Archive for November, 2012

This is open to all JAMK alumni as well!  Take advantage of a great opportunity !

Taken from:

China study programme is 9-day programme organized at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. PolyU was ranked among the top 30 Asian universities in 2010.

During your stay you will attend different lectures mostly economy-oriented. It also includes factory visits in Shenzhen (China). You will acquire knowledge about Hong Kong, business communication in China, negotiation strategies in Asia, management and marketing in China and much more.

Course Programme

Tentative schedule

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


  • Hotel Harbour Plaza Metropolis
  • Location: heart of Kowloon, overlooking the spectacular Victoria Harbour, 5-minute walking distance from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Single or twin rooms


The following costs will be paid by the participant:

  • Twin room including breakfast about 70 € per day
  • Single room including breakfast 150 € per day
  • Flights 995 € including transportation to and from hotel
  • Tuition fee Hong Kong Polytechnic University 1200 € per person (minimum 10 participants)
  • Administrative fee JAMK University of Applied Sciences 250 €.
  • Visa for China Factory visits in Shenzhen about 60 €


Selection process for the China Programme – Business Environment in Hong Kong and China is done at the home institution. All the applicants must be accepted by their home institution when applying to this course. The application period will end on January 18th, 2013. All the applicants will be contacted via email for further information after the application period by the course coordinator.

Before filling out the online application please get your passport and be prepared to write you motivation letter. You will also need a scanned photograph of yourself and a scanned copy of your passport. More instructions are in the application form.

Online Application:

Further Information and Registration

Slide show: Hong Kong

Mr. Risto Korkia-Aho, International Affairs Coordinator, +358 40 521 5687,
JAMK University of Applied Sciences, School of Business and Services Management

Friday Humor: Two Stupid Chickens

Posted: November 23, 2012 by Alison in Just For Fun
Tags: , ,

What if Money Didn’t Matter?

Posted: November 22, 2012 by Alison in Food For Thought
Tags: ,

It’s been a very busy week here, hence the lack of posts this week. I saw a very interesting video that made me think.  It’s not totally business related but it does have to do with your career and the choices one makes.  Very interesting stuff.  I hope the link works for you.

What if Money Didn’t Matter? Click this to view video.


Phoenix unemployment

This post originally appeared at Gawker.
Read more:

We were forwarded this rejection email, apparently sent to more than 900 hopeful applicants in one bulk delivery, by a reader who shall remain anonymous. (The person is, after all, still looking for a job).

“I don’t find it helpful,” the rejected applicant wrote. “I just find it arrogant.”

“At first I thought I’d made it to the second round,” the reader said on the phone this evening, “but then I realized I’d been Bcc’d, along with 900 others, on my own rejection letter.”

Here it is, in all its bullet-point glory:

————— Forwarded message —————
From: Shea Gunther
Date: Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Subject: You applied for a position at my clean tech news site


If you’re reading this, it means that you applied for one of the positions open at my new clean tech news site (this ad-> I’m Shea and it’s been my job to do the first read-through of the 900+ applications that have poured in as a result of our ad.

I have gone through each of the applications as they have come in and picked out the best 50 or so to be passed into the second round of consideration. Some of you are amazing candidates that I am really excited to learn more about. Those of you who are passed into the second round of consideration will be hearing from us soon, if you haven’t been contacted by us already.

Others applications have come in from strong writers who just aren’t a great fit for what we are trying to do. When you have a pool of 900+ applications, you can be picky, and we passed over many worthy people simply because they don’t have enough experience in clean technology and green media. I would advise anyone without enough of the right experience who wants to break into environmental writing to start a personal blog and write about the things you want to get paid to cover. You are welcome to get back in touch with us in the future after you’ve built a more focused portfolio.

Beyond those two groups, there were applications that were skipped over after just a quick read—the brutal truth is that the very worst applications got less than a few seconds of consideration. Often I could tell from the first few words of an application that it would be passed over. I was helped by the fact that we are hiring writers; if a person can’t craft a good email applying for a writing job, she’s unlikely to be the kind of writer we are looking to hire.

As I went through your applications, I couldn’t help but jot down ideas on how some of you could improve your job hunting email skills. As evidenced by the response to our ad, there are a lot of people out there looking for work right now and you need every advantage that you can get if you want to beat them to a good job. If your application email sucks, you are going to be left looking for work for a long time because you will get flushed out with the first filter every time you apply for a job. Some of your applications are that bad.

I have broken my suggestions down into a list of 42 writing job application dos and don’ts.

Good luck.


This post was suggested by Vesa Renfors. Thanks Vesa!



Three and a half years ago, I published the first installment of “BAs Can Be Difficult People” here on Bridging the Gap. It received 100 page views in one day. And while that’s a small fraction of the traffic a new post gets now, at the time it was more traffic than we saw in a typical week.

Since then, the post has also become a topic of a presentation I’ve given at 5 IIBA meetings. I’m delivering this presentation 3 more times the week of July 16. I’ll be in New York City, Philadelphia, and New Jersey – if you are in the area it would be great to meet you in person. As I’ve been revising my slides, I’ve taken a fresh look at this topic.

Are BAs difficult people? Or, to look at the question differently, how can business analysts, despite their best efforts, be difficult? As I considered my own career and the personalities of those that I consider to be great business analysts, what I settled on is that it’s not that BAs are inherently difficult people – actually, the reverse is true.

The least difficult of all people are attracted to the BA role because the requirements of the role itself are difficult.

What we are required to do as BAs is difficult, maybe not for us, but for those that engage us and those that work with us. And this can make us be perceived as difficult to deal with, which is why soft skills are so incredibly important for success in this role.

So for this encore discussion, let’s look at why what we do as business analysts is inherently difficult for us and for our stakeholders. Let’s understand why we are difficult.

We have to say “no” or “not now” or “that’s last on the list.”

Part of scoping a project that can be realistically achieved (i.e. requirements that are implementable within the project’s constraints) means saying “no.” Sure, we can help our stakeholders scope out a beautiful solution and they might love us for it. But at the end of the day, we deliver value when something gets delivered and change is made. Beautiful solutions on paper might have intrinsic value, but they don’t have real, practical value. They don’t generate anything in the way of business results.

Saying “no” and helping our stakeholders prioritize is the difficult work that BAs must do.

The ambiguous role of the “liaison.”

Few aspects of our role come under more direct attack than that of “liaison.” I myself have been guilty of thinking of myself as a “go between.” In reality, as I wrote in a recent StickyMinds article, titled Three Essential Elements of Business Analysis, “At our best, business analysts engender collaboration amongst diverse members of a cross-functional team involving various departments within the organization and levels in the organizational hierarchy.”

Getting everyone in a room to discuss a problem and find a suitable solution requires strong leadership and advanced communication skills. Bringing together the right business and technology stakeholders and keeping the discussion at the right level so everyone is engaged and time is used wisely takes a certain finesse. These are difficult meetings to lead and difficult to participate in. Depending on your stakeholder’s role and competency, they might feel like their knowledge is challenged, their job is on the line, or that they have something to contribute but don’t know the right way to say it.

Change is hard.

A recent course participant let me know her key takeaway came from the fact that I asked her to use a different template than she usually would to document a business process. She found using a new template to do a familiar activity a difficult task and, in the process, she felt like she had walked in the shoes of her subject matter experts for a day. She had a new appreciation for how difficult it was for them to change the way they have always done things, even when the change would make their job easier or the process more efficient.

The truth behind this realization is that change is hard. And as BAs, we help a lot of people change.

Another student wrote to me about a project she led as a BA intern. She’d discovered an elegant solution that was going to help the business be more efficient, but she faced resistance in discovering the information and incorporating the change. Her question: Is it always like this? My answer: Yes, most of the time. Even with supportive leadership and willing stakeholders, change is still hard. You will face resistance. In fact, part of the value of the BA role is working through the resistance to achieve a positive result.

For new BAs, it’s difficult to be difficult.

I hope I’ve made it apparent now that sometimes being difficult is just the reality of the game. We have to lead stakeholders through difficult tasks like scoping projects, understanding models, and, often the worst of it, making decisions. Part of gaining your confidence as a BA is embracing these challenges as learning opportunities. Part of becoming a great BA is getting our stakeholders to do difficult things, love us for it, and want to work with us again.

But getting to this point means that you take the difficult road not the easy one.

  • Instead of letting our stakeholders put everything they want into the requirements spec, we lead them through a prioritization process and help them see how prioritization helped them get more of the right stuff done (instead of just less stuff done).
  • Instead of allowing conflicting stakeholders to duke it out and asking for their decision to document in the spec, we jump in and help them work through the issue and come to a shared solution. In the process, we help elevate everyone’s understanding of the issue and of each other.
  • Instead of allowing a passive sign-off and waiting for the inevitable changes to come later in the process, we force true understanding and surface as many issues as possible as early as possible. We play the bad guy so IT or QA or the technical writer doesn’t have to.
For the right professionals, becoming a BA is a career-changing experience. In fact, for some, it’s a life-changing experience. The rewards should outnumber the challenges. Or, really, the challenges are seen as part of the fun of making a bigger and better contribution to the world’s organizations.

Being a BA is not for the faint of heart.

As much as we do here to help aspiring BAs find their path and as much as I want tohelp as many talented professionals as possible get started in their BA careers (and if you are one of them and new to Bridging the Gap, please join our free email course), I have to be honest and let you know that being a BA is not for everyone. If the idea of working through these sorts of challenging situations and investing in continuous improvement of your soft skills, especially your communication, leadership and relationship-building skills, is not compelling, then this is not a good career choice for you.

It’s difficult to be difficult and do difficult work. But it’s also immensely rewarding. In the words of one of my most trusted mentors, “if it were easy, anyone could do it.”

By Laura BrandenburgLaura Brandenburg is passionate about business analysis. She’s found her niche helping aspiring business analysts find transferable skills and position themselves in the BA job market. To stay up-to-date on the latest from Bridging the Gap be sure to sign-up for our free email course and weekly eNewsletter. View more blog posts by Laura Brandenburg