Students’ stories: “Practice meets theory”

​- Service design is a democratic tool that creates fairness and gives more power to citizens and users of services. It’s because of these particular qualities that I originally became interested in service design, explains Marte Sootholtet, a Master’s student at Laurea.

Marte Sootholtet, who lives in Oslo in Norway, began studying the Master’s programme in Service Innovation and Design in the autumn of 2014. Right now she is on maternity leave, but will continue her studies again in the coming autumn.

Marte holds a bachelor from the University of Oslo as well as the KaosPilot programme originally from Danmark, which focused on creative project management and facilitation of innovation projects. Two years ago she founded a company with her partner, In Good Company, which offers services related to user-centered innovation, facilitation and organisational development

-  At the same time I realised that it would be useful for me to gain more in-depth expertise in those areas. I knew a couple of colleagues who had studied service design at Laurea and they recommended applying to Laurea, Marte Sootholtet explains.

Useful for developing one’s own business, too

What Marte Sootholtet has especially liked about Laurea’s Degree Programme in Service Innovation and Design is the way it combines practice with academic theory. At the same time it has been easy to find points of view that are useful for developing her own business.

- I was surprised about how thoroughly we have discussed the theoretical background of service design, she says.
- Now I have a much better understanding of the paradigm influencing behind the tools, methods and concepts.

For Marte, one of the challenges in Master’s studies is how she can combine studying and running a business of her own. In practice this means that she has two full-time responsibilities to take care of in a period of 24 hours.

- Of course, my own company is always the first thing in my mind and studying is number two, Marte says.
- It is an advantage that the studies are useful in terms of managing my company. Otherwise it wouldn’t always be possible for an entrepreneur to reflect on long-term strategic matters this way in the middle of the daily routines. But through studying I gain that point of view quite naturally.

Flexible studies

Sootholtet has also been glad about how flexible and easy it has been to study in Finland. She visited Finland five times during her first year of studies.

- Naturally, the travelling requires that you plan everything carefully, but it was easy to arrange everything in practice, Marte says.
- The flight from Oslo to Helsinki only lasts an hour and a half. During contact sessions I used to always fly to Finland on a Wednesday evening and return home on Sunday.

In Finland Marte used to rent a flat through Airbnb with two other international students.

- Travelling here made it possible for me to concentrate entirely on studying instead of working and studying at the same time, she summarises.
- Now that I have a small son, I have to rethink how I organise my studies, of course. Fortunately, I have already got a lot of help from Laurea for finding out how I can complete my degree without travelling between Norway and Finland.


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

Modified 9/7/2016 12:55 PM

​Marte Sootholtet.