The Aalto University School of Business is a member of the Global Alliance in Management Education, or CEMS, a community of the world's leading schools of business, large companies, and NGOs. The community includes 34 member universities and about 70 international companies or organisations.
The CEMS Masters in International Management (MIM) programme is similar in structure in all of the 34 schools of business in the network. Consequently, the programme includes certain courses that are mandatory for all CEMS students. CEMS Global Strategy is a course that is taught in the autumn, which is available only to CEMS students.
The CEMS alliance awards the best mandatory courses once a year. The selection process for the winning course has two phases. First, three courses receiving the best student feedback are selected for further evaluation. The Global Strategy course of Professor Hannu Seristö was named as a candidate for the CEMS Global Strategy Course of the Year prize, based on the evaluations together with the Global Strategy courses of two other schools of business. After that, the professors of each of the three best courses write self-evaluation reports, and based on the reports, the academic directors of the different schools select the course of the year.
‘The recognition is a great achievement and a valuable acknowledgement for Hannu Seristö himself, for the Aalto University CEMS programme, and for the whole School of Business. Traditionally the Aalto CEMS programme has done very well in the comparison, which is based on student feedback, and the students generally praise their learning experience. The recognition for the strategy course tends to underscore this appreciation. We are happy that Hannu Seristö has come back to the CEMS programme to teach this strategy course. After all, he has won the prize for the best CEMS course twice before, in 2007 and 2008,’ says Rita Järventie-Thesleff, Academic Director of the CEMS programme.
Extensive learning goals and close corporate cooperation
The Global Strategy course focused on matters such as strategic planning, the global business environment, global strategy and growth, competition and competitiveness, economic integration, and the impact of technology on business.
‘The learning objectives on the course include matters such as making sure the student learns to understand the strategy and how to strategize at a very contextualised level, gets practical information on the strategic challenges that businesses face today, and understands ways of developing strategies for global business’, Hannu Seristö explains.
‘The course also makes the students aware of the differences in global business environments and helps them learn to understand the dynamics and applicability of different styles of business management in different parts of the world. Students taking the course also become familiar with the role and importance of technology in global business, while analysing and planning global business activities and learning to understand related questions of ethical and social responsibility’, Seristö adds.
The Teaching Assistant on the course was Johanna Niskavaara, a doctoral candidate in international business, who also lectured on the course. The students worked in teams, solving global challenges in four organisations: Iceye, KONE Oyj, Nokia Bell Labs, and Business Finland.
The course had visits from a number of experts: Associate Jani Leivo of Nordic West Office, Dr. Neeta Nagar of Accenture, Dr. Risto E.J. Penttilä of Nordic West Office, Dr. Rilana Riikkinen, Tarun Sharma, Head of Digital & Strategy at Nokia Bell Labs, and Maria Suorsa, Director of the Strategy Transformation Office at KONE.
‘It is a joy and a privilege to teach in the CEMS programme where the students are truly talented, motivated, and conscientious. A crucial part of the teaching experience of the course involves project work, so the input of the four case organisations into the course was truly valuable. In addition to the specialist guests that were already mentioned, I would like to extend my very warm thanks to Dr. Darren Muff of Iceye and Director Paavo Virkkunen of Business Finland,’ Professor Seristö says.