IB Today checked in with one of JAMK University of Applied Science’s alumni, Hendrik Morkel, who graduated from JAMK in January 2007. After graduating, Hendrik continued his education by getting a Master’s degree in Corporate Environmental Management at the University of Jyväskylä, and in January 2009 he founded his own company, Korpi Consulting.
IB Today: How did your studies in IB affect your career options after graduation?
Hendrik Morkel: I saw my studies at International Business as a good basis on which to develop myself further, and specialize in the environmental management area. The studies give a very solid foundation, and our set of skills is an important one in the Finnish economy, though I felt I wanted to specialize further into one area. I think that IB is very good at bringing the students together with the businesses in the region, and help them to network. For foreigners in Finland it is very important to network and establish connections with companies before they graduate, and that’s something IB knows and does well.
IBT: What was most helpful, in terms of courses?
HM: Generally, I found all the courses useful, except some language courses which were of mediocre quality! I found the accounting classes especially useful, as well as the Hi-tech Management program and the strategic management classes. A good part of those studies are the “XY as a Market area” courses, they give a great understanding how some countries work and what is important in doing business there. Also the law courses give a good glimpse into the subject, and our teacher at the time was great at making the topic interesting and comprehensible.
IBT: Were there any courses you wished you could have studied?
HM: I wished there would have been more courses about social and environmental matters, for example about Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management. These are important topics nowadays, and I am interested in them. I found them at Jyväskylä University, though. However, some basic course giving the student a good grasp about the topic would have been useful.
IBT: What sorts of opportunities were available to you once you graduated?
HM: I worked at Stafix Oy as an Account Manager for the DACH Region, and implemented for them the WWF Green Office. I felt that this was really my cup of tea, and I left the company to pursue my studies full-time and develop my knowledge in the area. The University gives you only so much knowledge, but to really master the subject you need to study extensively by yourself.
IBT: Was it always your career plan to start your own business after graduation?
HM: Yes and no. I always felt that it would be interesting to start my own business and be my own boss – my parents and grandparents were entrepreneurs, so it runs in the family! I was working in 2008 at an Environmental Consultancy for over half a year, but my boss was very busy with other projects – the nvironmental consultancy was a side project – and he decided to concentrate for the moment on his other ventures. Because I had a client who wanted my services, I decided to start my own company.
IBT: Could you please tell us about your business and the services you offer?
HM: My business Korpi Consulting is an environmental management and business consultancy, and I specialize in helping Small and Medium Enterprises. I offer my clients help them to implement an Environmental Management System (EMS) or acquire an Environmental Label, like the Joutsenmerkki or the EU-Flower. Because the area is still so new, it involves a lot of education of management and staff about what I am doing and how it affects them. I help the client choose the right EMS or label for their company or product, and then do work behind the scenes: Doing an Initial Environmental Review (IER) of the company, designing and writing an environmental statement and an environmental program, educating the staff further and seeing the client through the audit and/or certification process. At times you really need to stand behind the client and check that he’s doing what he’s supposed to do, whereas on the other hand you have clients who are very motivated, and it can’t go fast enough.
I decided that I want to offer EMSs and Environmental Labels which are well-known, and not design my own EMS – I believe that it’s better to use the good established systems and labels instead of dispersing the market with my own system which is unknown and thus of little value to the client and their stakeholders.
The Environmental Management Systems I offer are the WWF Green Office, EMAS easy, ISO 14.001 and EMAS. On the label side, I offer the Joutsenmerkki and the EU-Flower. In the near future I will add a few more services like Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and some new additions to the ISO side.