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Professors Esko Penttinen and Seppo Ikäheimo received an award for their academic tutoring of CEMS students

The CEMS Business Project Academic Tutor Award recognises successful teaching.
The photo shows Esko Penttinen and Seppo Ikäheimo.
Professor of Practice Esko Penttinen and Professor Seppo Ikäheimo. Photo: Aalto University

The Aalto University School of Business is a member of the Global Alliance in Management Education (CEMS), a community of the world’s leading business schools, large corporations and organisations. The community comprises 32 member universities and 74 international companies or organisations.

Each spring the programme includes a business project, to which the academic tutors contribute greatly. The business project is worth 15 ECTS credits. This spring, the students worked on eight challenging, interesting and strategic projects for five different companies. Each student worked on their project for up to 400 hours. Each project was led by two tutors, one from the commissioning company and one from the School of Business.

Academic tutors play a big role in business projects

Academic tutors have a lot of responsibility in guiding business projects. They need to ensure that the project work is of high quality and that all members of the group work equally and to a high standard. They are also responsible for guiding the groups to be analytical in their work and to use different methods. The progress of the work and the students’ performances need to be evaluated at various stages of the project. At the end of the project, the tutors will also evaluate the students’ final report and presentation.

Aalto CEMS office has therefore decided to start giving out a CEMS Business Project Academic Tutor award in order to show appreciation to business project tutors and to highlight and demonstrate the first-class teaching at Aalto.

This year the award, based on best student feedback, is given to Esko Penttinen, Professor of Practice in Information Systems and Seppo Ikäheimo, Professor of Accounting. Esko Penttinen has been guiding business projects for seven years, and this year he tutored two different projects. Seppo Ikäheimo tutored one project. Both Esko and Seppo received a lot of praise from their teams.

"Always available and constructive feedback"

The students thanked Esko Penttinen for his guidance on how to use different methods and for his support. Even during difficult times he always made himself available for the students and gave them feedback.  

‘Esko was amazing and it was clear that this was not his first time as an academic tutor. He quickly understood that our project was very complex, he supported us a lot and helped us understand the background. It was easy to approach Esko and he always gave us clear feedback,’ said the students.

Seppo Ikäheimo was praised especially for giving thorough answers to all questions and helping the students develop their own thinking. 

‘Seppo was always available and gave us very useful research papers on the first day of the project, which helped a lot with our own research. Seppo gave constructive feedback and even offered us access to his own networks by arranging meetings with industry experts. We interviewes these experts in order to get to know industry best practices,’ said the students.

Last autumn, Aalto CEMS received the best student satisfaction assessments scores of the entire CEMS network. 

‘We are very pleased that our colleagues from the School of Business are happy to join these projects. The tutors value the energy and high work ethic of the students and are happy to provide their expertise and support in solving real-world business challenges by supporting the work of the project teams. All academic tutors did an excellent job in supporting the students. We want to express our gratitude to all tutors, and also congratulate Esko and Seppo for the recognition, ‘ says Rita Järventie-Thesleff, Academic Director of Aalto CEMS.

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