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School of Business | Department of Management and International Business | International Business | 2013
Thesis number: 13293
Zooming in on the foreign degree students of Aalto University School of Economics: A means or an end to internationalization
Author: Mustaniemi, Milla
Title: Zooming in on the foreign degree students of Aalto University School of Economics: A means or an end to internationalization
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management and International Business
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; kansainvälistyminen; internationalization; opiskelijat; students; kauppakorkeakoulut; schools of economics; Aalto-yliopisto; Aalto University
Pages: 84
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_13293.pdf pdf  size:397 KB (405703)
Key terms: students; opiskelijat; internationalization; kansainvälistyminen; universities; yliopistot
Studying abroad is a rapidly growing, global phenomenon. Strong alliances, that universities share with one another have made it easier for students to move from one country to another for educational purposes. However there is still limited research regarding foreign degree students, as most studies have been about exchange students. Globalization has lead to increasing competition and alike companies, universities as well have had to internationalize in order to withstand against increasing competition. An important part of internationalization when it comes to universities is to diversify its student body by creating a more multi-cultural academic community. This thesis looks at what internationalization means for universities, with a greater focus being on the international students; what is their study experience like, are their needs being satisfied and what problems might they face when it comes to adapting to a foreign country. The perception of regarding students as customers and universities as organizations, trying to satisfy them is also a core theme in this study. The focus of this thesis is Aalto University School of Economics (Aalto ECON) and its foreign degree students. As foreign degree students spend years in another country integration and ultimately long-term stay are important aspects. Are universities recruiting foreign students simply as an indicator of internationalization, or is the goal to integrate these students into becoming permanent members of society, or are these two means even mutually exclusive?

Foreign degree students are starting to represent a large proportion of the academic community, but as common as they are, their needs can still be quite different (from Finnish students, in this case). The purpose of this thesis was to introduce Aalto University School of Economics to its foreign degree students, so that it can better meet their needs and expectations. Results cannot be generalized as this study looks at the foreign degree students of one particular university, Aalto ECON, only.

Through an extensive survey and interviews, a clearer picture on what the study experience for the foreign degree students of Aalto ECON is like, was obtained. Results suggested that, the foreign degree students were mostly content with their overall study experience. The main area of concern was the lack of Finnish language courses. This was understandable as Finnish language skills are regarded quite important, when it comes to attaining employment in Finland. Better Finnish language skills would not only aid in receiving future employment but also in integrating the international students among the Finnish students and thus the whole Finnish society as well. Better integration would presumably lead to increased student satisfaction and ultimately to Aalto ECON becoming an even more prominent and popular destination for future foreign students, and thus increasing its competitiveness.
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