Kick-off for a unique international course at Hanken

Kick-off for a unique international course at Hanken

Last Saturday 36 students from Hanken School of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics and USI Lugano in Switzerland met in Helsinki to tackle world challenges regarding food waste.

Tackling World Challenges is a unique course collaboration between three business schools; Hanken School of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics and USI Lugano in Switzerland. On Saturday 16 February, participants from all three universities met in Helsinki for a kick-off at Hanken.

This is the third time the course is arranged, and since the first time in 2017, students from all three universities have been tackling world challenges. One of these challenges is to reduce food waste and loss, says Liisa Välikangas, who is one of the initiators behind this course.

“Some call them grand challenges, world challenges or wicked problems.  It is important to develop an approach that would allow a longer term, but also experimental, approach to those issues. These are the kind of problems that you cannot instantly solve, but need to keep working on”, says Välikangas.

During the course, the students work together in groups with participants from the other universities using digital platforms. The idea is that the students learn to work with people located in other countries, which is common in companies today. They learn to solve big challenges and they learn how to collaborate with companies in a concrete way. The course is highly demanding, but also extremely useful for the students, says Liisa Välikangas.

“They learn intercultural work skills, how to think about very big challenges in a not too simplistic way, and to experiment on the beginning solutions, which are important things to learn”, says Liisa Välikangas.

This year the partner company for the course is the food company Nestlé. The students will be working on challenges regarding food waste in the company’s supply chain. Previous years, Ikea and International Food Waste Coalition have been partners for the course.

After the kick-off, the students participated in a Rethink Food event at Hanken Business Lab, where Nestle, Fazer, Oatly, Goodio and the International Food Waste Coalition presented their thoughts on reducing waste, sustainability and innovation in the food industry.


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