On the Aalto University undergraduate-level Project Work and Project Management course, the teaching is not about project management models or tools, but rather focuses on what actually takes place between people in projects and why.
‘Based on the theory learnt on the course, the students carry out in groups a client project in which they analyse selected challenges related to the client’s project activities and present concrete development proposals’, explains course teacher Riku Oksman. Riku works as a part-time teacher at the School of Business’s Department of Management Studies.
The purpose of the client project is to provide students with both a window into the project activities of a real organisation and also concrete experience of project work, which the students then reflect on and review in their groups. The feedback received for the course indicates that the students have found the course’s approach to be highly rewarding.
A real project for a real business
First year chemical engineering student Eevi Hyttinen says she has learnt a lot from the course project.
‘For the first time, I got to do a real project for a real business. We interviewed workers about a recognised problem and about how it manifests itself in their work and the rest of their daily life. In the interviews, which generally included 2 or 3 students from our group, a lot of different issues were brought up, and in the end the original problem was not the most important one mentioned’, Eevi Hyttinen explains.
‘After the interviews, we met representatives from Tieto and discussed the problem. The representatives from the company redefined the problem to be analysed, and based on this we then made our analysis and final report in which we developed concrete solutions to the problem under consideration’, she continues.
The student team working on the project offered by Tieto also included Petra Räisänen and Liisa Eloranta from the School of Business, Alex Suomala from the School of Engineering and Jonna Neuvonen from the Open University.
Client projects are confidential
The Department of Management Studies’ Project Work and Project Management course has already for a couple of years been carrying out assignments on developing project activities for partnering business organisations. These client projects are confidential, which means that the students cannot talk about the details of the work to anyone outside of the group without the client’s permission.
‘We have found the recently completed assignment to be very useful and we would be very pleased to work together on similar course projects in the future as well’, reports Tieto representative Eric Zenkner, Head of PMO Development.
The student groups have included students studying a variety of majors and coming from at least four of the different Aalto schools: The School of Business, the School of Chemical Engineering, the School of Engineering, the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, and Aalto’s Open University. A total of 20 students took part in this year’s course, which was held in January and February.