Information Technology Program at HSE

About a week ago, I stepped out of Lidl in a busy Kontula and caught a glimpse of something falling out of a man’s back pocket. I was surprised to see it was a considerable bundle of cash, as he was disappearing into the crowd. I picked up the cash, and ran after him, returned the money into his hands and turned my back to catch a bus home. I have that same feeling about the choice I made right now. Finally I have left the 15 credit (1 credit = 40 hours of work) course ITP.

ITP is a course run under the Helsinki School of Economics. In many ways ITP is a reflection of e-business industry today: Still a lot of bullshit.

The teaching:

The project with a company:

Probably the most controversial. Firstly the NDA: The NDA is marked confidential. That means I can not consult a lawyer say to decipher the legal dialect of this document. That for a start is silly. Next issue was the section: “Confidential Information shall not include any information which, as demonstrated by the Recipient by written evidence”. Written? Evidence? Oh please! I know their “secret”, and I can tell you that every single element of it is already in the public domain. So what is the point?

Next the part where I have to basically not to make use of any of this publicly available information/technology for the next 5 YEARS. Otherwise… wait for it. Face damages of TWO HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND EUROS. I also love the bit where it says “The Parties acknowledge that monetary damages may not be a sufficient remedy for a breach…” and allows any other means to screw me. After I repeatedly voiced my concerns about the NDA to the course organizers, I was finally told by Sonera staff that a consultant signed it, so I should have no problem with it.

Oh dear. So briefly there is no need for the NDA. Or at least for this extremely broad one. A student should not have to be under this sort of threat when taking a course. A NDA for me flies in the face of what an open and sharing learning experience should be.

Companies “sponsoring” ITP do not do so for reasons like contributing back into society and any other charitable reason. No, they do quite the opposite. They unethically use students to do “research” for them. Frankly this is business malpractice. TeliaSonera for example wanted my team to call 27 organizations in order to scout out the market for them. Yes, they suggested we call them with their supplied SIM cards. They too suggested we announce ourselves as “Helsinki School of Economics students”, and not correctly as TeliaSonera. They even went as so far as to tell us the questions and what order to present them to our interviewees. This is why they want us to sign NDAs. Market research. The study we conduct is for the sole use of TeliaSonera. Again contrary to the academic learning principles of sharing information. I for one, did not intend to do cold calls for a E-business project when I took this course. My team is not the only one. A friend of mine on the NT track has to interview people on the street for an ITP sponsoring company. Shameful.

This sort of research should be bought via legitimate avenues. Not by cheating the 27 organizations and more importantly not by cheating ITP students.

Today I have dropped this 15cu course, which I intended to complete my minor in order to graduate. I have taken shitty courses before, but this time I have a choice. Although I could have run with the money/credits, and let me tell you it was a lot of money (I don’t know why some guy carried so much cash) and 15cu is a LOT of credits here in Finland. I like that incident in Kontula feel now that I have made the right moral choice of action. I pray you agree, otherwise comments are very welcome. Goodbye ITP colleagues.

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