Jan, In a human environment

While employed as an industrial engineer in his native country of Germany, Jan Hermes started entertaining the idea of an extensive study package in economics. Exploring various alternatives both in Germany and abroad, Hermes came across the Master’s programme in International Business offered by Oulu Business School.

”My background in engineering did not lend itself to most of these programmes, but the one in Oulu required no prior degree in economics,” Hermes recalls. And, although he is German, a streak of Finnish blood runs through the family.

Oulu was not really familiar to him, but everything he heard about the town was positive. He began his studies here in 2009. ”The University of Oulu has an open and friendly atmosphere, everyone speaks English, and you don’t feel like a stranger at all.”

After completing his two-year Master’s programme, Hermes briefly considered returning to working life, but then his supervisor recommended that he continue his studies. “When my professor encouraged me to pursue a PhD, I started thinking about an academic career.” At the moment, Hermes is busy researching network theory and business ethics.

Jan Hermes maintains that the University of Oulu is an outstanding place for an international student. “There are several organizations here that take care of international students. Teaching is provided in English, and all people are so welcoming.”

He is particularly taken by the genuine sense of communality that prevails at the university. “There is less hierarchy here than in Germany. Students and professors can work together to promote teaching and research. We’re all equal in a humane environment.”

Uncertain though his future plans may be, one thing Hermes is sure of. “Finland will always be a part of me. And who knows, maybe I’ll end up staying here”, he laughs.

Juho Karjalainen, photo: Juha Sarkkinen

Last updated: 13.8.2012