Konecranes and the School of Business signed a partnership agreement at the beginning of this year to engage in tight collaboration in various areas. The newly-made student project consisted of looking into the current situation of employee diversity as well as developing several different scenarios for the future, considering the consequences of different action plans Konecranes could take in the future.
‘Firms are increasingly competing for the greatest talents. Promoting diversity that is offering all employees equal opportunities regardless of their gender, ethnic origin, age, creed, political convictions, or other corresponding matters enables firms to tap into new pools of talents and access novel perspectives that have a potential to transform their businesses. As such, it is not surprising that Konecranes seeks ways to increase employee diversity in its organization’, the academic advisor of the project, Olli-Pekka Kauppila, notes.
The project was carried out in cooperation between Konecranes and Aalto University. Master’s students Aigerim Nukenova, Samu Eskola, Kaustubh Patade and Jenni Suomalainen took this project as a chance to utilise the knowledge they have gained through their studies and put it into some real action. All of the students had different majors and brought different skills to the team. Aigerim specialises in data analysis, Samu has experience in HR, Kaustubh presented the team’s engineering side and Jenni has focused on corporate communication during her studies. “I got to practice data analysis and forecasting trends with a real case and that’s really relevant for my specialization”, Aigerim tells.
Practical new aspects to be implemented
The project proposed different scenarios for the future of Konecranes regarding its employee diversity situation. Out of these scenarios, one aimed for the position of the market leader and based on the results from the different types of analysis, the team proposed some management actions that could be taken by Konecranes in order to reach this state.
Several different methods were utilised during the project, including data analysis, interviews and a survey as well as benchmarking against other companies.
‘Based on extensive research, Aalto’s diverse student team developed several useful recommendations that Konecranes can implement to reach its diversity goals. The project was highly ambitious in terms of scope, scale, and schedule, but the team did a fantastic job’, Olli-Pekka Kauppila describes the process.
At the final project meeting, Konecranes’ CEO Panu Routila was also present.
‘I’m positive that these suggestions would not be just something that ends up dusting on the shelf but instead something that could actually be utilised in practice as well’, he said after hearing the recommended actions the group proposed.
Both the student team as well as the people at Konecranes were pleased with the results of the project. The outcome was fruitful for both parties and something new was learnt during the journey. ‘In commercial life, only engineering knowledge is not enough. Understanding business management is important too’, Kaustubh says.
The Customized Student Business Projects concept offers students the opportunity to work on solving current challenges faced by corporate business, giving the assigning company the possibility to develop and spar new ideas together with the students.
Through the partnership programme, companies get the chance to engage in long-term collaboration with the School of Business in many different areas. Possible forms of collaboration include developing the company employer brand, contributing to teaching, carrying out research cooperation, for instance in connection with student projects, and acting as a visiting lecturer. A total of 13 companies are currently involved in the programme.
Senior Manager, Corporate Relations
Aalto University School of Business