Cultural work and teamworking in an international workshop

Posted on 2016-03-29 10:12:52 EEST.

An International and Cross-Functional Workshop in Energy Business took place at VAMK premises on 7-11 March 2016. The aim was to co-operate in an international team and integrate the competences of students from the fields of international business and technology.


Altogether 14 mechanical engineering and 25 international business students attended the workshop.

The workshop was planned and implemented as cooperation between Mechanical and Production Engineering and International Business study programs at VAMK and University of Applied Management Studies Mannheim, as one of our Erasmus-partners. The responsible organizers were Lotta Saarikoski, Head of Mec. Eng. Degree Program and Satu Lautamäki, Principal Lecturer, IB Degree Program.

Students had the opportunity to listen to the international experts and company representatives. As lecturers we had General Manager Pauliina Palomäki (Wärtsilä Ship Power), Director Britt-Mari Kullas-Nyman (Retrofit, Ship Power Environmental Solutions Wärtsilä), Hospitality Manager Miko Heinilä (Kyrö Distillery), professor Dolores Sanchez-Bengoa (University of Applied Management Studies Mannheim), professor Hans-Rüdiger Kaufmann (University of Applied Management Studies Mannheim) ja Head of Mec. Eng. Degree Programme Lotta Saarikoski (VAMK). The main topics shared and discussed were customer orientation, international brand development, the dynamics of project teams and cross-cultural communication.

Competence from different fields

The students were divided into teams, with engineering students from VAMK and IB students from VAMK and Mannheim. Each team did a project plan to export and market Nordautomation’s Ekohell product to a foreign country. The purpose was to define potential customer segments, analyze the business environment in the target country and make a preliminary entry strategy to this country.

Students seemed to appreciate the workshop as they gave very positive feedback, and they felt skills in teamwork and cross-cultural communication had developed further during the week. When asked how to improve the event, a general comment was to have more time for the workshop than five days.

- We can be proud of our students working intensively for five days and making their project presentations in the end of the week, comments Satu Lautamäki.

The best teams were rewarded with small prizes and the week was finished with coffee and cake service.

- We can only recommend it as an experience. Cooperation with international guests was very fruitful and we hope to organize a shared European workshop in the future as well, says Lotta Saarikoski.


Each team prepared a project plan and marketing materials, which were presented at the end of the workshop.


A company visit was organized to Kyrö Distillery. One of the founders, Hospitality Manager Miko Heinilä presented the company and its activities with international brand development.

Text: Lotta Saarikoski and Satu Lautamäki
Photos: Lotta Saarikoski