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Developing management skills through projects

Ira Hyvärinen is a Bachelor of Business Administration student with graduation only a thesis and final reports away. During her studies, she was a project manager in three projects. Working as a project manager has also enabled Hyvärinen to develop her management skills.

Ira Hyvärinen

Ira Hyvärinen will be graduating in the spring of 2018 after two and a half years of studying, during which she participated in eight projects. The takeaways from working as a project manager in three projects include a wealth of experiences and lots of new insights. After graduating, Hyvärinen plans to continue working in her current job to gain more employment experience and practical skills. However, Hyvärinen wants to work in management positions in the future.

Hyvärinen started working for a new employer in the autumn of 2017 and feels that the study projects and being in the project manager role have been very useful in working life. The practice-oriented learning provides a good understanding of working life and helps develop one’s self-directiveness. “You gain courage to make decisions and become more proactive in your job duties. You also learn to just plunge into new situations and try it out,” Hyvärinen says, listing skills learned in projects.

Hyvärinen was a project manager a year ago for the first time. Being a project manager in two projects during the same spring semester enabled Hyvärinen to learn a lot about herself, too. Identifying one’s own strengths and the way one works are useful skills in career planning and self-development. Once you know your strengths, you are better able to express and utilise them later in the studies and in working life. “Identifying one’s strengths came in handy in the following autumn when I was in a project manager role for the third time. The cooperation partner described me as a gentle but assertive project manager. You cannot make anyone follow you by using a whip, but things also need to get done. The most important thing is to motivate the team and keep the atmosphere positive,” Hyvärinen says with a laugh.

The project manager is responsible for getting things done in the project, but they are also one of the team members. Being people-oriented and having the ability to read team members and identify their strengths are highlighted when tasks are assigned in the project. In addition, being a project manager emphasises taking responsibility, courage to make decisions and find solutions to ensure that the project progresses according to plan. “All in all, it was an awesome experience and I want to thank the instructors. All of them had an excellent attitude and they gave their 100%. I am glad to have had the opportunity to participate in the projects and learn new skills in such a diverse and practice-oriented manner. The partners offered excellent opportunities to develop my competence,” Hyvärinen says, summarising her thoughts about project-based learning.

Sales assistant Ira Hyvärinen was interviewed by Venla Korhonen.

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