IB Alumni Reunion 2017
Text: Laura Koskinen
Photos: Van Nguyen, Khoa Nguyen, Laura Koskinen
More than 30 alumni, students and staff members took part in the International Business Alumni Reunion in Lemminkäisenkatu campus on the 3th of March. For many alumni, this was the first time visiting their alma mater after graduation. Familiar faces and a welcoming atmosphere made it easy to mingle with current students and share experiences of working life and the benefits of IB studies.
Jaana Kallio-Gerlander and Nicolas Le Grand welcomed the guests and emphasized the important role of the alumni in developing the International Business Online Degree programme. Starting from autumn 2017 the degree programme will be conducted fully online, creating a new and exciting learning environment for the future IB students. Le Grand has been a lecturer in the IB programme since 2004 and feels proud seeing the various career paths the IB alumni have taken on.
“I was looking through the participant list for this reunion and it brought back many good memories. I’m very happy we finally got this reunion organized and hope we will continue meeting each other on a yearly basis, in order to give you opportunities to meet and connect,” said Le Grand, reflecting on his journey with the IB programme. The programme has doubled its size and the amount of international students since Le Grand first started.
Becoming the professional of your own choice
After the welcoming words, the IB alumni from classes of 2004 to 2011 introduced themselves and shared their thoughts and memories on IB studies. Many stressed the importance of starting professional networks and cooperating with students from different fields throughout the studies. They also reminded that school doesn’t give all the answers, but it forms a good basis for any position, allowing you to adapt and grow faster as a professional.
“I loved the international vibe in the IB programme. We got the first Canadian exchange students, and those guys really taught us how to party”, said Tanja, who started in the programme in 2004.
Luckily, partying wasn’t the only thing the alumni learnt in school:
“I’m grateful for the way I learned how to absorb information in this programme. You can truly become the professional of your own choice, that’s for sure. You choose your own path and what you take with you”, added Tanja, who also encouraged the students to go on exchange and value that time abroad.
Lifelong learning and perseverance are concepts the alumni had become familiar with in working life.
“My thesis helped me to become one of the most valuable experts in my own organization, but what you have to remember is that after graduating, you still have to learn a lot from scratch. Basically you are never ready”, summed Anton, who currently works with several international projects targeted to the US market.
Networking your way up
The panel discussion continued on reflecting the past experience of the alumni and sharing best practices concerning the right balance between studies and personal life, internships, thesis work and master studies. According to the alumni, taking chances, staying open-minded and having an international mindset has led them to great and somewhat unexpected job opportunities. When asked what they would do differently if they were students in 2017, a few felt that they would party more. But whether it’s partying, going on exchange or taking part in projects, the alumni agreed that networking is the key to success and current students should cherish the opportunities they get to collaborate with people from different fields and backgrounds.
Point taken: the IB Alumni Reunion continued with casual networking, sparkling wine and selfies. Some eager IB students took the opportunity to discuss possible internships with the alumni, proving that reunions like this truly serve a purpose for both TUAS students as well as the alumni. There was a consensus among the guests that more alumni meetings should be organized, and as the primus motor, Nicolas Le Grand put it: “It’s not so complicated, and the efforts and time you put in organizing a reunion is largely offset by what everyone gets in return.”