Laurea alumnus Kalle Lumio tells about studying in Service Innovation and Design Master´s degree programme.
"I had been working in my current workplace for seven years and the group of colleagues that I was dealing with at work on a daily basis was focused on areas in my field. I noticed that while this environment helps you to get good at what you do, you are not learning new things. The idea for Master's studies started with this observation"
This is how Kalle Lumio describes his initial push to continue his studies in a Master's degree programme. He has completed a Master's degree at Laurea in the English-language Degree Programme in Service Innovation and Design, also known as SID, which is focused on service design.
– I became interested in service design as it is far removed from my daily job in financing. Actually, it is pretty much at the other extreme of the business sector.
– That is why it provided me with a genuine opportunity to challenge myself, develop my skills and learn something completely new.
Kalle Lumio works as the managing director of the Nordia Management capital investment company. He started as a controller at the company 13 years ago and has been its managing director for nearly five years. He has previously completed a Bachelor's degree in financing at Tallinn University.
– While a Master's degree is a positive thing, I have not felt limited by the Bachelor's degree. More than the degree itself, my new studies were definitely motivated by learning new things, he describes.
Students have a lot to offer to one another
– The studies in the SID degree programme in service design were very intense, but also fun. The monthly face-to-face instruction was always an intense effort where we were working in a group and only focusing on studying, Lumio describes the Master's degree studies.
The group of students that started in the Degree Programme in Service Innovation and Design at the same time as Lumio came from diverse backgrounds. Around ten nationalities were represented in the group and their working language was always English. The students also represented various different industries very widely.
– The studies were marked by colourful discussions. While our opinions differed, sometimes quite a lot, we always dealt with the views in a positive atmosphere, Kalle Lumio says.
– Any ideas were challenged repeatedly and giving justifications to our views help us to refine our thoughts. We also learned so much from that.
Lumio also emphasises the significance of the workplace experience each student brought with them in the studies:
– All students came from different sectors where they had become professionals in their own fields thanks to several years of work experience. They all had a lot to give, he notes.
From theory to practice
Studying alongside his work allowed Kalle Lumio to immediately apply the contents and methods he had learned about service design in practice at his work. He particularly highlights the value of customer awareness:
– Customer awareness is just what we need in the development of services, which we do in our daily work as part of working in boards. On their own, studies in financing do not help you that much when it comes to customer awareness, he says.
Thanks to his work experience, his studying approach was also different than with previous studies. The workplace experience gave him a strong basis for the discussions that were part of the Master's degree studies.
– Before, I was more likely to base my opinions on information I had studied and read, Lumio says.
– However, in practice, things do not usually go the way they do in business textbooks. In fact, now the discussions had a completely different basis as everyone could justify their opinions with their strong experience in practical work.
Kalle Lumio also thinks that having work experience meant that the students' ability to learn – and above all apply what they had learned – is at a different level in the Master's degree studies than when they are younger:
– The ability to transfer the theories you have learned into practice is just what we develop during out studies in the Master’s Degree Programme. I think that this is where the strength of Master’s Degree Programme lies, he says.