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Exchange Program: Aalto University

Helsinki, Finland

Aalto University was formed after a merger of several top Finnish universities in January 2010. The merger included the Helsinki School of Economics, the University of Art and Design Helsinki, and the Helsinki University of Technology. With a combined population of over 6,000 students, Aalto is the largest institution of its kind in Finland. Specifically in the School of Economics, approximately 100 visiting international professors teach programs each year. Courses are offered in Management, Marketing, Economics, Accounting, Finance, and Languages. The University has actively adopted modern teaching methods and increased student involvement in the teaching and learning process. Presentation, teamwork, and communication skills are emphasized in teaching.

The School

Aalto University School of Economics is a renowned business school in the heart of Helsinki. They pride themselves on a truly international faculty and student body. The MBA program is consistently in the top European and global rankings. Students’ enjoy many benefits at Aalto, from subsidized meals in the campus building, buddy pairing for exchange students, an active student union and sports facilities. Exchange students are permitted to work up to 24 hours a week, and have access to the career services office.

Read The Economist article about Aalto’s Entrepreneurship.

The City

Helsinki is the nation’s capital and is certainly more lively as the warm weather sets in. There are many theatres, museums, shopping areas, clubs and bars. Travel throughout Finland is easy due to the extensive train system. Finland is known for its cutting edge style in fashion and home decoration. It is also home to Nokia, one of the world’s most popular brands of digital phones. Residents are highly educated, polite and open up quickly to outsiders once they get to know you.

Term Dates

Period 1: Early September – Late October
Period 2: Late October – Mid December
Period 3: Early January – Late February
Period 4: Early March – Mid April
Period 5: Mid-April – Late May

Courses Available

All courses taught in English, mostly by visiting faculty from around the world. Students with some professional experience can take courses from the part-time or full-time MBA program. Course timetable enables exchange students to enter and leave at any time or take a 2-4 week break in the middle of their studies, if desired. Most interesting courses (“electives”) seem to be offered in summer months from March-August. Exchange students are encouraged to take the course ‘Finnish Language and Culture Introduction,’ a well-received and fun course to those new to Finland.


English at school, Finnish around town (although many Finns speak English quite well).

Grade Conversion

Aalto GradeAalto DescriptionUF AssignmentGrad Business
D, D-, D+, FFailEU
B-High PassBS
BHigh PassBS
B+High PassB+S
Compl.Completed WorkSS

Grading scale: A through F, allowing for (+) and (-) assignments

Credit Conversion

Refer to ECTS credit conversions.

Minimum Credit Requirements

30 ECTS credits (equivalent to 15 UF credits) per semester is the normal workload; students can take less with home university approval.




The International Office helps exchange students find housing for those who come for a semester. It is more difficult to arrange for just one 2-week period. It is easier to arrange housing independently in the spring semester. Also, there are many apartments within the city.

Travel Opportunities

Helsinki is the leading seaport and industrial city of the nation. Helsinki lies in the far south of the country, on a peninsula that protrudes into the Gulf of Finland. Its green parks and waterways, fresh sea winds, and numerous open-air cafés make Helsinki a lovely place to visit in summer. Suomenlinna Island, in the Gulf of Finland, is perfect for day trips and picnics, is linked by a bridge and ferry to Helsinki. For those who appreciate great architecture, Helsinki’s three main churches are sure to please. The Russian Orthodox Cathedral, with its gilded cupolas, hovers over the harbor and Market Square. The Lutheran Cathedral is neoclassical design at its best, with a prominent green dome and pristine interior. The Church of the Rock, blasted out of solid rock, is capped by a copper dome, and filled with music. From Helsinki you can take the ferry to Latvia, Estonia, and Stockholm. Helsinki is approximately 5 hours from St. Petersburg.