My proposal for Aalto University’s Board Members 😉 (this was a task for my communication course):
Title: Education for one-of-a-kind knowledge
Dear board members of Aalto University,
I am writing to you on behalf of KY master’s student organization. We appreciate the opportunity to share our ideas on how to further improve operations of our prestigious yet newly established university. We hope you find our student perspective insightful.
Aalto is unique on a global scale; no other university combines arts, technology and business. Its mission is to work towards a better world through, among other things, interdisciplinary collaboration, pioneering education, surpassing traditional boundaries, and enabling renewal. Unfortunately, this is not the reality in practice; students cannot underwrite the interdisciplinary collaboration and surpassing traditional boundaries aspects.
PROBLEM: Stiff programs narrows down mindset of growth
Employers today are looking for candidates with integrated business knowhow and experience of actual projects. They expect to see a portfolio; what the candidate has already done. Thus, the current heavily theory orientated teaching is not beneficial for students. Further, Aalto’s comprehensive course offering and opportunity to meet students from versatile backgrounds is not being utilized in student’s master’s programs. Meeting fellow students from different fields exposes students to integrated thinking and fresh ideas. Since not many universities have opportunity to offer their student this, Aalto should take advantage of this.
From personal experience, we have learned most of the extra courses offered across the University. Such detailed distinction and pre-determined study plans for each program is harmful for Aalto’s aim of surpassing traditional boundaries. Since companies today are fast and flexible, they require knowhow across functions and out of the box thinking. In our opinion, this kind of mindset and set of skills is beneficial for the students as well.
RECOMMENDATION 1: unique study plans and more practicality
I propose that students would be given more freedom in creating their study plans. Master’s students could comply their individual, unique master’s degree, taking freely courses across departments and schools. This freedom would allow them to take more Aalto joint courses, enhancing interdisciplinary collaboration and thus creativity and idea flow. Also cooperation courses with international partner universities are great. Innovation to Project course in cooperation with ESADE Business School is a great example; enabling networking between global students and facilitating creative thinking.
RECOMMENDATION 2: active partnership with companies
Further, more practical approach to teaching must be adopted. Aalto University collaborates with great international companies based in Finland; this network needs to be better utilized in teaching as well. Benchmarking to CEMS, ideally, companies would give real life cases for students to deep into in their courses. This would lead to a win-win situation; students getting hands-on experience and giving them capabilities to more easily shift over to working life after graduating. Companies would give fresh ideas much more affordably than by hiring external consultants, on their case problems. This kind of collaboration would also connect student and companies in early phase.
Aalto University needs to live up to its mission of interdisciplinary collaboration and surpassing traditional boundaries. Offering flexible master’s programs and collaborating with international universities and company partners will support reaching this mission. Integrated knowledge will give students competitive advantage to their fellow students on a global scale. This will enhance Aalto’s reputation of providing top education for its students. Implementing suggested changes would greatly increase Aalto University’s appeal of both current and prospective students.
On behalf of KY-organization