Cross cultural team work

Posted on 2016-01-11 11:05:59 EET.

When Leo Kuzmin heard that the course assignment would be for Wärtsilä he was really excited because this was the first time during his international business studies to be working with a real company.

–It was also a bit scary: we thought it’s a tough challenge for us, says Louis Mensah Nkruhmah who worked in the same team as Leo.

Wärtsilä had given the students of the course Business-to-Business Marketing questions to be answered. One of them was how to define the concept thought leadership in industrial business-to-business marketing.

–We started with team building and gathering general information for Wärtsilä, says Minh Tran Nhat.

The team quickly noticed they were making a lot more effort in this course because of a customer. According to Leo this made them feel more responsible. The students appreciated lecturer Heidi Hellström’s guidance and motivation during the course.

–She encouraged us to be creative and although Heidi’s deadlines were tough, she made us work hard. Time management was an issue as other courses couldn’t be ignored. The deadlines were stressful and we found ourselves working on the project for hours one Sunday night.

Apart from theory the team has learned project management and cross cultural communication. The members of this team come from Vietnam, Russia, Ghana, Finland and Belgium. Leo and Louis say that they found the process of listening to each other’s opinions important.

–We learned to use each other’s strengths, for example: Toni is good with details.

The hard work and presentation rehearse paid off as Wärtsilä’s representatives were particularly pleased with this dynamic team’s efforts.

–This project with VAMK provided us with new ideas and an external view on thought leadership – a topic that is very current at the moment in our organization, says Jukka-Pekka Niemi, General Manager of Wärtsilä Energy Solutions Marketing.

He also sees this kind of cooperation as a chance to meet potential future employees from all over the world.

Application period for the bachelor programmes in English is 8 January  - 27 January 2016 at the address


Heidi Hellström motivated, encouraged and drove the teams to work hard. Toni Nyberg, Leo Kuzmin, Minh Tran Nhat, Louis Mensah Nkrumah and Estelle Damsin all come from different countries.


General Manager Jukka-Pekka Niemi and Marketing Manager Sarah Väre from Wärtsilä are discussing their feedback.

Text and photos: Pia Liedes