Visiting professor Finbarr Bradley: "BScBA Program offers a very enriching experience."

Finbarr Bradley, an Adjunct Professor from the University College Dublin, Ireland, takes a fascinating and unique approach to teaching green entrepreneurship. His warm and witty personality intertwined with his eminent knowledge and passion on sustainability inspires students to examine how they can make a meaningful difference and live authentic flourishing lives both in the global and local business environment.
Professor Finbarr Bradley

Could you tell us about your career?

I have an electrical engineering degree from University College Cork (Ireland), an MBA from Syracuse University, New York, and a PhD in international finance from the Stern School of Business, New York University (NYU).

I began my career working with GE as an engineer in Ireland, US and South Korea. Later, I was a professor of finance at Dublin City University where I also was the founding director of, and taught courses on, an Irish [Gaelic]-medium degree. I have been a visiting professor at, among others, the University of Michigan, Fordham University, Toulouse Business School, Vienna University of Economics & Business and Copenhagen Business School. I have authored or co-authored several books on culture, innovation and place.

What subject do you teach in Mikkeli?

The course is called Green ventures. The objective is to help students understand how real value, which includes both monetary and non-monetary value, is created and shared through purpose-driven regenerative ventures. The course delves into the role that entrepreneurs play in developing meaningful solutions to reduce waste, foster ethical consumerism, limit biodiversity loss, and so forth. The course also looks at place-based enterprises, nurtured by a sense of belonging or rootedness, in sectors such as food, drink, tourism, craft, and so on.

When did you come to teach in the BScBA Program for the first time?

I taught my first course in Mikkeli in 1996, before most students here were born!  The course was International financial markets, the program was called the BBA and the school was at that time called the Helsinki School of Economics. The first course I taught on the BScBA program was Managerial finance in 2003.  After a 17 years absence since I last taught in Mikkeli, I was delighted in 2020 to begin teaching here again.

What makes you want to come back to Mikkeli?

I am attracted by the fact that while the BScBA program is an integral part of a major institution, Aalto University, Mikkeli due to its small size offers a very enriching experience.  I also love meeting colleagues from different universities for the 3 weeks which often leads to lasting friendships.  The Mikkeli administrative staff are very professional and welcoming so everything works smoothly. Moreover, I am enthralled by the beauty of the surrounding lake district and how much seasons differ here compared to at home.  Whether I experience lush Winter snows, warm Spring evenings, long Summer days or rich Autumn colours, there is always a magic feeling in such a distinctive place. 

How are the students at the BScBA Program?

I like very much their dedication and enthusiasm.  They possess a genuine commitment to learning and seem to work very hard at their studies. They come to class prepared and are keen to learn. At the same time, they like having fun in their free time and seem able to balance their studies and social life so the two are in perfect harmony (or so it seems to me!). 

I like the dedication and enthusiasm of the students. They possess a genuine commitment to learning.

Finbarr Bradley, Adjunct Professor, University College Dublin

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

I believe that students on the BScBA program are very fortunate in obtaining a rich learning experience by being exposed to professors from places around the world.  It also adds a wonderful dimension to cultural understanding and appreciation when students’ classmates come from many different countries. The small intimate nature of the Mikkeli program is a real advantage for Mikkeli students.

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

My home university is very large and therefore quite impersonal.  In Mikkeli, the Program Director offers invaluable guidance, advice and feedback, so I have a far better understanding of what topics and teaching approaches are likely to bear fruit in the classroom. Class sizes are also far bigger in my home university so it’s a pleasure to teach relatively small classes where I feel I can have a far greater impact on the student’s learning experience and on course outcomes.

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

Of course, while I would much prefer to have face-to-face contact with students, I don’t find it that unattractive. It possibly allows students more flexibility as they can decide to ‘switch off’ for periods during class without unduly interrupting their classmates, take breaks when it suits them better, and so forth. Because I attempt to do all my classes ‘live’ while also recording each class, students may have the best of both worlds since they can also watch later to refresh their knowledge of a topic if they desire. 

What have you learned from your visits to Mikkeli?

How a closeness to and a deep love of nature is such a central element in the Finnish psyche. Teaching about green businesses means it’s very enriching and inspiring for me to be exposed to the perspectives of young people who wish to lead flourishing lives while taking care of our shared home.  I have also learned that courtesy and respect is prevalent wherever I am in Mikkeli, either inside or outside the classroom.

Your best/funniest memory/memories from Mikkeli?

The first year I taught in Mikkeli I went shopping in the local supermarket after my very first class. But the only two items I had in my basket at checkout were beer and potatoes. Standing next to me in the queue were a few of my new Mikkeli students. While they were very kind by not saying it, I imagined them thinking to themselves, ‘a typical Irish person, making sure he has enough food and drink ‘essentials’ to get him through the evening!’

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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