Story of a Master’s Degree alumnus: “Further studies get you going”

​- I’m sure it was easy for me to start studying, coming in from working for a long time on in a new, constantly developing field, digitisation of health care services, says Hanna Iisalo, who has completed a Master’s Degree at Laurea.

Hanna Iisalo started her studies in the English-language Master’s Degree Programme in Health Promotion in 2012. She completed her master’s degree on Christmas 2014.

Originally, Iisalo had completed a vocational physiotherapy degree in the 80s, and at the turn of the millennium, she updated her degree in the University of Applied Sciences. Hanna currently works as a sales manager in a health care eService company, and knowledge of a Master’s Degree gave her the enthusiasm to go back to school.

- I’ve been working on health care eServices for a long time now, and the eHealth focused Master’s Degree programme fit me like a glove, she says.
- And eHealth services isn’t just about the information systems. It also requires understanding of how health care services work and how the systems can be integrated into the services.

As well as all that, Hanna was motivated by a thirst for knowledge and a desire to develop something new.

- I believe that anyone working in digitisation wants to develop this field, she continues.
- Especially in health care, where the challenges in Finland are mounting due to an aging population and reduced funds.

“Studying gives you time to observe the trends”

Hanna Iisalo noticed during her Master’s studies that studying was much easier for her than before, especially when talking about theories. Having extensive working experience in the field helps the pieces you learn while studying fall into place in a completely different way. At the same time, I get to see my own field from a larger perspective.

- While working, you tend to be looking just forward, without any time to look around yourself, Hanna says.
- Studying gave me better opportunities to observe various silent trends that influence my field and my work.

The main thing that surprised Iisalo in her studies was getting to know service design.

- That’s when I realised how service design methods could be the way to have a new approach to developing customer-focused digital services, says Hanna.

Her thesis was also among the things that has actually helped her in her work. The subject of her thesis was developing an eHealth treatment model for new types of chronic illnesses. The degree programme being in English also boosted her language skills.

It takes persistence to combine work and school

Hanna Iisalo completed her Master’s Degree studies while working. She admits that there are challenges in combining the two.

- Scheduling was an important factor in this equation. You have to know how to be persistent and simply make the time for studying in your day, she says.
- On the other hand, I'm over 50 years old and my children are already grown-ups. In a sense, that made it possible for me to study after work.

Iisalo is keen to encourage other 50+ year olds to study:

- Many start thinking, when they reach this age, what they want to be and what is the thing that’ll keep them working for another 15 years. Studying, to me, is exactly the ticket to being able to go on, says Hanna Iisalo encouragingly.
- You should never think that maybe you’re too old.


Application period for Degree programmes taught in English from january 8th until January 27th. Learn more about the Bachelor's programmes in English here.

Modified 1/15/2016 3:18 PM

​Hanna Iisalo.