My academic path has been a quite logical one, but also a non-standard one. I did my first level education in the US, then moved to Finland. After an over twenty year pause, the time was right to start studying again. Many factors came together. In 2013, I was accepted to Metropolia UAS. In a little over a year, I had a Master’s degree in Healthcare Business Management. This degree complimented my past education and also my work, and I was able to write my thesis about clinical decision support systems. I have benefitted in my work as a researcher in R&D at a large medical device manufacturer with the strong and interconnected foundations from Metropolia.
I have been continually surprised by the discussions in Finland about the “value” of one Master’s degree type of the other. I came to Finland in the very early 1990’s from the US, and was already then surprised by the amount of bureaucracy and “it cannot be done this way” mentality that was present in many places. Many things have become easier over time, or else I have gotten used to them, but the changing of attitudes is one thing which appears to always take time.
Throughout the time at Metropolia, I had nothing but good experiences both academically as well as collegially. I was greatly assured when I found out that the ECTS accreditation system is universal in Europe, and the points awarded are standardized for meaning. Due to this accreditation system, no one should be able to say that their ECTS are better than someone else’s. How you accumulate the points in terms of course choice and overall grade is another story, but that is a personal issue. If two Master’s students have 100 ECTS, the GPA should be the determining factor, not the institution they are in. (For more information)
During the last half of my studies, I discussed with my thesis supervisor Kaija Matinheikki-Kokko, a PhD herself, that I was interested to continue my studies; I wanted to go onwards and continue. I had overachieved grade-wise, so it was clear that the work was doable. The learning bug had bitten me and I did not want it to end when I received my papers in December. I understood that it was not a common path to study for a PhD, it was more common to accumulate Master’s Degrees. I did not want another Master’s Degree. I wanted to work towards a PhD and this became my goal. Since the system has been (artificially) built in Finland so that a PhD at UAS level is not possible, I had to look at other options.
The path from UAS Master to PhD student was not easy, but it was possible. It demanded persistence, hard work and boldness from me.
To find out the rest of the story, follow this link to my new blog:
Kristina Leppälä, UEF PhD student and Metropolia UAS graduate