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Laurea alumna Lucy: "Creativity and efficiency go hand in hand in Finland"

Thieu ”Lucy” Nguyen Mai Ngan, from Vietnam, completed studies in the English-language Facility Management degree programme offered on our Leppävaara campus from 2010 to 2014. During her studies in Finland, Lucy learned the importance of efficiency, creativity and persistence in the workplace.

Exchange student Lucy with members of Laurea staff.
Lucy visited Leppävaara campus in 2018 and met with lecturers and colleagues from her studying years. Pictured here: Elina Flemming, Eerik Tanskanen, Lucy, Kaija Meriläinen and Nadim Alfa.

While studying English at a language school in Vietnam, Thieu Nguyen Mai Ngan, also known as Lucy, came across a brochure about studies in Finland. She had never visited Finland but had heard about the country’s advanced education system and figured that she could learn a great deal in Finland. A closer look at the brochure revealed that Laurea’s Leppävaara campus was located close to Helsinki and that its Facility Management education was also recognised in Vietnam.

According to Lucy, getting acquainted with a new culture and studying at Laurea were truly educational experiences:

“Our studies at Laurea weren’t about learning things by heart, but involved a great deal of creativity. Europeans communicate in a different way compared to the Vietnamese. They express things in a polite but direct way, listen to everyone and respect other people’s opinions, for example in meetings.”

Learning about attitude and efficiency during work placement

Lucy has warm memories of her time at Laurea: “Everyone was really nice and friendly at Laurea and always ready to help. Not only did I learn to do my own work efficiently but also to help my colleagues whenever possible. It is only by collaborating and helping others that you can strengthen the entire team and community.”

In Lucy’s view, the most instructive courses and projects were those related to customer service and its development. Lucy completed her compulsory work placement in the superintendent’s office at the Leppävaara campus. The professional attitude to work left a lasting impression on her: “I learned to get down to business instead of complaining if any problems or surprises came up.”

The compulsory thesis followed as a natural continuation to the work placement: Lucy chose to focus on the development of help-desk service on the Leppävaara campus. Her final thesis offered a great deal of valuable information and pinpointed concrete areas of development to improve and enhance customer service. “I especially learned to use the PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT cycle of continuous development, which we had been introduced to earlier and which has been of great use in my present job, as well,” Lucy explains.

New things and new learning keep work interesting

After graduation, Lucy worked as a housekeeping supervisor at a hotel in Finland for a few months before moving back to Vietnam. “During my studies, I was really enthusiastic about facility management, but when I returned to Vietnam, it was difficult to find work in the field. Luckily, I got a job as a sales assistant in one of Vietnam’s largest companies specialising in animal feed,” she says. 

The degree from Laurea, combined with her previous law studies from Vietnam, helped Lucy advance in her career. “After two years as a sales assistant, I transferred to the company’s legal department, where I have since been learning more about the legal side of business. I’m fortunate, since both my degrees have helped me land my current job.”

In the future, Lucy hopes to gain more and more international experience and continue to work especially with legal matters. At present, she is motivated by learning new things, which keeps her work interesting and challenging: “It also pushes me to employ all my skills and look at things from new perspectives. The model of continuous development and the open and creative attitude I learned at Laurea have helped me a lot in my present job,” Lucy says.

“What I remember best from Laurea and Finland are the beautiful nature, efficient work culture, warm Finnish people and, of course, the Finnish sisu. Studying in Finland is rewarding and truly gave me a brand new perspectives on life.”