Information Technology Program (ITP), Aalto University’s summer minor program, ran its courses and business projects in a hybrid model during the summer while taking care of everyone’s safety.
Record number of students completed minor studies in ITP
Information Technology Program (ITP) is an academic summer program that brings students together from diverse backgrounds and all around the world to solve digital business challenges. Students complete 24 ECTS during the three months and earn the minor for their degree. Students can specialise in Information and Service Business (ISB), Digital and Interactive Ecosystems (DIE) or Strategy and Experience Design (SED).
The core of the program is a three-month-long business project. ITP partners with interesting companies and governmental or municipal organisations for whom ITP students create solutions to digitalisation related business challenges. Projects are guided and supported by the ITP faculty.
ITP's attractiveness increased due to the global situation
During the spring 2020, many students lost their summer jobs due to the global pandemic, which was noticeable in the number of applications ITP received during the spring’s application period. At the end of May, 87 students with diverse backgrounds started ITP, and 80 of them completed the program by the end of August. Previous years the same numbers have varied close to 70 students.
The students in ITP represented versatile study backgrounds with a wide variety of majors and 14 different nationalities. ITP had students from 5 different schools of Aalto University (BIZ, ARTS, SCI, ELEC and CHEM), with 70 % coming from the School of Business. This year the vast majority of students, around 90 %, were from Aalto University, which is natural considering the effects of Covid-19. Other represented universities were Hanken School of Economics, University of Turku, Stockholm University and the University of South Carolina - Darla Moore School of Business. Over 60 % of the students were Master’s students, roughly 30% of Bachelor’s students and around 10% others like doctoral students.
ITP had a strong international representation, with nearly 50% of international students representing 13 different nationalities. Two of the students completed the program online from abroad, from the United States and India. In addition, ITP had Asian and European students who were in Finland to complete their Master’s studies at Aalto University.
Michael Hendershot, ITP student 2020
Having a great group of individuals of varied backgrounds to work with on the business project proved to be the highlight of the summer.
ITP student Michael Hendershot from the University of South Carolina needed to adjust to Finland’s time zone while living in his home country. It certainly was not the most optimal way to complete ITP. Nevertheless, the program was a valuable experience for him: ‘While it was definitely a struggle to adjust to the time zone difference mentally and physically, the more interactive learning methods applied by the professors helped me to stay focused while gaining new knowledge. Further, having a great group of individuals of varied backgrounds to work with on the business project proved to be the highlight of the summer. Working on a real project for a real company with your peers is what you want from a program such as the ITP and what will truly add value to your personal and professional life.’
Nearly 20 business projects were successfully completed
Real business projects are a vital learning experience for the students of the challenge-based minor program. ITP is thankful to this year’s partner organisations UPM, Teknologiateollisuus, ACRE, AYY, Bank of Finland, FIN-FSA, Yle, City of Espoo and PwC for the collaboration during the summer.
Altogether 17 projects were completed during the summer with the earlier mentioned nine partner organisations. According to the satisfaction surveys, 94% of ITP partners were satisfied with the outcomes and felt that the students succeeded to bring real value for them. The partners found ITP as an excellent experience where students’ way of working and the final results are comparable to the high-quality professional consultants.
Student teams researched themes such as Synthetic Person, Matchmaking Tool, Enterprise Architecture, Digital Product Passport and Campus Wayfinding. The topics inspired the students, and 92 % of them felt proud of the project outcomes. One of ITP’s students, Elsa Hakala from Aalto University felt the way: ‘Working on a real-life business problem with an actual client was truly rewarding. Having to do all the research from scratch and later, hearing the positive feedback from the client makes you feel proud of your achievements during the summer.’
Elsa Hakala, ITP student 2020
Working on a real-life business problem with an actual client was truly rewarding.
On the contrary to previous years, this year, all the partner meetings were held online. Communication mainly worked well. All kinds of online meeting platforms were used such as Zoom, Teams, Skype and Google Meets, whichever suited the partner the best. ITP’s business partners felt that the communication and the cooperation with the team worked well and professionally.
ITP was a success in the summer, and ITP Program Manager Petra Fagerlund agrees with that: ‘I am so proud of everyone who was involved in making ITP 2020. The students were understanding, the lecturers did their best to adjust their teaching in a new environment, my team did excellent work supporting the project teams, and I received valuable advice from my colleagues and supervisor. I am also glad that our business partners were so satisfied with the students' project outcomes. I personally think ITP was a success despite the challenges.’
Petra Fagerlund, ITP Program Manager
I am so proud of everyone who was involved in making ITP 2020. I personally think ITP was a success despite the challenges.
The next application period for ITP starts in January 2021 and ends at the turn of March-April. ITP is free of charge for tuition waiver students, who are students from Aalto University, students from Finnish universities under the JOO agreement and students from Aalto University School of Business partner institutions under a current exchange agreement. Applicants must have at least 60 ECTS of the BSc degree completed when applying to the program.
Read here other articles related to the ITP summer 2020.
For more information about the program, visit the following websites.
Aalto University Information Technology Program (ITP) is a minor program (24 ECTS) that is completed during the summer period (3 months). It brings students together from diverse backgrounds and all around the world to solve digital business problems.