Nordic Business Forum’s Collaboration With Students
The mission of Nordic Business Forum is to empower leaders to change the world. Through our yearly business conferences and other content solutions, we are driven to equip and inspire business leaders to lead themselves, their teams, and their businesses better. We believe that this is the best and most efficient way for our company to make a positive impact on the world.
Since the early years of Nordic Business Forum (founded in 2008), we’ve also engaged with students who are at the beginning of their studies and careers. We’ve worked closely with universities of applied sciences to offer an opportunity for their students to be a part of the Nordic Business Forum events’ customer service team to learn, gain real-life work experience, and progress with their studies at the same time.
In the early years of Nordic Business Forum, we collaborated with students of Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences (JAMK), and after the event moved from Jyväskylä to Helsinki in 2014, with Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences (Haaga-Helia). In 2023, we also piloted a collaboration with 3AMK, which is an alliance between three universities of applied sciences Haaga-Helia, Laurea, and Metropolia, expanding this opportunity to even more students.
This NBF opportunity is only available for students from the chosen collaboration universities who can use this experience for advancing their studies as a part of their degree. The content and learning outcomes of this work-based project module have been planned with and approved by the education professionals responsible for the study offering at Haaga-Helia, our official partner university of applied sciences.
Nordic Business Forum as a Work-Based Project at Haaga-Helia
Nordic Business Forum organizes annual, large-scale business conferences in Helsinki with world-renowned keynote speakers and with up to 7 600 business leaders attending the 2-day event in person. In recent years, around 20 000 people have additionally been participating in the event through a live stream.
Participating in a Nordic Business Forum event production provides an opportunity for students to learn skills in a real-life working environment instead of a classroom. The recruitment process, training sessions, preparations ahead of the event, and contributing to the event days in customer service roles are all part of the learning experience. NBF organizes three 4-hour trainings for the students during the weeks preceding the event, where the participating students will learn about the event, its customer experience approach, and how to perform their respective customer service roles.
NBF will pay students a salary for the hours they participate in preparing and executing the event at Messukeskus (for more details, see the Q&A document below). In addition, students working at the event will receive academic credits according to the relevant University of Applied Sciences course. The content of this work-based project has been reviewed with Haaga-Helia. It prepares students not only for the NBF event but also for principles and best practices in creating customer experiences in event environments in general. All students who complete the required parts of this module (including participation in the NBF event team, see Haaga-Helia’s course description) will receive 3 academic credits (3 ECTS) for this achievement. Warm meals and snacks will be provided on event days, and students will have the opportunity to deepen their learning experience by watching the presentations of NBF event speakers via video stream and/or recordings.
NBF Leadership Program for Team Leaders
Feedback From the Students
Every year we ask for feedback from the students and other parties involved and keep developing and improving the collaboration. Here are some results from the 2023 student survey (84% response rate, on a scale from 1-weak to 6-excellent):
Watch the 2023 Students Aftermovie
References and Recommended Reads
Nordic Business Forum enables learning in a real working environment
At Haaga-Helia, studies are conducted in a variety of learning environments. One example of this is the Nordic Business Forum, where Haaga-Helia students have the opportunity to work – and learn – in different roles within the event’s customer service teams.
Learning has left the classroom (a long time ago)
Contact for Enquiries
Chief Customer Experience Officer - Nordic Business Forum
+358 50 480 1055
CEO, President - Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
What led to the decision to pay students a salary?
NBF has been collaborating with Haaga-Helia since 2015. Student cooperation related to NBF events has been conducted according to Haaga-Helia’s practices and recommendations, and it has been further developed each year based on feedback received from students.
The pedagogy of the University of Applied Sciences includes work-oriented learning, where learning at work is an important method of learning. According to Haaga-Helia, with a few exceptions, companies typically haven’t paid students a salary for short-term work-based learning projects, such as NBF.
The NBF event project requires student participation on four days (two preparation days and two event days) and three training sessions in the weeks leading up to the event. (See more information below.)
On the other hand, for longer internships (lasting several weeks or months), Haaga-Helia recommends paying students a salary (see Haaga-Helia’s website.)
NBF has evaluated this matter together with Haaga-Helia over the years and actively collected feedback from students every year.
For the NBF 2023 event taking place in the autumn of 2023, NBF has decided to test a new approach: NBF will pay students a salary for the hours they participate in preparing and executing the event at Messukeskus. In addition, students working at the event will receive academic credits according to the relevant University of Applied Sciences course, warm meals and snacks will be provided on event days, and they will have the opportunity to deepen their learning experience by watching the presentations of NBF event speakers via video stream and/or recordings.
After the NBF 2023 event, the results and impact of this new approach will be evaluated based on feedback from students and other collected data.
How much salary will be paid to students?
Students will be paid €9.00/hour for their participation in preparing and executing the NBF event at Messukeskus. The hourly wage is based on reference wages for students from some restaurant chains. These chains often use a compensation of €11.16/hour based on the Collective Agreement for the Hospitality Industry (see Mara). The recommended pay for students is 80% of this amount.
Will students be paid for the training prior to the work period?
Before the NBF event, all team members will undergo tailored training (3 x 4 hours) aimed at familiarizing students with the principles of creating great customer experiences, successful team practices, and the details, procedures, and practical tasks related to the NBF event.
In the curriculum offered by Haaga-Helia and 3AMK (see Haaga-Helia’s course description and 3AMK’s course description), learning about work is part of the studies, which practically equates to classroom learning. Students are not paid for classroom learning.
The content of the trainings has been reviewed with Haaga-Helia and prepares students not only for the NBF event but also for principles and best practices in creating customer experiences in event environments in general. All students who complete the required parts of this study module (including participation in the NBF event team, see Haaga-Helia’s course description) will receive 3 academic credits (3 ECTS) for this achievement.
Is it required for students to use or acquire their own work outfit?
Participation in the NBF event requires the entire team to wear a uniform seminar outfit. If a student does not have the required attire, Nordic Business Forum will cover the cost of renting the necessary outfit.
Can international students still participate?
Yes. Students coming from within the EU have the right to work in Finland without restrictions. Students coming from outside of the EU have the right to work unrestrictedly in relation to their degree. Additionally, as part of their residence permit related to studies, they have limited rights to work up to 30 hours per week (on average). This limit can be temporarily exceeded as long as the average working hours at the end of the year do not exceed 30 hours per week. See Migrin’s website.