| 18.05.2022

Five questions for the new chair of the Hanken Board, Christoph Vitzthum

Christoph Vitzthum
We have asked the chair of the Hanken board, Christoph Vitzthum, five questions. Read, among other things, about the direction in which Vitzthum wants to develop Hanken and what strengths he thinks the university has.

What does Hanken mean to you?

– Hanken means a great deal to me. I studied at Hanken, and now my son studies there. At Hanken, I met many of my best friends, and it was there that I was inspired to have a career within the business world. It is not merely an education; it becomes part of your identity. The Hanken spirit really exists! What worries me, however, is that those who have started their studies during the COVID-19 pandemic have not had the same experiences.

Along which lines would you like to develop Hanken?

– I believe that Hanken has a very clear strategy, but at the same time, we should not let things remain as they are. Hanken’s goals could be even more ambitious. The teaching could become even better and, most of all, the knowledge that the students are our customers. How they experience the teaching and their stay at Hanken influence everything: what kind of staff we are able to recruit, the idea of lifelong learning, how students will continue their engagement in Hanken after they have started their working life etc.

– We could also get better at corporate relations. I know it is difficult, as I have been on the other side of the table. Both parties want to have closer cooperation, but perhaps lack the idea of what they want the output to be. We need to use words that match our ambition level and work together for cooperation to be beneficial for both parties. The internationalisation process that started many years ago can also be used as a basis through more collaboration with foreign universities and academies.

What are Hanken’s strengths?

– The strengths are chiefly based on the Hanken spirit. Hanken is a safe place to study with a supporting environment. Hanken has the financial means to further develop its activities, and the academic programme is of a very high standard.

What are the challenges of Hanken?

– The challenges are in the state financing model that all universities have to struggle with. There is also a risk that our mindset is too homogeneous. Even if, as a business school, we can have a clearer focus than an interdisciplinary university, there may be a risk that we become too introverted. 

What are your best tips for students entering the working life?

– My number one tip is to be curious about everything that occurs in society and the world, within politics, culture and social development. It is an incredible strength, being a young economist, to be curious and enquiring with a broader perspective in the subjects that you work within. The world is facing huge changes and challenges. The larger your holistic understanding is of how the world functions, the better prepared you will be.

Text: Jessica Gustafsson
Photo: Fazer