Usually substantial growth for sales requires extension into international markets. To succeed internationally, understanding of the dynamics of international business as well as global networks and contacts are vital. The seed for international state of mind in business is ideally sown firmly already during studies. One way of how Haaga-Helia supports this is via collaboration with professors and lecturers from around the world.
Guest lecturers from around the world bring their culture with them into teaching
Digitalization has opened the doors for easier growth for businesses in global markets. To succeed, one needs to understand international markets and the customers. Building international bridges already during studies provides a strong foundation for ability to extend their reach when entering the job markets.
Higher education institutions can strive to support students in creation of strong international networks not just by opening doors to the world via e.g. student exchange, but also by inviting foreign senior lecturers and professors from around the world to provide guest lectures.
In January 2023, we here in Haaga-Helia welcomed Professor Michael Jackowski from Metropolitan State University in Denver to the Sales and Communication competence area. Lecturer David Duncombe had arrived from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, half a year earlier in the area of expertise in Marketing. Both came to Haaga-Helia with the Fulbright scholarship program which offers Finnish and American researchers, teachers and students working in higher education institutions the opportunity to develop skills, network and build cooperation between educational institutions.
Finnish students learn about American university culture
Mick and David explained in their Fulbright applications that they had a desire to familiarize themselves, among other things, with how the teaching of their area of expertise is organized and carried out in Haaga-Helia UAS. It was therefore natural that they mainly taught in class and gave guest lectures during their visit.
During the year, they taught the International Business degree students, and the Finnish BBA students. Thus, Finnish-speaking degree students became part of the American university teaching style and culture and got new perspectives in their studies. Best of all, the students had to use English which gave them a great opportunity to practice their discussion skills. On the other hand, maybe that’s why only a small part of the Finnish students participated in the discussions in class. One difference that Mick and David noticed between Finnish and American students was in class activity: American students are more active.
Team teaching brings perspective and versatility to teaching
Haaga-Helia’s teachers also got to know the American way of teaching, since David and Mick taught together with their Finnish colleague in almost all courses. Thus, the Finnish teachers had a great opportunity to benchmark their own courses, their contents and pedagogical solutions to the sales and marketing courses of the universities of Denver and Wisconsin. David and Mick obviously learned from Haaga-Helia’s teachers when topics were discussed, and courses were planned and taught together.
Mick had a lot of ideas for practicing sales meetings, where sales situations are simulated in, for example, role-playing games. In them, students practice the roles of seller and customer in turn and learn how to act in successful sales situations. Together with his Finnish colleagues, Mick coached Haaga-Helia’s students for the European Sales Competition. The competition is a kind of role-playing game where students get a b-to-b sales case where they sell their solution to an imaginary customer. The jury evaluates all sales situations, and the students receive feedback on their performance.
Mick’s coaching style was stimulating and encouraging the students to do their best. The atmosphere between the students and him was relaxed and immediate but demanding at the same time. The students greatly appreciated his comments.
David has worked for global multinational companies most of his career. His extensive hands on experience in global markets, especially in developing countries gave students unique perspective to competitive strategies, product development and market opening for new products. These David’s personal experiences and perspectives gave new ideas about how to approach complex business issues and how to build a sustainable businesses.
Cooperation with Fulbright scholars continues
David will arrive in Finland again in January 2024. He wants to come to Finland to maintain his existing networks and create new ones. We will see him as a guest lecturer on the marketing and sales courses. He is willing to participate in possible workshops in Haaga-Helia in January.
In October, the University of Denver organizes an online sales competition for students, in which Haaga-Helia students participate. In return, Mick will come with his American students to the European Sales Competition 2024, which will be held on the Pasila campus in May. It’s great that the collaboration which started with David and Mick will not end but will continue and hopefully also diversify and take on new forms in the future.