University of Oulu

Student co-operation between universities and companies : case Oulu

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Author: Hirvonen, Pekka1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, Management
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Pages: 73
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : P. Hirvonen, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-10-26
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Pia
Reviewer: Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Pia
Tuunainen, Juha


This thesis focuses on university–industry collaboration, and especially on student co-operation between companies and universities. Student co-operation in this study covers all university–industry interactions that fundamentally relate to students. The thesis aims to find out the key aspects that play a role when companies engage in student co-operation with universities. Also, students’ perceptions of these collaborations are investigated. Additionally, the role of faculty personnel is looked into, as much of educational collaboration includes them, too. University of Oulu is used as a case university, but the topic itself is universal and the findings contribute to the existing literature of university–industry collaboration, either by confirming what is already known, or at times creating new knowledge. It must also be noted that the literature regarding student co-operation (instead of university–industry collaboration in general) is rather scarce, which adds to the significance of the results of this thesis, also (and especially) in the Finnish context.

To achieve the goals of the research, eight companies that collaborate with University of Oulu were chosen and their representatives were interviewed. Data collection for the student and staff perspectives was done through qualitative surveys.

During the analysis process, five themes emerged as key aspects of student co-operation. The themes are: recruiting, branding, communication, influence & learning, and social responsibility. Additionally, the role of student associations as well as the role of career days are important, as they act as major touchpoints between companies and students. Especially recruiting and branding are important motives for companies to engage in student co-operation. While students perceive these activities rather positively in general, the results reveal that there are areas of development companies may not be aware of. Also, the role of communication is crucial for the realization of collaboration. At the time of writing, most companies perceived that it is not on the level it needs to be. Many companies also emphasized the role of responsibility as an integral part of collaboration. This is an aspect much of prior research omits, and the emergence of it itself acts as one of the findings of the study.

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Copyright information: © Pekka Hirvonen, 2020. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.