For Elizabeth Chan, studying international business at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences opened up a fascinating world of HR and marketing which created the perfect foundation for working with the marketing team at Sympa.

Growing up in Norway with Chinese parents, Elizabeth always had a sense of belonging to more than one culture. So she felt quite at home when she moved to Finland to study international business alongside classmates from all over the world. When she joined Sympa she found a similarly multicultural environment amongst colleagues from across the Nordics, the Baltics and the Netherlands.

“The Norwegian, Danish and Swedish Sympaticos often help one another with translations because the Scandinavian languages are so closely related,” she says. “One of my colleagues calls us ‘language sisters’, which I absolutely love!”

Towards the end of Elizabeth’s bachelor’s degree at Haaga-Helia she was looking for a role in HR and marketing, and noticed that Sympa had an open position to employ a Norwegian and English-speaking marketing coordinator working from Finland. “It truly was a perfect match and exactly what I was looking for,” she says. She started working at Sympa part-time, which gave her a great opportunity to put into practice the social media and digital marketing skills that she was learning at Haaga-Helia.

A welcoming work environment

Having studied HR she knew that good management can really improve employee experience and employee engagement. “I was pleased to find that Sympa leads by example, follows HR best practice and takes care of its employees,” she says.

There is a high degree of trust and I’m not micromanaged. My working hours are flexible and, even before the pandemic, I could choose when to work from the office and when to work from home.

At Sympa Elizabeth found a relaxed and friendly office environment with coffee breaks, fresh fruit and healthy snacks, and a foosball table. Foosball is an essential part of Sympa’s work culture. “Learning to play was even part of my onboarding process!” Elizabeth laughs. “I’ve found that it’s a great way to relieve stress. It’s good to give your mind a break from work occasionally.”

During her final semester at Haaga-Helia, Elizabeth wrote her thesis for Sympa on the topic of improving the recruitment process. To gather all the data she needed, she interviewed the recruitment managers and sent out a survey to Sympaticos about their candidate experience with Sympa. “I was taken aback by the response,” she says. “Everyone was very generous with their time and I got great input from both the interviews and the survey.” Sympa’s People and Culture department was impressed by her findings and asked her to present them to the company’s line managers.

Building bridges

When Sympa and Haaga-Helia announced that they were to collaborate on a project which included Sympa decorating a computer room for the university, Elizabeth was excited. “It was really nice to see Sympa’s designs in the group room that I had spent countless hours studying and working in with my classmates. It is wonderful that Sympa can provide students with a creative space to study and work on team projects,” she says. The collaboration also includes Sympaticos holding lectures to teach students about the HR tech scene in Finland.

I enjoyed the feeling that two parts of my world were intersecting in such a great way.

There are already a number of Haaga-Helia alumni working at Sympa, and it’s hoped that the joint project will encourage more to join. During the past year there have been two trainee positions open at Sympa that were both filled by students from Haaga-Helia, and Sympa expects to create more trainee positions in the future. “I remember one of the trainees saying that Sympa set the bar very high for her next employer,” Elizabeth says. “I have no doubt that students from Haaga-Helia will find Sympa to be a really interesting and inspiring place to work.”

Opening doors to future careers

Sympa is proud to collaborate with Haaga-Helia, a strongly business orientated university of applied sciences in Finland. Through education, research and development, Haaga-Helia prepares professionals for business and services while focusing on co-operation, entrepreneurship, innovation and internationality.>> Read more about Haaga-Helia

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