Learning during the ride – What have I learned from Academic Adventures?
Academic Adventures is organized by students of Proakatemia, Tampere University Of Applied Science’s entrepreneurship unit. The project team consists of our amazing project manager Kajsa and her extra pair of hands Eetu with the Proakatemia teams of international relations and marketing. All students, every single one.
This tells a lot about the mentality of Proakatemia. We, as the students, make our education what we want it to be. The Board Of Proakatemia has only one staff member, our head coach, and the rest of the board consists of the team business leaders, the assistant coach and the heads of marketing and international relations. We study what we want and how we want. It is all about the combination of freedom and responsibility. The great, but also demanding mentality grows students to be brave and ready to stand head up high in front of all challenges.
So when our couches came up with an idea of an international training week, it didn’t take too long that the project team sat down for the first meeting. We are very proud that we have built such an awesome event and have even made the break-even, which is sometimes hard to make when arranging an event for the first time. And when all our potential customers are all around the world, well, that doesn’t make it any easier!
Look out for the opportunities
How did I get involved? I was chosen already in the beginning of the semester as a part of the Proakatemia marketing and communications team and we were asked to give our contribution to the event. We took the challenge and “tuck our hands in the clay”, as we say in Finland.
I already mentioned in one of my previous posts about the great opportunity of learning that Academic Adventures provided for me. I had this huge interest towards digital marketing and now I had the greatest opportunity to learn by doing. My main responsibilities turned out to be organizing the Academic Adventures blog, producing content and updates to our Facebook page and handling the Facebook advertisement.
This post is now my fourth in Academic Adventures blog. Writing in english, which is not my native language, has of course improved my language skills and vocabulary significantly. But the biggest learning has happened while publishing and optimizing the posts in our WordPress platform. Right in the beginning we uploaded a plug-in called Yoast, which helps you to produce search engine friendly text. It has been so interesting to give attention to all the key words, paragraphs lengths, headings and the text readability, and I have learned so much about the complex world of SEO! I have spent hours just refining the text over and over again.
At our Facebook page we wanted to add value to our content and that’s why our posts aren’t just about the event itself. We have discovered a ton of articles and videos about Finland as a travel destination, future of education and work life, learning, entrepreneurship etc. The discovering has created interesting Facebook posts but also raised the knowledge and awareness of the project team. It has been as interesting to us as it has (hopefully) been to you!
Facebook advertisement. Oh boy, what a journey! I started literally from nothing, from zero produced Facebook ads, to now handling it like a pro (well, almost there). I thought it would just be about publishing a photo with a short text. I was wrong. I had to learn to create target groups – where do our customers live, where do they work, what are they interested about. And so I had to learn how to use and read the data of Google Analytics. Once I got a hunch that, Facebook advertisement got a lot easier. Of course, you can never get right inside your customers head with just the data, but after a lot of data analysis and modifying we might have got quite close. When the target group was set I still had to think about the content. What kind of picture will catch our customers vision? What are the words that get them to click the ad? I learned that also in this case, you’ll never know if you never try. So we tried several different pictures with different texts, showed them for a little while and read the data for which were the best ones. And then we did it again. And again.
Be careful what you wish for – it might happen
At the beginning of the project all I had was an interest and strong will to learn. Now, I’m working as the Head of Marketing and Communications of Proakatemia, as the Digital Marketing Manager for a sustainable clothing brand Ludicrous and as a Copywriter for a video production company Vaino Productions.
So what was the most important thing that being a part of the Academic Adventures project team taught me? Don’t be afraid of taking responsibility even though you wouldn’t be yet quite ready for it. I’m promise, you will learn all of it during the ride. So take the leap and enjoy!
– Juuli Tappura, member of the Academic Adventures marketing team