Teamwork and cooperation as lifelong skills praised by recent Laurea graduates Rosie and Mint
“Working in BarLaurea, a university cafeteria gave us the opportunity to apply our theoretical knowledge to real life”, say Mint and Rosie, recent graduates from the Restaurant Entrepreneurship programme.
They share their first and last names - Nguyen Thu and their country of origin – Vietnam, but with friends and colleagues, they use nicknames - Rosie and Mint. The girls just graduated from the Restaurant Entrepreneurship bachelor program in English and wrote together their thesis.
What brought them to Finland and Laurea? For Mint it was the excellent Finnish education system that is highly praised around the world. She also liked the teaching approach in Laurea. For Rosie one of the reasons was Finland itself. “I really wanted to experience the Finnish lifestyle. I’ve heard it is very different from Vietnamese and I wanted to learn about it; I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and to try something new”, says Rosie.
But the main reason for both girls was the Restaurant Entrepreneurship programme offered by Laurea. Mint’s dream was to open her own café combined with a library in her home country and she thought by studying Restaurant Entrepreneurship she will get the essential knowledge, theoretical and practical background that will help her in establishing a business and in planning her future career. Rosie didn’t have such an exact vision of her future, but she knew she wanted to study customer service and entrepreneurship.
Studying in Laurea was full of positive surprises. Both girls have studied before in Vietnam, so they were able to compare the higher education systems in both countries. They said that in Vietnam the main focus is on theory, there is also no place for group discussions and interaction between teachers and students.
“In Laurea on the other hand besides theory, we had a lot of practical tasks and projects, we learnt by experience. I was able to focus on my individual work and on self-development. I really like and appreciate the teaching methods here. Also, the atmosphere is different. It is open and focused on teamwork and cooperation, teachers integrate with students and students are free to give their own opinions”, says Mint.
Rosie also emphasizes the practical approach of her studies in Laurea and the vast amount of opportunities for internships and part-time jobs during the studies.
“I worked in different positions in my part-time jobs, from a waitress to a supervisor. We’ve got a lot of help and advice from my teachers in finding job placements and internships here in Finland and abroad”
Already during their first year of studies, they had a chance to practice their customer service, restaurant and management skills in BarLaurea, a university cafeteria based in Leppävaara campus run by students and teachers from Laurea. “It was one of the best experiences during my studies. At first I thought it would be hard work, but actually, it wasn’t. I’ve met so many interesting people there and I had a chance to observe how the real working life looks like in a restaurant. BarLaurea gave us the opportunity to apply our theoretical knowledge to real life”, says Rosie. Work in BarLaurea is part of the study programme. Students practice several tasks from working in a kitchen to planning the menus to learn different customer service skills.
Another important aspect was the international environment. In the English programs, students come from all over the world. “If you like the multicultural atmosphere I highly recommend one of the English programmes in Laurea”, says Mint.
Mint and Rosie decided to write together their bachelor thesis. The topic? A small business in tee and fruit-based beverages, like smoothies or milk teas. And where this idea came from? “Actually from our work in BarLaurea and other restaurant jobs we’ve done during our studies”, says Mint. The girls noticed that Finnish people like to have something healthy to drink, so why not run a bar with beverages based on tea and fruits? “We observed the Finnish market and people’s behavior. We’ve learnt that many Finns prefer dairy-free products, so we chose plant-based drinks instead of cow milk or if milk then lactose-free because of allergies”, adds Rosie.
While working on their thesis they’ve learnt that the most important thing was the market analysis. “Because sometimes you can have a great idea but if it doesn’t meet the market needs it is useless. So first, you have to observe the market and check if it’s suitable for your idea or not”, says Mint.
The topic of the bachelor thesis was so inspirational for Rosie that now her wish is to open such a beverage bar in the future. “Of course I need money, so first I have to earn something either in Finland or I will go back to Vietnam for some time”, she says.
Mint, on the other hand, would like to continue her studies and do the masters. “But as for now after graduation, I want to work and get some more practical experience”, she adds.