Graduation Speech: “Every End Has a New Beginning.”

I graduated from the Oulu Business School on 29.10.2015. As an international student, I was asked to give a speech from a graduating student's perspective. Below is the speech that I had prepared for the event. Thank you for taking time to read this and giving me an opportunity to share my experience. :D
Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am Bimala Chapagain, an International business student from Nepal. As nervous as I am standing here today I am also proud to be sharing my experiences with you all.

First of all I would like to congratulate all of the students here including myself for finally graduating.

Every end has a new beginning. Today might be the last day for some of us as students of business school, but I believe our learning will actually start from today. When I left home, 3 years back I wasn't sure what I will get in return. I was excited but at the same time a little scared of the new reality. Finland was the first country, outside Nepal, that I would be living on my own.  I was prepared to learn, explore, make new friends and get to know me as an individual self. Before Finland, there was always someone to guide me, my teachers in schools, my elders and my mom. But here I was starting a journey where I set the rules and guided myself. It had finally occurred to me that I had to leave my comfort zone and live a new reality. But today as I stand here, I am proud to say that I had made the right decision to come to Finland.

Life in Finland has been like coming out of the bed and landing on the couch. Finland has truly been my second home because I have had some amazing people as friends in this country. The environment and the people of this country are so welcoming and helpful that you don't feel away from home (but yes, they do take time to open up, and it is upon us international students that we behave in a friendly and open manner and not make the Finns uncomfortable with our presence). The good experiences that I got here of course does not imply that I did not have to face my share of discomfort and challenge, but its these challenges that has made me a stronger and more confident person today.

Every little encounters and experiences gained here in Finland has been enriching and will remain within my memories for life long. Be it taking part in Demola project, Oulu ses projects, selling foods in ravintola päivä or the internship projects.

Talking from a graduating student's perspective, I believe the stories created beyond the boundaries of the University have been equally helpful to the graduates. Everyone here has had their own share of excitement and stories that they will carry along their life. As a student of Oulu Business School, I have had a very different experience. The teaching style, the lectures, were very different from what I had experienced in my home country, and therefore for the first quarter of my semester, I was still a confused soul. I didn’t really understand the procedure, even though I attended each lectures. For me the initial challenge was always to locate my next lecture hall. I was late almost every day in the lectures because no matter how many times I looked into the map, I still couldn't figure out the lecture halls, and sometimes I simply overslept because outside was too dark for me to believe that it was time to wake up. This slowly changed and I started adjusting to the system here because I had friends and professors who were eager to help and guide me and for that I am really grateful.

The best thing about the education system here in Finland is that they let you choose your own speed, you are not judged by the scores in your grade-sheet. The various current-issue studies, the case works, group works the research projects, the assignments, each were helping me develop skills, which of-course at that time I wasn't ready to accept. Various network groups of Oulu Business School such as business Kitchen, the Oulu SES, Demola were other sources that were helping us to practically implement our knowledge. The practical approach here in the education system is what makes the business school a world class choice for international students like me. Thank you for improving every day, and helping us be in align with the current market condition through your developed policies. The university paying for the internships that students undertake during their time of study shows how the university seeks to help provide the students with practical knowledge. All the efforts from the student unions, student tutors, professors, career consultants helps make a student feel at home.

I would also like to specially mention the “Kummi-family” culture that the university has adopted to help the international student learn the cultures of the Finnish society.
The Oulu Business School has been adopting various change models to upgrade their standards every day and this is very commendable, but at the same time I would also like to suggest that the business school help the students connect with the businesses for internships and or on-campus hiring. It is difficult to even get an internship for international students, so if the university provided students with networking opportunities with companies that hire business students to be specific, it would help us practically implement our learnings and build a career. One might say that there is a networking day called the "Pesti-Päivä", but in these three years’ time, I have realized that in this day, companies are only looking for engineers and not business students.

My request to Finnish Business houses and start-ups: Don't just hire engineers, engineers are good at building products, but business graduates are better at selling those ideas. If not then we wouldn't be spending our precious years to studying business, we would all be engineers.

International universities provide an opportunity for both national and international students to network, share each other's culture, and make this world a global village. This is a huge opportunity for us students. Let us not just keep the friendship within the case or group assignments but help each other build bilateral trade/business relations with our respective countries. For example I am from Nepal, and I could help you take your business to Nepal (even though I may not directly be involved with your business) I can help you connect with the right persons and also help you understand the business culture, similarly any other student from another country can help us do the same, if we plan to internationalize our business. International business schools are all about networking, so let's maximise that purpose. Let us use our differences to the benefit of all.

Finally congratulations once again and wish us good luck with the future ahead. Have a great day. :D

Bimala Chapagain
Master's Programme in International Business Management


Last updated: 5.11.2015

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