Mindaugas Anthony Jočbalis, a procurement and sourcing professional from London, UK, answers from his hometown on a sunny November day with a happy smile. He is finalizing his MBA in Procurement and soon graduates from Helsinki-based Metropolia University of Applied Sciences after one and a half years of studies, six months ahead of time. His past year has been hectic but rewarding both academically and professionally. Mindaugas tells about his career, online studies in Metropolia, and how procurement is shaping the future of many businesses.
Metropolia is one of the few higher education institutions offering a master’s degree in Procurement
Mindaugas has worked in senior procurement roles in the packaging industry throughout his professional career and studied business at a few universities. However, he had yet to complete professional studies in procurement or sourcing, even though it had become his main field of employment over the years. The same is true with many other procurement and sourcing professionals, as only a few institutions offer procurement studies as part of business studies.
Through an online study portal, Mindaugas found Finland and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, which is one of the few higher education institutions in Europe offering a master’s degree program majoring in procurement. On top of all, the studies were conducted fully as online studies, allowing Mindaugas to continue working in London while studying for his master’s remotely at Metropolia.
“Having studied in Sweden previously, I knew that studies in the Nordic countries were well-planned and academic. I was especially pleased when I noticed the studies were conducted fully online. Since Metropolia was one of the few European countries offering an MBA in Procurement, my choice was quite easy in the end”, says Mindaugas.
Studying remotely while working full-time required efficient time management
Mindaugas worked and studied simultaneously and was open about his studies with his line manager, who was very supportive. Mindaugas also shared the degree program information with his colleagues and, as his master's thesis, completed a valuable development project for the organization he worked for. The first semester was easier to manage timewise, but the second semester required focused time management. Working full-time, attending lectures, and completing coursework sometimes took a toll on Mindaugas. On top of this, Mindaugas was completing his 2-year degree program only in 18 months. Time management was a key element to his success.
He is, however, happy with how well he managed his studies and completed his thesis in a reduced time. During his studies, he networked with his peers and attended a study trip to Germany, which he describes as his most memorable study experience. He took a trip to Stuttgart with his peers from Finland as part of the Innovation Management course. He visited HFT Stuttgart Technology University of Applied Sciences and the headquarters of some leading German companies.
“It was a great networking opportunity and a team-building trip. I could talk and learn from lecturers and see how global powerhouse business functions. I networked with my peers whom I had only known from an online environment and made new valuable contacts”, Mindaugas describes.
Mindaugas already had years of experience in procurement, so the studies included several engaging modules: procurement strategy, technology, innovation, sustainability, and mindfulness. Mindaugas shared some of the mindfulness practices with his work community, including de-stressing methods and techniques as new ways of managing time and stress.
Visiting lecturers invigorated his study experience. Mindaugas especially mentions Jonathan O´Brien, one of the industry's most respected pioneers in procurement and sourcing. “Meeting him would not have been possible had I not studied at Metropolia”, reflects Mindaugas.
Procurement is shaping industries and becoming a significant part of business strategies
Procurement is becoming increasingly vital in companies’ agendas and is viewed as a strategic function with sales and marketing. This has not always been the case, as traditional strategies have centered more on selling and marketing products separately from sourcing. “Today, people want to know where products or services come from, especially millennials. Are you using child labour? Do you make use of the circular economy? Companies must be careful, as bad procurement and sourcing decisions can even negatively affect share prices”, Mindaugas ponders.
Mindaugas recommends procurement studies to those who find sourcing and value chain management interesting as a profession but could not study it previously. “Many have studied business or marketing, but procurement as a major is truly distinctive in the job market”. In Mindaugas’s opinion, many business professionals would benefit from a procurement degree, especially those with experience in procurement or sourcing.
Having studied fully remotely, Mindaugas could visit Finland and Metropolia’s Myyrmäki campus in November 2022 to meet the Head of the Procurement Degree Program, Kaija Haapasalo and other lecturers. Mindaugas praises Finland and Metropolia: “Academic level of MBA studies in Finland are excellent, and Metropolia UAS has a good reputation as a higher education institution. Helsinki is a unique place to study and visit should you have the chance during your studies."
|Mindaugas visited the Head of Procurement Degree Program Kaija Haapasalo and Study Coordinator Nea Kivekäs in Metropolia’s Myyrmäki campus in November 2022|
Mindaugas recommends that prospective students not limit themselves to where they live or work but find something that truly interests them. “We live in a global world, and it is important to find your preferred study and career path, no matter the location. And learning is moving forward. I am very thankful for this opportunity with Metropolia.”
Procurement educates professionals in value-based sourcing and supply chain management
Metropolia’s Master's Degree Program in Procurement is aimed at students who want to enhance their competence as procurement and sourcing professionals. The goals are to learn about driving value through the supply chain to the end customer and strengthening procurement’s role as a strategic function. The degree is a two-year degree program, and it is conducted fully online.
The next application period to Metropolia is 4.-18.1.2023 in the national joint application. See degree program-specific application instructions here.