy. It does teach you a lot about yourself and others and that knowledge will come in hand later on in your professional career.
Last but not least, I would mention the multiculturalism. If I feel grateful for one thing regarding my studies, as well as my experience here in Finland is the possibility of getting to know people with so different cultural backgrounds. I believe that more and more in today's world it is not so much about being an expert in logistics or marketing, but it is more about your attitude and how willing you are to learn more, how open minded you are to new things and change. I think I learned plenty from this point of view at TAMK. I just wish we had more courses on communication and culture.
How has TAMK supported your needs as a student?
The premises were great, the infrastructure, the equipment and how we got to use it. Other than living expenses, I don't think I basically needed any money for my studies, except of course, the notebooks and pens. The teachers were always quite helpful and very respectful. We also had a teacher counselor and once a semester I think we would have a chat with him/her about how are our studies going but also, how are we coping with our day to day life. I found that very helpful.
What would you say to anyone considering studying at TAMK?
Take the opportunity and do not waste it. Go for the exchange, find a practical training that you would like and take different courses. Try as many things as you can, don't take the easy way out but also give yourself time to discover who you are and what you are good at. Mostly, take advantage of everything the school has to offer you because there is more than enough. It might not challenge you too much but you have plenty of room to challenge yourself.
This story was written in February 2016.