Visiting Faculty Barbara Edwards: ‘Cultural diversity enriches everyone’s academic experience.’

Barbara Edwards (MAcc, CPA, CA, EdD), retired Senior Lecturer from Simon Fraser University, Vancouver BC Canada, has a long and successful teaching career. In her home university, Edwards received a TD-Canada Trust Distinguished Teaching Award, which is awarded based on colleague and student nominations, and a placement on the SFU Beedie School of Business Teaching Honour Roll. Before she started to teach at SFU in 1993, Edwards worked as a Senior Tax Manager at KPMG.
Senior Llecturer Barbara Edwards

What subjects do you teach in Mikkeli?

I taught my first course in Mikkeli in July 2016. I teach two electives: Financial Accounting for Global Business and Managerial Accounting for Global Business

Financial Accounting for Global Business presents a conceptual framework for financial reporting (IFRS). Students will learn basic bookkeeping and how to prepare, present and analyze financial statements.

Managerial Accounting for Global Business introduces the accounting information used inside an organization to make decisions, evaluate performance, and control operations.

What makes you want to come back to Mikkeli?

The students! The staff and their support are fantastic too.

How are the students at the BScBA Program?

I feel privileged to facilitate an accounting journey for highly motivated students who are eager to learn about accounting. The students are flexible learners and willing to engage in different ways to learn accounting, which isn’t an easy topic. The students bring their lived experience to class which enhances everyone’s understanding of accounting in different countries. The students display a strong ability to reflect on their experience and grow from it, not just about accounting, but about their own transformation.

The students display a strong ability to reflect on their experience and grow from it.

Barbara Edwards, Senior Lecturer, Aalto University Visiting Faculty

In your opinion, what are the strengths of the BScBA Program?

I feel the strengths of the program are the quality of the students recruited, the 3-week module system and the diverse choice of courses taught by faculty from many countries. The fact that many students are willing to travel to Mikkeli and Finland indicates a commitment to their education.  This cultural diversity enriches everyone’s academic experience. The 3-week modules system allows students to give their full attention to a course even though it can be very intensive for the 3 weeks. By bringing together faculty from many countries, we share our best practices and students are allowed to explore many topics from different perspectives.

How are the courses/studies here different from your home university?

Financial accounting is tailored to students who are considering a career in accounting and perhaps a Masters of Accounting at Aalto.

Managerial accounting is similar to an accounting course in Canada with the exception that the cultural diversity encourages the class to explore business through their experience in their home country.

What are your experiences with online teaching and student interactions during the pandemic?

I’m impressed with the students’ attitude to quickly change gears between courses and embrace different course designs. This is true even in a face-to-face class. However, with the pandemic students have learned to be flexible with online learning as designed for a particular course and manage time zone, specifically as I’m in Victoria, Canada, and with teammates in different countries and time zones. In their future careers this skill to work virtually may be a valuable workplace skill if they choose to work for an international enterprise with global teams.

What tips could you give the current and future BScBA students?

I encourage students to continue to embrace different ways of learning! There is more than 1 way to peel a banana!

Bachelor's Program in International Business, Aalto University

International Business, Bachelor (BScBA, Mikkeli) and Master of Science (Otaniemi) in Economics and Business Administration

The Bachelor’s Programme in International Business provides students with a comprehensive range of skills and knowledge to build, develop and lead companies on a global scale. A bachelor’s degree in business with an international focus opens up a wide variety of career opportunities across all industries and continents.

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