Professor Corner: Dr David Guttormsen

30.11.2015 | | George Mossford

Dr David GuttormsenIt was a great pleasure and joy to teach U08: Research Project to the HELBUS students. To carry out their own research for a business project was a new endeavour for most of them, and I was thus rather impressed with how open-minded they were to new processes and their willingness to ‘give it a go’. There were also many firsts for me when embarking on my HELBUS adventure: first time in Finland, first time using Pearson’s marking scheme, and the first time (in a long time) teaching undergraduate students. Thus, joining the HELBUS flying faculty as a Visiting Professor has also contributed to my own learning and enriched my own academic experiences. Learning is continuous, and I hope that the HELBUS students I encountered will remain curious as their explore the business environment – as they did with their business projects. I feel excited thinking of them now going forward to conquer the world as they continue their education across the European continent, and I look forward to learning about their  successes and experiences in the future.

Having reflected upon my teaching experiences of the HELBUS student versus those I teach in other countries, two key lessons come to mind. First, HELBUS students are mature, respectful, motivated, pleasant and are intelligent with their own ideas about things – but very quiet and a bit shy! I remember vividly that I was thinking during the first lectures – when I could hear the sound of silence – if they disliked me a lot already, or perhaps thought they were  extremely bored or not interested in the topic at all. But I came to learn that the Finnish style is one of calmness, careful internalisation and consideration before making lengthy statements, and is one that certainly demands an economy with words. Nothing wrong with that, and I think it will be the source of a great cross-cultural learning experience for HELBUS’ students when they encounter diverse communication styles in  classrooms with students and professors from 20-30 countries on a daily basis during their year abroad. The second lesson that I take with me – more on a humoristic note, but it worked (sorry!) – in order to entice a HELBUS student to give their opinion or to ask a question in a larger group, I found the technique of staring at the student long enough would lead them to do so!

Dr David Guttormsen currently works as an Lecturer in International Business at Exeter University’s Business School, as well as holding affiliate roles with the University of Leeds and Warwick Business School. Unit 08: Research Project, is the 13th chronological unit for the HELBUS Class of 2014 and requires all students to design, implement and report an independent business research project.

George Mossford


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