Professors of Practice strengthen the expertise of Oulu Business School

Professors of Practice bring socially significant expertise to universities to support research, education, and societal engagement. At Oulu Business School, they play a vital role in advancing the school's activities in key areas. A notable example is the recent appointment of a Professor of Practice in Business Law at the turn of the year.

At the beginning of 2024, Justice Mikko Pikkujämsä was appointed as the new Professor of Practice in Business Law at Oulu Business School. Serving as a justice in the Supreme Administrative Court, Pikkujämsä brings over 30 years of experience in business law, dispute resolution, and judiciary work.

Business law has long been a popular minor subject among students at the business school. As a Professor of Practice, Pikkujämsä is expected to provide up-to-date knowledge on developments in tax law and current issues in taxation, thereby strengthening the business law education at the school. His prior experience has given him insight into the role of law in business.

"It is not necessarily wise to teach law strictly according to the internal subject boundaries and topics of legal studies in a business school," Pikkujämsä reflects. Instead, he favours a phenomenon-based approach, which simultaneously considers various forms of taxation as well as company and contract law.

Even for an experienced professional, adjusting to a new role is not always easy. "When navigating as a lawyer among business students and researchers, you inevitably have to find your own role," Pikkujämsä notes.

Pentti Pikkarainen’s current term ends in summer

Pentti Pikkarainen, who has served as a Professor of Practice at the business school since 2019, will see his current term conclude in summer 2024. During his five-year part-time position, he has shared his professional expertise in economics and finance through lectures and supervising theses.

"I have had the opportunity to lecture on topics close to my heart and my previous roles at the Bank of Finland and the Ministry of Finance. My past work experience in these institutions and in academia has often been reflected in my lectures, sometimes quite strongly," Pikkarainen says.

In his lectures on financial markets, the Finnish economy and economic policy, and international monetary economics, students have also had the chance to hear the "veteran reminisce." "Perhaps this has sparked students' interest in economic policy and economic history."

In supervising economics and finance theses, Pikkarainen has adhered to the same principles he followed in his professional career: being continuously available to students, having regular discussions with them, and jointly resolving questions about the direction of their work. Feedback indicates that students have been satisfied with Pikkarainen's guidance.

Professors of Practice bridge academic and practical expertise

At its best, the role of a Professor of Practice is beneficial for all parties involved. The faculty benefits from the professional skills and networks of the Professor of Practice, students learn from leading experts in their field, and the Professor of Practice becomes part of an academic community that offers various opportunities. "Working with talented young people is inspiring," Mikko Pikkujämsä summarises.

Coming from outside the university, Professors of Practice also provide valuable perspectives for the development of the faculty’s operations. An external view makes it easier to assess the faculty's position as well as its weaknesses and strengths.

Pentti Pikkarainen believes that Oulu Business School is an excellent choice for young people, as its activities have been continuously and systematically developed. "The entire university can be proud of its achievements and impact. Finland is a small country in terms of population, and our location is peripheral. The University of Oulu is a true 'power house' in our region and Northern Finland, but it has an impact throughout Finland and internationally," Pikkarainen notes.

Succeeding in the competition requires continuous development

However, competition for top students and researchers in academia is fierce, so it is wise to learn from the world's top schools.

What lessons would Pikkarainen take from the world? He would increase the number of exercises in economics and finance courses while limiting the number of retakes. The feedback system for students should be improved, as every teacher wants to develop their lectures. Additionally, research seminars should be made more active and systematic. Around the world, discussions often continue informally after seminars, which is also socially important.

Oulu Business School continues its development with a strong strategic approach, leveraging the expertise and experience of its Professors of Practice. The future goal remains to offer students the best possible education, seamlessly combining theoretical and practical knowledge.

A Professor of Practice at the University of Oulu can be appointed based on significant achievements in their professional career outside the academic community. These achievements must benefit the university's teaching, research, and societal service. In addition, the person must hold a doctoral degree or exceptionally high quality competence within the field in question.

Last updated: 19.6.2024