Reflections on our first semester

As she wrapped up the first semester of her European Business Administration studies, first year EBA student Laura Hämäläinen wrote:

Congratulations fellow business students, we made it! We survived the first semester of our studies, give yourselves a pat on the back. Hopefully, everyone found a way to unwind from school during the well-deserved break and are returning to campus with fully charged batteries.

Laura and classmates starting their EBA studies

Before I headed off on my Christmas holiday, I sat down with Jawid Danish, a fellow student from EBA, to have a chat about what drove us to study business, what has been the easiest and the hardest things during the first semester, and how to handle and balance out the stress from assignments, deadlines, and exams.

Entering the field of business


Asking Jawid how he ended up in Metropolia to study business he notes that it was actually not his first choice: “My first choice was to study political science because I’m interested in social sciences and politics. Finland doesn’t offer the option of studying political science in English and I want to do my master’s degree in international relations so studying business would be the best option for me to be able to do my master’s in something that I want.”

To be fair, studying business was not my first choice either, the reason being that I didn’t really have a first choice for not knowing what I want to do in the future. Once I got to know my co-students, I noticed that I am not alone when it comes to a little hesitation and weighing the choices made. Luckily one doesn’t have to know such things in today’s world and studying business is an excellent choice because it gives you a wide variety of options for what to do and where to work in the future.

Jawid seems to be on board with me on this: “I am still thinking: Is this the right choice I made? But I also know that business is a study of social science, it shows how the whole world works instead of focusing on just specific things if you would be studying mathematics for example. Studying business gives you a lot of flexibility and opens so many doors for you compared to a lot of other fields.”

The best, the worst, and the balance

Remembering back to the orientation days in the first week of the semester when we were shown our curricula for the very first time, I recall one lecturer saying that you will be stressed going towards the end of the semester. That lecturer was not wrong. In my opinion, these couple of months have gone by very fast and I believed that everyone shared the same feeling of stress from assignment deadlines and exams that seemed to appear suddenly.

Asking Jawid about how it felt for him he asks: “What stress? I don’t stress. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is schedule my day. If I don’t write it down I have it in my brain organized.” He mentions that when you have organized your days and included the time to study in them, you prevent any stress from appearing. Wow, I definitely need to learn this. But in my opinion, it is very important to have something to balance out school and work. Luckily, we have a lot of options for that provided by different student organizations for example.

We move on to share what both of us think have been the best parts of our studies so far. For Jawid it has been the new friendships and networking, not only in his own study group but from all over the school, and I agree. He mentions that the best part of studying in Metropolia is the level of internationalization and getting to know people from all around the world. In the field of international business, you must be familiar with different cultures and when you are able to familiarize yourself with those different cultures during your studies is a major advantage.

For the unpleasant parts of our studies so far neither one of us can come up with much and we end up discussing motivation. Jawid mentions the massive impact a lecturer has on students’ motivation towards studies. The unavailability and overall distant nature of a lecturer demotivate you in a way that it is hard to push yourself forward. I agree with this. Although we as students are responsible for our studies, in the end, the school organization and its lecturers are the ones providing us with the tools for education and learning.

To wrap up the conversation I ask Jawid if he has any advice or tips for future first-year business students, and he says: “Come to school with chin up and full confidence. Coming into a new environment can be very stressful, and having confidence helps with everything.”

Business school lecturers at orientation days for new students August 2022