Many thanks to supporters of the School of Business
The School of Business' alumni and donor relations arranged the Kauppis 110 donor appreciation event on Saturday, 2 April 2022. All individuals and major donors who had donated a minimum of 850 euros to the School of Business during its anniversary year of 2021, were invited to the event. The event took place at the former main building of the School of Business, currently Aalto University Töölö.
Before the actual programme, guests had the opportunity to take part in an art tour on the premises of Aalto University Executive Education (Aalto EE), under the guidance of Professor of Practice Pekka Mattila and Head of Growth Riitta Lumme-Tuomala, Aalto EE.
First, glasses were raised at the Ruotsalo restaurant (formerly the Proffa), and the guests were welcomed by the host for the evening, Dean Timo Korkeamäki. ‘You are warmly welcome you to our joint celebration. Thank you for regarding the work of the School of Business as important, and that you have shown it by taking part in our 110th anniversary campaign. Once again, a big thanks for each of your donations, and it is wonderful that you have been able to attend this event. I hope that we will have a very pleasant evening, including dinner, speeches, and musical performances here in these familiar surroundings. We thank Aalto EE, the current host of the building, for being able to celebrate the School of Business in the magnificently renovated former main building of the Helsinki School of Economics.’
Riitta Lumme-Tuomala welcomed the guests on behalf of Aalto EE and said that management training is now doing very well. ‘Things really started moving since Pekka (Mattila) became Managing Director in 2011, which is evident in the outcome. Our personnel number is more than 100 and we have five brands, the most recent being Aalto ACCESS, which offers lifelong education.’
Pekka Mattila headed Aalto EE for 11 years, leaving his successors with a company in a very good shape at the end of last year. He continues working as the Professor of Practice at the School of Business's Department of Marketing.
‘Aalto EE has about 370 works of art which mainly belong to private collections. In fact, only two works are owned by Aalto, so we have definitely not used your money for our art procurements,’ Pekka Mattila said with a twinkle in his eye.
Aalto University made a very extensive renovation in this iconic building, which was completed at the end of 2020. In the renovation, audio-visual technology was brought up to the standards of the 2020s. In this respect, the coronavirus and the remote learning that came with it, actually helped and enabled the effective digitalisation of the Aalto EE premises, and the end result is excellent. Naturally, despite the extensive renovation, many of the original features of the building were maintained. The building was completed in 1952 and construction began immediately after the war. Elements of the war are present in the building in many ways, for example, in the railings and the lamps. The war is also part of Finnish history, which should not be forgotten.’
Speeches and a three-course dinner
The celebration and a three-course dinner took place in the Assembly Hall. First, the guests listened to song performances of small groups of the choirs of the School of Business, KYN and KYL. The master of ceremonies was the School of Business student Niko Ylä-Poikelus, the Chair of the Board of Aalto University Business Students (KY) for 2021. ‘Madam Provost, honoured Dean, esteemed guests, I warmly welcome you to the Kauppis 110 donor appreciation event. We are most grateful for your donations to the new generation of business students. You are enabling top research and top education to continue into the future. You are building the School of Business together with us. I wish you all a most rewarding celebration.’
Timo Korkeamäki invited Elina Björklund,CEO of Reima and Alumna of the Year 2018 to discuss the significance of the School of Business for society with him. The Dean said that the role of the School of Business in Aalto's start-up ecosystem could be even greater than it is now, and that efforts will be made to increase it soon. He also said that quality is very important in teaching as well. ‘Accreditations, or quality evaluations, actually compel us to keep improving in matters of quality.’
The Dean asked Elina Björklund what kinds of skills each graduate of the School of Business should have. ‘I could divide these skills into three different areas. First, all new School of Business graduates should master the use of numbers and analytic thinking. Solving complex problems requires this, so there is a good reason to have these skills at a high level, at least. A second area of abilities that I would like to mention involves skills in communications and interaction, and the third is the mastery and understanding of technology. I also hope that new graduates might find within them the passion to utilise their skills and the desire to learn new things every day. I also recommend that all who can do so should go on a student exchange.’
Elina Björklund added that Finnish businesses, institutions of higher education, and research institutes need to collaborate more. ‘By working together, we will be able to produce innovations, commercialise them, and launch them in to the international market. Finland is such a small country that our strengths include small circles of people, which makes it easier for people to be in touch with each other.’
Professor Otto Toivanen, Academic Director of the Helsinki Graduate School of Economics, said that Helsinki GSE has about half a dozen professorships that have been partially or fully financed through donations. ‘The goal of Helsinki GSE is to develop the master's and doctoral programmes into an internationally competitive whole, taking full responsibility for the highest level of economics education while adding value to society. This is what has happened. It is gratifying that, for example, the bachelor's programme in Economics is Aalto University's most popular English-language bachelor's programme.’
Vuorineuvos, Executive in Residence Taavi Heikkilä gave several examples of attempts to link teaching with practice. Examples that he mentioned included the first course in cooperatives, which the School of Business is organising together with the University of Eastern Finland (Professor Anu Puusa). At present, a shared project work course (Capstone) is under way on accounting and marketing courses where students are solving challenges connected with the digitalisation of the S Group. Heikkilä also said that he had already managed to give live lectures to students and to speak at different events.
Samuli Knüpfer, the new Professor of Ownership, could not attend the event, so Dean Korkeamäki spoke briefly about his professorship, which was also established with the help of donated money. ‘We are very grateful for that we were able to hire a top-level researcher to Aalto, who is also willing to take part in public discussion. Teaching ownership at Aalto will not be limited to the Department of Finance: it will also extend across school and department boundaries. I would also like to mention Tero Luoma, the originator of the professorship project and author of a book on ownership, and Lari Raitavuo, who found supporters for the project. Both are leaders in their fields! Many thanks to them!’
The last to speak was business student Mia Lundström, who focused on her experiences on student exchange, which is one of the donation targets at the School of Business. ‘Exchange studies expanded my world view in many ways. I learned much about myself, my resilience grew, and I no longer get upset about little things. I learned spontaneity and self-management. I am truly satisfied with everything that my exchange period brought with it, and I wish to thank you, dear donors, for supporting these matters as well. I appreciate it.’
At the end of the evening there was music from the aKYstic band, socializing, and refreshments. A celebration in the iconic building rarely leaves anyone cold, and judging from the general atmosphere, it did not happen this time either.