The classroom was filled with excitement on last Thursday, as the 4th SID Master’s group started to navigate their service innovation & design journey. Throughout orientation the 28 new students were completely submerged in the Laurea’s cocreative learning culture, which provides the foundation for success as they pursue the Master’s program together. Team-building exercises at the very beginning of the studies help the new students hit the ground running, get familiar with each other and learn basic concepts they’ll use over and over again for the next 18 months. So, even before the actual classes began, they learned to rely on one another and were able to start building professional and personal connections.
Beginning part-time studies in a Master of Business Administration program can be particularly challenging for a lot of students: The transition of going back to university after years of full-time work, acclimating to a new location, getting used to the amount of work, meeting a bunch of new people with diverse cultural backgrounds, and learning new disciplines is a lot to juggle all at once. University, career, family obligations, and social life all require time and effort. There is a lot of anticipation, a little bit of nerves and seemingly more questions than answers at this early stage. But one thing is for sure: The students will have an abundance of resources to guide them along — faculty, support personnel, second-year SID students and the rest of the “SID family”. During the first day’s panel discussion, the new students got plenty of useful advice from SID alumni and students representing all the three previous SID groups. From the very start the new students are beginning to grasp what it means to be part of the “SID family” that consists of more than 100 current or former SID students, 14 SID faculty members, several visiting lecturers and 18 SID Advisory Board members.
Such as the previous SID groups, the new students have a rich blend of unique talents and strengths that each member of the new student group brings and is willing to share. First, the 28 new students represent 11 different nationalities. Most of them have been working in Finland for years – four students will be flying to Finland once a month for the contact sessions. Second, they have nicely varying educational backgrounds in engineering, business, IT, design, art, nursing, social sciences etc. Thirdly, they work for many kinds of companies varying from multinational corporations to SMEs and start-ups, from service industries to manufacturing, from private to public sector.
In the first afternoon, the new students had a visiting lecturer from the European Service Innovation Centre: CEO Kimmo Halme talked about trends and future anticipations in service innovation.
After the orientation day, the actual studies started on Friday-Saturday: Gijs van Wulfen and Katja Tschimmel run a stunning two-day Design Thinking workshop (Visual Report of the MasterClass at Laurea). Right after the workshop a student wrote in an email to me: “I also wanted to tell you that I’m really impressed by our first contact session. When I did a postgraduate degree on Design Thinking at XX, it took us a couple of months or more to arrive to the same level of understanding that you have managed to pass us in just a couple of days. I am very happy that I’m studying this master’s”.
Soon you’ll be able to learn more about this Design Thinking workshop as the students will write some blog posts about their experience and the project they carried out – Stay tuned!
During their first three days of SID studies, the new students certainly experienced the energy of their peers and the whirlwind of experiences and opportunities available to Laurea’s SID students. They are surely looking forward to meeting each other again in October.
Written by Katri Ojasalo, Head of the programme