Why Companies Should Collaborate With Universities
Following our pitch at Slush last year, we were asked by a senior lecturer at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, if we would be interested in participating in one of their courses. Of course we were more than happy to collaborate with Haaga-Helia and so we became involved in a student project. We found the experience to be very valuable and now we would like to encourage more companies to work with schools and students. Lastly, we asked the students from our project to write down their thoughts on why they think more companies should collaborate with more universities.
Introducing Raychel Strange and Kati Laakko!
What Are the Benefits for Students?
Collaborating with a company on a student project can be very beneficial for students for several reasons. They are able to take away real life experiences and put the theories they learn at school to practice. In addition, they can receive insight into how a company operates and learn new information that can support their studies.
What Are the Benefits for Companies?
Working with students and collaborating with universities can be beneficial for companies for several reasons. Students can provide companies with a fresh and new look on various aspects of their business. They can perform many tasks which the company can find to be valuable such as prospecting, marketing, market research, etc. For example, during the short amount of time our team was working with Liid, we were able to provide the company with research on what markets would be best for them to pursue. Moreover, we discovered a part of the Canadian market that would be suitable for Liid to enter.
What Makes a Great Student and Company Project?
When companies accept and undertake a student project, they should have an area of their business which they wish to improve on. For example, some companies might be looking for help on expanding into new markets, creating new marketing campaigns or analyzing their social media content. All of these aspects can consume valuable time and resources which could be spent on more immediate tasks, which is why students can be of great help in these areas.
It is also important that companies choose to work with students that study subjects related to their industry. For example, collaborating with business students can be beneficial for most businesses. Not only is this better for the companies but also better for the students because then they can learn new information related to their studies.
Are there any risks involved?
Companies might think that there are risks in hiring students, however, with the right attitude, project and preparation, the possibilities of any potential risks can be avoided. Don’t let your fears hold you and your company back. To avoid any potential risks, you should assign a person from your company who is innovative, patient, easy to talk to and capable of leading the project.
As mentioned earlier, there must be a clear plan of what is to be expected from the students. The company should be there to guide the students in their work but still should be able to give them the space they need to conduct their work without any pressure or hindrance to their learning. Establishing a productive form of collaboration can take some time. It is imperative that the company and the university communicate with each other. Feedback from both sides is important and following the progress of the students is a must as well.
To conclude, it is a learning process for both sides – the company and the students. Companies can benefit from the work that the students can produce and students can gain valuable experience from working with companies. We hope you will be much more inclined to company and student collaboration after this reading.
Written by Raychel Strange and Kati Laakko
January 31, 2017
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