A year of balance and quality

The 2017 year of operation was characterised by celebrations. Finland celebrated her 100 years of independence, and Haaga-Helia, Finland’s first university of applied sciences founded through a merger of institutes of higher education, turned 10 years. We marked this occasion with ten events aimed at different stakeholders, such as a cake and coffee get-together with students, a cinema viewing for the personnel, and a dinner for partners organised on the Haaga campus. We promoted Haaga-Helia’s visibility in a number of ways and received plenty of positive publicity. Our assistant study offering celebrated the 50th anniversary.

In terms of policies affecting higher education, the year was complex. In the national rhetoric, instead of emphasising the need for savings, the focus shifted to the future horizons and a new vision for education and research. The overall atmosphere emanated budding optimism for growth, instead of pessimism. The strategic alliance of three universities of applied sciences in the Helsinki metropolitan area – Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia – launched its operations in selected areas, and we jointly established EduExcellence Ltd. to promote education exports.

Overall, the academic results were good. A special leap forward happened in the operational volume of the Open University of Applied Sciences and in the number of students earning 55 credits. The year was successful financially as well. Although our budget at the beginning of the year was in the red, it is already showing a slight profit as I am writing this. Key aspects in the change of direction included the strict recruitment policy, hard work, and the Haaga-Helia team spirit. I would also like to extend special thanks to our middle and top management for the results achieved.

We continued our well-functioning cooperation with students and the student union Helga. Student representatives participated in all of our key events, and for the first time, they also attended the performance and target negotiations conducted with the Ministry of Education and Culture. This is natural – at Haaga-Helia, students are always our focus.

We carried on personnel’s continuing education, and in the autumn, we began the Kohtaamo coaching programme covering the entire personnel. The key objective of the programme is to increase cooperation. I want to thank all Haaga-Helia employees who together have had the courage to step outside the traditional box and expand their old roles.

We also made progress in our RDI activities to pursue and achieve growth in the coming years. The baseline was that every Haaga-Helia employee should participate in the RDI activities in some capacity. The campuses redefined their competence areas together, and work will continue with a focus on competence and the future. Haaga-Helia is a solid, contemporary institution but also ahead of its time – just as an institute of higher education should be.

In our Commercial Services, the favourable development continued. Haaga-Helia is particularly well-known for its active approach in education exports. We continued training teachers in South Africa and carried out several project in China and Latin America. As a new initiative, we sold the International Business degree to Mexico, where we established a Haaga-Helia satellite without any investment in infrastructure. Haaga-Helia was also one of the first universities of applied sciences in Finland to begin fund-raising operations.

Strategically, the year was a success. We passed the international audit of our quality system and, in accordance with our mission, opened doors to the working life and also kept these doors open. We exceeded the threshold of one hundred partner companies, which demonstrated that Haaga-Helia was a valued partner. In accordance with our vision, we are involved in exciting projects – whether they concern the Nordic Business Forum or the European Championships in basketball.

We prepared and launched extensive projects supporting resource planning, which covered student administration, teachers’ resource management, project management and the HR function.

Just as in the previous years, cooperation with our owners was open and straight-forward. The Helia Foundation supported our operations to the tune of several hundred thousand euros, which enabled us to carry out facility projects, organise numerous work placement periods for teachers as well as carry out targeted RDI projects, among other things. The Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce (HRCC) donated one million euros to Haaga-Helia and Helsinki Business College for the two-year Yritystä uralle! entrepreneurship promotion project. I would like to extend my special thanks for these donations, which support our core operations.

The year 2017 brought us a lot of success and new initiatives. All this was made possible by a wealth of solid commitment and a lot of hard work, for which I would like to thank our student union, our skilled personnel and our partners. Together, you are Haaga-Helia.

Teemu Kokko