Teamwork makes the dream work: five tips for working in international groups

At the University of Oulu, course assignments can have many different forms. In the Marketing degree programme, the courses do not end with any classic exams, but rather with learning diaries and group assignments. Group work is very enriching, as you can work together with students from different countries, study backgrounds and skills. After the first courses and group assignments, I would like to share with you my top five tips!
Entrance View of the University of Oulu

1. Get to know each other

For me, getting to know my fellow students is one of the most enriching aspects of group work. It gives you the chance to learn about your fellow students’ interests, work modes and characters and might even be the beginning of a friendship!

2. Find a common goal and idea

In order to have a smooth and learningful process, it is good to have common goals. In my group works, we were able to motivate each other by having a clear goal in mind. This goal can for example be based on what you want to achieve with the assignment. Common goals also make it easier to work on the idea of how to reach your goal!

Compared to my old university, the learning facilities on the campus in Oulu are much more modern and really motivating.

3. Embrace diversity

Our student community is very diverse, which means that you will work with people from very different cultures, study backgrounds, experiences and skills.

Therefore, every group work is a chance to learn from each other and the different ways we approach topics.

4. Find suitable communication channels

I highly recommend agreeing on common communication channels already at the beginning of your group work. Not everyone uses the same apps and platforms, which is why you should discuss openly what options are the easiest and most suitable for your group.

Overview of my group’s work for the course Service Marketing & Management.

5. Respect the schedule you agreed on

This aspect might seem easier for some and harder for others, as deadlines might have different roles in different cultures.

However, I figured that in Finland it is generally important to respect the given deadlines. Since you and your group partners might have many different time schedules, I would prefer setting “internal” deadlines for the group work as well to make sure the assignment is done in time - and without time pressure.

I hope that those tips help you to enjoy your group assignments as a very enriching experience during your studies!

Check out the master's degree programme in Marketing to find out more about what I study at the University of Oulu!

About the author

Vanessa Hylton is originally from Germany and studies Marketing at the Oulu Business School. She is a huge ABBA fan: Vanessa visited the ABBA museum in Stockholm three times and watched the 'Mamma Mia' musical on stage 18 times.