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Hanken School of Economics
Svenska handelshögskolan
RectorKaren Spens
Hanken Campus in Helsinki.
Hanken Campus in Helsinki.

Hanken School of Economics (Swedish: Svenska handelshögskolan, also known as Hanken) is a business school located in Helsinki and Vaasa. Hanken was established as a community college in 1909 and originally offered a two-year vocational education.

Hanken programmes include master's, doctoral, and MBA programmes in English, as well a bachelor's and a master's programme in Swedish. Hanken has two campuses, one in Helsinki and one in Vaasa.[1]


The statutory meeting for Aktiebolaget Högre Svenska Handelsläroverket in Helsinki was held in December 1908, and only four months later the private community college under the name of Högre Svenska Handelsläroverket statutes were approved.[2] Operations started on September 1, 1909.[2] Together with Stockholm School of Economics, Hanken is the oldest business school in northern Europe, with the former opening a month after Hanken.

In 1927, the school was given its current name, Svenska Handelshögskolan. A year later, the school introduced a bachelor's degree in economics, with professorships being introduced in 1934. The first doctoral dissertation took place in 1944.

Hanken's second campus was established in 1980 in Vaasa to develop business education in the region, which houses a large proportion of the Swedish-speaking population in Finland.

Hanken was the first business school in Finland to introduce a compulsory stay abroad for its bachelor's students.[2]

Organization and administration


All universities in Finland, Hanken among them, are primarily regulated by the Universities Act (558/2009) and the Universities Decree (770/2009). The principal governance bodies of Hanken are the University Council, the Board, the Rector, and Deans.

The University Council appoints the external members of the Board, the auditors for the School, and the Academic Council. It approves the financial statement and grants the Board and the rector a discharge from liability.

The Board is the highest decision-making body of the School and is always chaired by an external person - at present Jannica Fagerholm is Chair of the Board. The Board decides on most issues of a strategic nature, such as the activity and economic plan as well as the budget. The Board is responsible for the economy of the School, the allocation of its funds, and appointing the Rector.

The current Rector is Professor Karen Spens who was appointed for a five-year period commencing 1 August 2015. The Board of Hanken re-elected professor Karen Spens as Rector for a three-year period to the summer 2023, on 7 February 2020.[3] The Rector exercises general authority as stated in the Universities Act, i.e. she heads the school, she is responsible for preparing and carrying out the decisions of the Board, and takes decisions on all matters that are not expressly the business of some other body.

Other decision-making bodies are the Academic Council and the Examination Board.

The student body is represented in each decision-making body by at least one student.[4]


Hanken's research and teaching is organized into four departments and one centre for Languages and Business Communication. Students of the subjects are represented in each Department Council by student-elected student representatives.[5]


Hanken has master's degree programmes in both Swedish and English, while the bachelor's degree programmes are in Swedish. Additionally there are PhD and MBA programmes in English.

The MSc in Economics and Business Administration programme is a two-year programme with 120 ECTS. Students studying in English choose between four different specialisations, while students studying in Swedish have a choice of seven majors. The English degrees specialisations are Business and Management, Economics, Financial Analysis and Business Development, and Intellectual Property Law.[6]

The Hanken PhD Programme corresponds to four years of full-time studies, during which students produce a doctoral thesis and complete 60 ECTS of coursework. The courses consist of 44 credits in the major and related subjects, and 16 credits in general methodology, philosophy of science, or other similar courses of a methodological nature.[7]

The Hanken Executive MBA programme is structured around a few key topics: Strategy and leadership, Service business and innovation, Finance and controlling, and Sustainable business in a global context.[8]

Student exchange

Hanken has approximately 120 partner universities for student exchange. Every year some 250 students from Hanken spend one semester or a full academic year abroad. Hanken also receives approximately 150 exchange students yearly.[9]


Hanken's "areas of strength" 2019-2023 are:[10]

Research and knowledge centres

The research and competence centres at Hanken coordinate education, promote research, and offer a wide range of services in information and executive education.[11]

Helsinki GSE - Helsinki Graduate School of Economics

Helsinki Graduate School of Economics is an academic initiative bringing together three Finnish universities – Aalto University, Hanken School of Economics, and University of Helsinki.[12] The unit began operations in the fall of 2018.

Notable alumni

Hanken has over 15,000 alumni in 70 countries.[13]

Rankings & Accreditations

Hanken School of Economics was ranked as the 70th best in 2020 in the Masters in Management ranking by the Financial Times. Furthermore, Hanken School of Economics has been ranked among the world’s top 35 universities and higher education institutions in the global U-Multirank university ranking on research and research linkages.[14] Moreover, Hanken is a Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Champion, meaning the school contributes to responsible management education in the context of the United Nations sustainable development agenda.[15]


EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) is an international programme for the assessment of European education in economic and business sciences. Hanken was awarded the EQUIS accreditation in 2000. The accreditation was renewed in 2017.[16]


Hanken was awarded the AMBA accreditation in 2008.


Hanken was awarded AACSB accreditation in November 2015. Hence, Hanken obtained the Triple accreditation by being accredited by all EQUIS, AMBA and AACSB.[17] The accreditation was renewed in 2021.

Student union

The Student Union of Hanken School of Economics (SHS) was founded in 1909 under the name of Kamratföreningen Niord. Today the student union has some 2500 members and is the only student union in Finland to represent solely business students. The student union organizes events and is responsible for student representation in the School's decision-making body. In accordance to law, all students at Hanken are automatically members of the student union.[18]


  1. ^ "About Hanken". Hanken School of Economics. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  2. ^ a b c Fellman, Susanna; Forsén, Annette (2009). Hundra år av utbildning och forskning: Svenska handelshögskolan 1909–2009. The authors and Svenska handelshögskolan. pp. 30, 36, 38, 213. ISBN 978-952-232-042-1.
  3. ^ "Professor Karen Spens continues as Hanken's Rector | hanken". Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  4. ^ "Decision-making and Advisory Bodies". Hanken School of Economics. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  5. ^ "Departments and subjects". Hanken School of Economics. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  6. ^ "Master's Degree Programme in English | hanken". Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  7. ^ "Studies". Hanken School of Economics. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  8. ^ "Hanken Executive MBA in Helsinki Finland". Hanken & SSE Executive Education. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  9. ^ "International Opportunities". Hanken School of Economics. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  10. ^ "Areas of strength | hanken". Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  11. ^ "Competence centres bring research and practice together". Hanken School of Economics. Archived from the original on 2017-02-07. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  12. ^ "Helsinki GSE – The Best in Economics Combined". Helsinki GSE. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  13. ^ "Alumni". Hanken School of Economics. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  14. ^ "U-Multirank university ranking places Hanken in the top | hanken". Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  15. ^ Ireland, Web design by webmakers, Unit 38, Navan Enterprise Centre, Trim Rd., Navan, Co. Meath. "PRME - Principles for Responsible Management Education". Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  16. ^ "Hanken renews EQUIS accreditation". Hanken School of Economics. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  17. ^ "Hanken confirms its position as international top business school". Hanken School of Economics. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  18. ^ "About SHS | SHS". Retrieved 2017-02-06.

Coordinates: 60°10′15″N 024°55′27″E / 60.17083°N 24.92417°E / 60.17083; 24.92417