Haaga-Helia students win the Finnish Project Management Championship Finals 2020.

Smooth presentation and clear content of their solution made the difference.

Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences students Ekaterina Zhegalina, Hans Kärtner, Obisesa Abiodun and Sharon Cristell Quispe Cahuapoma won the University Students Project Management Championship [PMC] of 2020. In addition to Haaga-Helia, the teams of Vaasa University of Applied Sciences and Turku University of Applied Sciences were on the podium.

The purpose of this annual competition, organized by the Project Management Association Finland [PMAF] and Project-IT Oy, is to inspire, encourage and increase students’ interest in project management and project business. The aim of the competition is to promote networking between young project professionals and to increase interaction between academia and business. Due to the corona exceptions, the final of the PMC competition was held as an online event.

In the final students were given the task of planning an office relocation project. The solution had to take into account, among other things, the requirements of the new office’s functions and the number of staff s, as well as the relocation schedule. The teams were expected to have a clear project plan for the jury and a smooth presentation of their solution.

The jury of the competition consisted of Harri Paani and Minna Reino of Project-IT Oy and Laura Luomanen-Jaakkola, a Board member of PMAF. Choosing the winner was not an easy job for the jury. All teams had a good understanding of the assignment, basics of project management were in place and the roles of team members were clear. The PMAF’s Jouko Kaaja also rejoiced at how smoothly the teams worked in the online environment and utilized various remote working opportunities in different ways to complete the task.

The winning team was finally distinguished by their clear and trustworthy performance, smooth cooperation between team members and good utilization of the basics of project management competences in their solution.

“I am very proud of the team’s performance today and grateful for how valuable learning experience we got in the competition,” commented the winning team’s Hans Kärtner. As a whole, the team felt that the competition task allowed them to learn from each other, put project management skills into practice and work under pressure on a tight schedule. The team from Haaga-Helia considered their strengths to be such things as the diversity from their international backgrounds and effective co-operation. “The task sparked good discussions and we managed to make the required decisions as a team in a good spirit,” summed up Ekaterina Zhegalina her team’s strengths.

“Project management skills give students the foundation to manage and work on projects in their future careers in business. Even more broadly, it opens up a more general understanding of what it means to lead R&D projects and teams. Students who invest in learning project management are able to work systematically and consistently. What would be better than to take this as a competitive edge and stand out from other job seekers.” says Haaga-Helia’s professor Pekka Kamaja.

As a cherry on the top, the winning team will represent Finland in the International IPMA Project Management Championship in June. There the team’s skills are measured against teams from all around the world. In addition, winners will have the opportunity to complete the International Project Management IPMA Level D Certificate.

The Project Management Association Finland is a non-profit association founded in 1978, with appr. 4,000 project management professionals from more than 600 different organizations. PMAF’s goal is to develop Finnish project management expertise and improve competitiveness together with member organizations. The PMC competition, which has grown internationally, has been developed in Finland by PMAF’s Young Crew.

Project-IT is a consulting company focused on Digital Transformation Management. The company’s experienced professionals work on customers’ demanding transformation and IT projects. The goal of project management, agile development, test management and architecture professionals is to help their clients achieve their business goals set for transformation, regardless of industry or core business.

Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences is a strongly business orientated University of Applied Sciences in Finland. Through education, research, and development, they prepare and educate professionals in the fields of Business Administration and Service Industry. Haaga-Helia is focused on co-operation, entrepreneurship, innovation and international relations.

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