An international group of students under the guidance of an equally cosmopolitan cadre of teachers are hard at work in Mikkeli to earn a prestigious Master's or Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. The MBA and BBA programmes run in the town by the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration enjoy an enviable reputation around the world.
"We have a very good international cooperation network and our teachers come from some of the best university business schools in the world. They are top experts in their respective fields. We have little difficulty recruiting them, because this is a very popular place to come. Our teachers genuinely enjoy themselves in Mikkeli; it's clean, beautiful and safe here," says Heikki Topi, who heads the MBA programme.
Among the visitors who enjoy living in Mikkeli is Professor C. Randall Powell from Indiana University in Bloomington. He has run the BBA course in human resource management for four summers in a row. "I usually bring my whole family; it's so safe here. Coming here is a change in life and a change in work, and it really does one good! We have gotten to know a lot of people and found new friends," says the enthusiastic American visitor.
"The MBA in Mikkeli offers future business leaders an excellent opportunity to learn how to use new information and communications technology. In addition to top-class teaching staff, our assets include advanced technical facilities obtained with the support of EU regional development funds. With the future in mind, we are also looking into the possibility of providing training in trade with Russia," says Topi.
To qualify for admission to the MBA programme, students must have a university degree and a few years' job experience. There are at least two applicants for each of the 35 places each year. The average age of the students is around 30 and they have had about five years' job experience. About thirty per cent come from outside Finland.
"Our graduates have been very successful at finding jobs. More and more of them are being recruited by international consultancies or large companies needing people with a high level of expertise," says Topi.