Laurence Lawson, IBL alumni
Laurence chose to study International Business Law at the University of Helsinki due to the reputation of the University, along with the scope of the course. “During my studies in the UK, I really enjoyed the idea of studying abroad after speaking with the Erasmus students there. I got along very well with the Finnish students and, when the opportunity to study full time in Finland became available, I took the chance. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made”.
Laurence obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Law in Birmingham, UK, but wanted to have a more specific topic for his Master’s degree. “The course itself is somewhat specific, with the focus being on International Business. The concept of academic freedom allowed me to narrow this down further, to truly hone in on one field”.
During his studies, Laurence found himself drawn to the concepts of law and digitisation, with a strong interest in Data Privacy Law. “I don’t think I would have had as much exposure to Information Law had I not joined the University of Helsinki and followed the advice of my Tutor who helped me settle in. He recommended we all take Information Law, and I was hooked after the first class. The field itself is growing so quickly, and you feel like you’re riding on the crest of a wave”
Laurence also enjoyed the academic freedom, which allowed him to take courses which you wouldn’t expect from an International Business Law course along with being a student tutor for both Erasmus and full time students. “Coming to Finland, I felt like knowing some of the language would be beneficial. As part of my course, I was able to take several courses in Finnish which have really helped me. I was also encouraged to take leadership courses and be a tutor myself, which all added to my course credits”.
During his second year of studies, Laurence began working as an in-house paralegal at a Finnish consultancy firm and is now a Data Privacy consultant with Deloitte. “Of course, finding work in Finland if you don’t speak the language can be hard. However, I feel like if you commit yourself to doing the best you can during the course, make the right connections, and put yourself out there, the language barrier isn’t too high”.
“I’d recommend everyone who is considering studying at the University of Helsinki to take the opportunity with both hands, and enjoy your time in Helsinki. The weather may be cold, but the study environment is warm!”
Pauliina Sutinen, IBL alumni:
"The IBL program is an extremely well-structured Master’s program for students interested in international aspects of business law. The program offers a variety of courses focused on, for example, banking, competition or IP law in the international and EU context.
In particular, I enjoyed the writing seminars on current and cross-discipline topics encouraging students to develop their legal writing and argumentation skills. These skills are essential not only in academics but also highly important in lawyers’ work.
After graduating from the IBL program in 2019, I started working as an associate lawyer in the finance team at Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd."
Andrea Falck, IBL alumni:
"My name is Andrea Falck and I am a second-year student at the IBLprogram at the University of Helsinki, graduating during spring 2019.
Concerning my Academic background, I have a previous Master’s degree within Economics and Business Administration from Hanken School of Economics, where I majored in Commercial Law. During my studies at Hanken, I mostly focused on Taxation Law.
I applied to the IBL-program in spring 2017, in order to gain a broader understanding of the field of Commercial Law. I have enjoyed my studies at the IBL-program very much. In addition to gaining a broader understanding of the field, I have also gotten a broad international network and friends for life. The program provides a wide range of different courses. Therefore I have gained experience from various different fields of law, such as Multijurisdictional Compliance and Maritime Law.
During the program, I have gotten the privilege to learn from experts in the field. Due to my previous professional experience from the financial industry and my interest towards Regulatory Compliance, I mostly focused on Compliance related courses during my studies. Currently I am working as a Compliance Officer for a Finnish bank. I believe that the IBL-program has supported me reaching my professional goals. I can warmly recommend the IBL-program for everyone with a special interest towards Business law."
Jack Pineda Dale, graduated in 2014, works for Microsoft as CEE MCE Commercial Attorney in Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs department
Top ranked university and living environment played a key role when Jack decided to apply to the University of Helsinki to study international business law. “Not only the University is one of the best in the world, but the city is fantastic. Small but cosmopolitan. You have the sea, the lakes, the forest. Just great!”
“The programme was great, with a lot of options as to what to choose. My thesis supervisor was amazing as well, he gave me so good advice in a topic which he was unrelated to. The study environment was as easy and welcoming as it gets. Second to none!
Jack valued especially the possibility to build one´s own study path: “The reality is that the spectrum of options you have is what makes the program great.”. The knowledge and skills he acquired during his studies are used every day at work. “I’m working at Microsoft and the program helped lots to understand EU law, especially when relating to privacy, competition and consumer law.“
“This program is a no-brainer. I’d do it again if I had the chance.”
Alexandra Shtromberg, second year IBL student
Follow Alexandra´s blog and learn more about the everyday life of IBL student: studying, internship, living in Helsinki and many more interesting stories.
Kristina van Nues, second year IBL student
Kristina chose to study International Business Law at Helsinki University because she wanted a truly international legal education. "After completing my Bachelor’s degree in England, I decided to move back to Finland. I was immediately drawn to Helsinki University’s academic reputation. I was also excited about the prospect of academic freedom at Helsinki. Academic freedom meant that I could focus on the areas of law in which I am most interested and prioritise independent academic research.”
“My educational background is rather international. I have attended school in the US, as well as international schools in Finland. I completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu before graduating with a B.A. in Law from the University of Oxford. “
“I found the studying environment at Helsinki University very welcoming and inclusive. The programme has complete academic freedom, apart from a set of mandatory courses. I actually found the mandatory courses very interesting as they provide students with a comprehensive overview of International Business Law.”
“Students in the programme can also take courses from the Finnish side, as well as courses in non-law related subjects even if they are being taught at Aalto or Hanken Universities. This freedom has been very useful for me as I have been able to learn substantive Finnish law whilst being able to maintain an international perspective. I have therefore been able to focus on my interests by taking part in a number of writing seminars and taking courses in areas of law that I would like to pursue professionally.”
“I have taken two particularly inspiring courses. The first was Financial Markets Law. In this course, we were required to read a number of articles and prepare an essay for each class which we then discussed with the group. This was a fascinating course because it allowed me to experience a new area of law which is of particular interest to me. The course provided me with a thorough overview of the subject, while also giving me the opportunity to research further into areas which interested me and argue theories in class. All of this was extremely useful when writing the seminar paper at the end of the course.”
“The second most inspiring course was A Practical Course in Film & Television Agreements. In addition to the in-class discussions, which were always quite lively, the lecturer in this course was particularly fantastic. He focused on teaching us how to act in a professional legal environment, gave us tips on negotiating and dealing with clients and taught us how to really think like a lawyer.”
“After graduation, I hope to use my international legal background to work for a Finnish law firm in Helsinki. I would also love to complete a Spartan Race and see the Northern Lights in Lapland.”
“I would encourage all prospective students to take advantage of the international student community here at Helsinki. And make sure that they bring warm (and waterproof) winter boots!”
Daniel Wyatt, second year IBL student
“I chose the University of Helsinki primarily because the quality of education here is undeniably the best in Finland. Because I wanted to study in Finland, UH was the only choice. Before beginning my studies at the University of Helsinki, I completed my Bachelor of Laws at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia and worked for a couple of years as a corporate lawyer. After graduation I would like to continue on to do my PhD at UH.”
Daniel finds the studying environment in Helsinki easy to adapt to: “One of the best parts of the IBL is the size of the intake. Because there are only 20 students in total accepted to the degree in any given academic year, it is easy to get to know everyone that you are studying with. The study atmosphere at UH is also very relaxed so it is very easy to quickly become comfortable and feel at home. “
One of the most interesting learning experiences so far has been the Nordic perspective. “Learning about the loose concept of ‘Nordic law’ has been one of the most engaging parts of my studies here.“
“Pursuing my IBL studies at UH has been incredibly enjoyable and I would recommend the experience to anybody. Helsinki is also an amazing city to live in and the benefits afforded to students in Finland are, as far as I am aware, some of the best in the world. “
Nailja Umbatova, second year IBL student
After having completed her Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of Manchester in the UK she valued the opportunity to continue her studies in English. Based on the international reputation and her strong interest in business law she applied to the University of Helsinki. She was attracted the wide variety of subjects on offer in the IBL program and the ability to tailor the program to suit her specific needs.
Nailja emphasize the importance of inspiring studying and living environment: “The local student community is very international, vibrant and welcoming. There are countless opportunities to get involved in various student clubs and societies. Also the city of Helsinki itself has plenty to offer.” She continues with an important note “Work hard on your studies but don't forget to enjoy all the amazing extracurricular opportunities that the university has to offer.“
Nailja greatly appreciates the large offer of seminar courses in the programme to practice writing skills “I particularly enjoyed completing my writing seminar in Nordic Business Law. It allowed me to practice my academic writing skills, which will come in handy in the process of writing my graduate thesis.”
Her plans after graduation are clear: she will start working as a lawyer at a corporate law firm in Helsinki.
A successful exchange study period in her home country made Anna-Maria Svinhufvud want to pursue a Master’s degree in International Business Law at the University of Helsinki.
Anna-Maria Svinhufvud completed her bachelor’s degree at the European Law School in Maastricht, the Netherlands. She made the unusual decision to apply for exchange studies in her home country of Finland.
“I was curious and wanted to learn more about Finnish academia and the Finnish legal system,” Svinhufvud says.
She completed most of her exchange studies in the Master’s Programme in International Business Law at the University of Helsinki. She enjoyed the atmosphere at the university and was happy with the courses available.
“Having got used to a quite strict schedule abroad, it was nice to have more freedom to tailor my studies in order to, for example, complete a traineeship,” Svinhufvud states.
Her exchange experience was so positive that she decided to apply to the Master’s Programme in International Business Law to complete a Master’s degree.
Interactive studies in an international atmosphere
When beginning her Master’s studies, Svinhufvud was a little worried whether she would get to know the other students, who had already studied together for years.
“But I quickly found out that a few dozen other new students had also begun their studies in the Master’s programme. The interactive studies also made it easier to get acquainted with everyone. Our subject-specific student organisation Pykälä also organises many events that connect you to the student community.”
The Master’s Programme in International Business Law is a genuinely international programme, in terms of both teachers and students.
“My experience has been that an international atmosphere contributes to discussions in lectures and a wider perspective on the topics of teaching,” Svinhufvud notes.
During her studies, Svinhufvud has also been involved in the Legal Tech Lab organised by the University of Helsinki. Its activities are based on diverse and, in some cases, interdisciplinary research projects that focus on law and technology.
“I began at the Legal Tech Lab as a volunteer member in spring 2018. It’s been incredibly educational to be involved in the Lab activities while studying, and I’ve met some great people! My studies have enabled me to participate in unique and topical projects,” Svinhufvud enthuses.
A diverse and flexible degree programme opens doors to employment
Svinhufvud has now studied in the Master’s Programme in International Business Law for a few years and is happy with her choice.
“The courses offered to students reflect the diverse skills of the teachers, and the range of, in particular, optional studies has been very broad,” she states.
In addition to her Master’s studies and activities at the Legal Tech Lab, Svinhufvud has also completed traineeships in her field.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how easily I have been able to combine traineeships with studies, while also earning optional-studies credits through the traineeships. Many courses have supported my professional duties and vice versa.”
Svinhufvud believes that the Master’s Programme in International Business Law is suitable for students from a range of backgrounds.
“The University of Helsinki’s student advisers help you to plan your studies. And based on the experiences of my friends and acquaintances, the job prospects for graduates are quite extensive.”
Svinhufvud has not yet decided on her future career path, but she has for a long time dreamed of working in conflict resolution.
“It would be interesting to assist companies in resolving conflicts by using the methods best suited to their needs. I would also like to continue to learn about the use of technology in legal practice.”
In autumn 2018, Svinhufvud was completing a traineeship at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.