Helsinki-RigaWeek-Long Study Tour | Business Program

Required Course(s)
European Business Strategy: Case Studies
Spring semester

Latvia is an ideal place to tell the story of business in the European Union. After gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the country has undergone tremendous reforms, leading to membership in the EU in 2004, and joining the Eurozone in 2014. This transition has opened up business opportunities and reshaped the business environment drastically.

While in Riga, we will look into the business environment and explore the strategic opportunities and challenges for local and global businesses, arising from the transition happening in regions of the EU. We will analyze how European businesses are adapting globalization and outsourcing strategies, as well as the Latvian outlook on future growth potential. The aim of the study tour is to give you an understanding of the business environment in an emerging market, and how this business environment compares to its Danish and American counterparts.

Finland has had a meteoric economic rise, only to suffer many of the growing pains often experienced by an economy that too strongly relies on a tightly-controlled core of firms to drive economic growth. The relatively rapid, and on-going, transition of Finland to a knowledge economy is, in no small part, due to the role of government in mobilizing and encouraging innovation and growth both within and outside of this core.

With the realities of the global financial crisis and a series of technology missteps by Nokia, its most important economic actor, Finland is currently suffering a recession. Added to the structural realities of correcting their present downturn, the recent geopolitical tensions from Eastern actors have further aggravated economic recovery. Traveling to Helsinki will offer important insights as to how a small economy, once at the top of its game, is looking to diversity and re-orient its economic performance to regain previously attained performance metrics. Further, we will explore how lessons of past economic downturn are being integrated into government and economic policy to ensure a sustainable and robust Finland.

During the tour, you will also explore the colorful cultures and histories of Latvia and Finland.

Tour Objectives

  • Explore the business strategies employed by a fast-track economy in Riga, and in Helsinki, an economy transitioning from a single large industrial entity
  • Understand both the Latvian and Finnish outlook on the future and their growth potential for investment by both European and American companies
  • Explore the strategic opportunities and challenges for European businesses founding within these transitioning economies, with special emphasis on the role of competitiveness, internationalization strategies, and outsourcing

Possible Activities

  • Attend dynamic sessions at the Startup Sauna and business incubator at Aalto University in Helsinki
  • Meet with Bank of Latvia for a discussion about the Baltic economy
  • Visit the local Investment & Development Agency of Latvia