Trust yourself and others
BusinessAcademy is Finnish entrepreneurship education at its best. Not forgetting the curriculum, students are supported on the road to entrepreneurship: by experimenting, failing, succeeding and improving their activities they can achieve results. Once the students graduate, they already know the business field and how to run their own enterprise.
Text and photos: Anne Lehikoinen
Head of Education and Research Jaana Kallio-Gerlander has since the beginning been involved with creating the popular BusinessAcademy. Back in the day, quite many hours were expended on planning the operations. The first plans were tested already in 2004–2009.
The operations of BusinessAcademy started in Salo in 2010 and in autumn 2015, it opened its doors also in Turku.
“Last autumn, 135 students started their business studies in Turku. About thirty of them chose to study at BusinessAcademy and in Salo, all 60 students in the field study there. Everyone graduates as a Bachelor of Business Administration, but each chooses their own path.”
To put it simply, the idea of BusinessAcademy is that the students’ enterprises work in the form of cooperatives. In them, students work in teams and complete commissions from customers. At the same time, they learn a lot about practical arrangements, delegating, responsibility and respecting each other. All these are required in order to succeed in working life.
The general aim of TUAS is to educate champions. This is implemented in the spirit of innovation pedagogy, which the future Bachelors of Business Administration learn about in their second year of studies.
“You learn best by doing projects. The TUAS team coaches in Turku are Kari Juhala and Marita Nummi-Wikström, whom I’d like to thank for tackling the especially vehement launching period last autumn. The teacher coaches represent extensive and versatile professional competence in business. Heaps of genuine commissions keep coming from business life”, Kallio-Gerlander says.
Aim higher together
Head of Education and Research in Business Administration Jaana Kallio-Gerlander has an international background. She used to go to school in Germany and Austria and worked there, too. She says that back in the day, she came back to Finland to attend upper secondary school for family reasons and ended up as a teacher at TUAS in 1999 “by chance”.
Now she has a long experience on pedagogic development. She is especially interested in novel learning cultures and environments.
There was a time at Sepänkatu when engineering students joked to their teacher that they couldn’t think of anything more boring than the combination of German and mathematics. It was so much fun however that Jaana Kallio-Gerlander stayed to work with education.
“I’ve always been surrounded by great colleagues. In my youth I was a high jumper at the Finnish national level and I know that I like to spur and demand. I believe in chances. I trust that we can always reach better results."
You learn when you want to
Jaana Kallio-Gerlander talks about students’ commitment with gusto. She assures that at BusinessAcademy, the quality of the work is often better than that of professionals. It might take a bit more time, but the end result is what matters.
During a project, students’ handiwork can be placed in several study modules. Years ago Jaana had to prove the “businesslikeness” of BusinessAcademy with the other developers, but nowadays they get to present its activities. Interest in this kind of learning environments is on the rise.
“We do not own information. A student learns anywhere, also without our supervision. We have to trust each other and give each other space. Young people are enthusiastic and very responsible, and all our operations have to aim at being operationally flexible”, Kallio-Gerlander emphasises.