Before my arrival, I could choose which courses I wanted to take among a selection of +60 through an online platform “Whinaville”. I have chosen 6 courses which represent 30 ECTS credits.
Having the chance to choose my courses, I thought that was an opportunity for me to take courses in the field that I want to be specialized in. That is why I took 2 courses of Finance; Corporate Finance and International Management Accounting.
I have learnt a lot during this 2 classes, the teachers were great. It was hard at the very beginning because I did not know most of the financial vocabulary. Therefore, I had to practice by myself to catch up with the others students. But after a few days, this was not a problem anymore.
In Corporate Finance, we have gone through a lot of topics; financial statements analysis, time value of money, cash flows stream, interest rates, bonds, stocks, cost of capital, capital structure, mergers & acquisition… This was certainly the hardest courses I had, because most of it was new to me and we have been through many different chapters.
I have spent hours studying, reading and practicing on corporate finance. That was probably because I have liked the lessons so much that I wanted to study and learn as much as I could. At the beginning of the semester, the chapters seemed hard but in the end, now that I have practice I find it easy and I feel ready to go deeper in Finance. I also had assignments to work on which helped me.
In Management Accounting, I have learnt about different costing method and short term decision making. We also had the chance to visit General Electric factory and offices. We have learned about their lean management process which was inspiring.
I also had the chance to participate on a managerial accounting report for a company called Hobby Agency, to help them control and manager their costs, prices and budget. Me and my team have used costing methods and Cost-Volume Profit analysis to make this report. I have enjoyed studying finance and I am convinced this will help me in the future. It has also confirmed my will to choose Finance as a specialization next year.
Besides, the other courses I have chosen were; International Economics, Project Management, Strategic Views on Global Business and Finnish.
International Economics was a virtual class, we had to read the lessons on internet, study and then take 2 small exams every week. I have learnt about international trade theory, trade policy, foreign exchange and balance of payments. It is the first time that I take a virtual class. I already had virtual courses (Cross knowledge) but in this case, it was 100% online course. Therefore, I had to learn by myself. At the beginning, I thought that students don’t learn that much with virtual courses but at the end I realized that I have learnt a lot. I had to keep up learning because we had 2 quizzes per week.
In Project Management, I have learnt about project managers’ techniques and processes. We discussed on why many projects fails, how to avoid that and all the steps of a project. I had group work to do every 2 weeks and it was mainly on self-learning, so I had to read through the course book or internet to find the answers. This learning method required a lot of personal work and time. It could be hard sometimes because it was all new for me. I still managed to get the maximum grade on that course.
Strategic Views was an entrepreneurship course, we talked about strategic thinking and we did a business game. The business game lasted for 9 weeks and was more detailed that the ones I have done before. The game works on weekly decisions and required a lot of strategy thinking. Its aim was to practice and think more strategically. I was competing with 7 other teams. This course was more practical than theoretical, and it helped me think strategically.
I have also learnt the basics of Finnish language which was helpful during my semester. It was a “survivor” Finnish course has our teacher called it. The goal was not to become fluent but only to be able to survive in Finland with the basics.
The classes were very interactive, we often had to share our thoughts and make some presentation to the others. In every class, we needed a book, that we borrowed at the library. Teachers also gave us lessons which were also on the Moodle, an online platform (Ipagora). I never had to write during class because all the chapters were given, so we just had to listen, answer the questions/quizzes and share our ideas. Also, I never had class in the amphitheater as an exchange student.
There was a lot of self-learning, which is different in France. I often had to do my own research and read books to follow up the courses. I think this method of learning require more personal time and learning, but it is a good way to be more autonomous and curious. For example, in Corporate Finance before every class I had to study the lesson for next class by doing my own research and using the book. Then, during class we could all discuss about what we have learnt and try to explain it to the others. Of course, the teacher then review the chapters with us.
I think the education in Finland is excellent but requires autonomy and regular learning from the students. There is also a lot of group work and self-learning.
The courses are assessed by grade from 0 to 5. 0 is fail and 5 is excellent. Every exam, homework and participation were graded with points. To get at least 1 out of 5 as a final grade, you must get at least 70 points out of 100 depending on the course, if not you fail.