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Closer to the dream

Closer to the dream

Joel Pakalen, Bachelor of Hospitality Management

My motto is "Why not?"

I am determined, persistent and fair. I get along with everyone, and I am always open and honest - an outgoing, competitive ball of energy!  Studying has been a life-changing experience for me. I arrived as a no-good kid and left as a model citizen. Before Haaga-Helia, I studied at the University of Technology in Otaniemi, but in the end it wasn't my thing.

I enjoyed studying with like-minded people. At Haaga, everyone knew each other, and we were like one big family. Teaching was top notch, and the teachers were great. I have never experienced that level of support and encouragement anywhere else. They gave me a kick on the backside when a deadline was approaching and I was loosing faith. That was a big help.

I completed the programme in three years and graduated early. I even got a couple of awards: one for entrepreneurship and one for good academic achievement. As a student, I adopted the mentality of saying why not instead of no. For example, I ended up coordinating the Vinstituutti wine club, even though I knew nothing about wines at first. I learned a lot. I built contacts and networks that are still useful to me today.

I currently work as an Associate Market Manager for an online travel agent. I am responsible for customer account management, sales promotion and marketing in southern Finland. I also run Five Point Brothers, a food and drinks business with a group of friends. We already run a microbrewery and are planning to open our own restaurant in the near future - we are currently looking for facilities to open a bistro.

The hospitality industry offers an amazing range of opportunities - it's not all kitchens and hotel receptions. For hospitality management graduates, the sky is the limit as long as you're motivated. My dream is to have my own vineyard and microbrewery somewhere in America's Pacific Northwest. It will include a restaurant and perhaps small-scale accommodations. I intend to realize this dream within the next three years - one way or another.

I am closer to my dreams than ever before. I will never forget where it all started.

Joel Pakalen

Degree Programme in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management 2012–2015
Bachelor of Hospitality Management (AMK)