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Ilkka Herlin

Ilkka Heikki Herlin
Born January 25th, 1959, Helsinki

Master of Arts 1990 and PhD 1993 ( Finnish and Scandinavian History), University of Helsinki

Chairman of the board and principal owner 2005–, Cargotec
Founder and chairman of the board 2008–, Baltic Sea Action Group
Founder and chairman of the board 2015–, Soilfood

Researcher 1993–2000, University of Helsinki and the Academy of Finland
CEO 1987-200, Security Trading

Chairman of the funding and donations committee 2014–, University of Helsinki
Vice-chairman of the advisory board 2011–, Aleksanteri Institute
Chairman 2009–, Finland-China Trade Association
Chairman of the board 2005–, Wipunen varainhallinta oy
Board member 2005–, D-sijoitus Oy
Board member 2005, Mariatorp Oy
Board Member 2005–2011, Finnish Foundation for Share Promotion
Board Member 2005–2008, John Nurminen Foundation
Board Member 2005, chairman 2000–2005, WIP Asset Management
Board Member 1990–2000, Kone Corporation

Awards and honours:
Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, third class, 2010
Honorary PhD 2012, Lappeenranta University of Technology
Honorary PhD 2012, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki

Photo: Vesa Brandt
Written by Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta
Translated by Matthew Billington

Students Need Guidance

Ilkka Herlin worked the whole time he was studying, and it was partly for this reason that it took him ten years to graduate with a master’s degree. He completed his doctoral dissertation in three years.

– Working with racehorses at the family estate, and particularly working at our investment company from the late 1980s onwards, gave me the necessary pluck to take my studies over the finishing line.

After completing his dissertation, Herlin continued working on research projects and got the chance to teach PhD students of history at the University of Helsinki.

– My feeling that students are in need of personal guidance was further strengthened during that period. Through good guidance the time it takes to complete a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation could be shortened. No one benefits when studying or writing a dissertation becomes one’s life’s work. I hope that more is invested in guidance today.

Herlin nevertheless still thinks that part of studying the humanities is finding your own thing. He believes that everyone should act according to their situation in life.

– Of course it would be better if students completed their master’s degrees quickly and then found work within their fields. If a career in research is what you want, then your dissertation should be finished reasonably fast. On the other hand, there is no harm in occasionally stopping and taking some time to look at the world from new angles. A broad education and identifying the connections between things are part of the humanities. That is something that might not necessarily be learned by rushing through courses just to get a degree.

Herlin also wants to encourage the students of today to explore the possibilities of international cooperation. He himself missed the chance of being an exchange student and living abroad during his time at the University.

– It is great to see how well-organised student exchange programmes are today, with opportunities even to study on the other side of the globe.

Photo by Kati Leinonen.


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