World’s first degree-awarding influencer marketing studies start in Tampere with 28 international students
Influencers Academy offers the first degree-awarding studies in influencer marketing in Finland, if not globally. The students graduate with a Bachelor's of Business Administration after the 3.5 years of studies.
“We started to explore the matter and noticed that there is no degree programme in influencer marketing yet. At the same time, influencer marketing is by far the fastest growing marketing field,” says the founder of Edunation Finland Harri Suominen.
Both the programme and the partnership between TAMK and Edunation Finland are unique. The programme is based on TAMK Proakatemia’s pedagogy. Its core is formed by team learning and running of a team enterprise.
“TAMK Proakatemia’s English Degree Programme in Entrepreneurship and Team Leadership was a natural basis for the programme,” tells Team Coach Hanna Saraketo.
“Students start and run a business or several businesses as a team. The businesses may be very different. Students start accumulating the competences needed for achieving the selected goals. Learning is based on discovery and motivation which have their origin in personal needs, interests and timeliness of information. The courses, such as Future in Digital Business and Responsibility and Ethics in Business, guide students towards sustainable entrepreneurship. Proakatemia’s vision is to be a paragon of new entrepreneurship,” Saraketo opens the methodology.
“Education is the basis for everything and the same also applies to the influencer world. A new type of practical education is needed to offer new tools for influencers and people working with them,” Suominen continues.
The students come from the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and India. One of the participants is Joalin Loukamaa, a model, dancer and singer who already has millions of followers in social media.
TAMK Proakatemia’s Finnish degree students can also become influencer marketing professionals.
“During its 20-year history, TAMK Proakatemia has experimented business around trends. Social media marketing was already done in 2009. Now we have gluten-free coffee rooms, eSports training and responsible design. Influencer marketing competence may be related to all these or be an independent business field,” Hanna Saraketo says.
Graduates may become independent influencers or be employed in other fields of influencer marketing.
“Many large organisations already have influencer marketing professionals but few have a degree in it. Influencers have considerable power and responsibility as do marketing professionals who work with them,” Suominen says.
Education export to a billion-euro business
The Education Finland programme coordinated by the Finnish National Agency for Education aims at raising the value of Finnish education export to €1 billion by 2030. Finland enacted a tuition fee obligation for non-EU and non-EEA students in 2017.
“It created both a possibility and pressure for higher education institutions to start selling and marketing. In the future non-EU students do not come to Finland due to free education but because we highlight attractive elements of our society and education,” Suominen says.
“TAMK’s strategy focuses on internationalisation of all our operational fields. High-quality degree programmes conducted in English are one of our trump cards and TAMK Proakatemia’s entrepreneurship model is globally unique,” says Director Carita Prokki.
Text: Piritta Palokangas
Photo: Renata Brito