THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS! Studying law at a business school.

Hi everyone! Jitesh here. Last week, I’d talked about studying abroad in general. This week I turn my focus to the reason why I’m here at Hanken: my master’s specialization!

Master’s of Science in Economics and Business Administration with specialization in Intellectual Property Law is quite a lot of fancy sounding words, right? But this begs the question: what is it that we actually do in this degree course?

I’ve tried to turn this blog post into an FAQ of sorts. Let’s start with the basics:

What is Intellectual Property law?

Let’s think of some stuff you might do….

Imagine you wrote a poem, and you want to make the world know that it’s yours; if you could get some money out of it, that would be even better. Also, you would want to make sure that people copying or publishing it have your permission…..

Or maybe you invented something, and you don’t want others to simply copy your concept and make money from that invention without your permission…..

or maybe (and this one is something businesspeople would most likely relate to) you have a brand name which is recognized by people, and you don’t want anyone else to do any shady stuff using that brand name……

……….what each of these scenarios describes is a form of “property” which is not really physical property. You can’t really say that you physically “own” a poem, or a brand name, or an invention in the way you own a house or a car. Still, all of this stuff is valuable. This valuable stuff is referred to as Intellectual Property (IP). The branch of law which deals with this is called (surprise surprise ) IP law.

Hmm. This sounds like specific law related stuff. Why are you studying this at a business school?

Great question! But there’s more to this than meets the eye.

First, Hanken has a full-fledged Department of Accounting and Commercial law (more info here). Any area which might have the intersection of law and business, would probably be a field of interest for the department. IP law is one such area, and students at Hanken are free to take other courses offered by the Department related to labour law, tax law, corporate finance law and corporate governance.

Second, IP law is inherently commercial in nature. Any person who has IP would want to make money from it (except those who only want recognition for their creativity). Now, for helping people make the best commercial use of IP, it would be essential to know how this process of commercialization would actually work in the real world. This is where the Hanken environment comes in handy! You can learn about traditional management disciplines, like finance or marketing or supply chains etc. You could meet and interact with both experienced businesspersons and start-up creators, who would definitely be interested in creating and protecting IP assets. These kinds of possibilities are simply not present in any traditional law school, and this is one of the reasons which made me prefer this master’s degree over a traditional law school master’s degree.

Okay. So what are the courses like?

The IP law track courses are made in a way that we first understand the basics of IP law and then go on to apply it to the business context. The first year is about learning the concepts of IP law, and how they are understood and implemented across the world. The second year is mainly about learning how to conduct research in commercial law and eventually writing the thesis.

The elective courses are of a broad variety. There’s IP related courses, including online training and summer schools, and there’s also the chance to participate in moot court competitions. I mention the moot court specifically because I was part of Hanken’s team for this academic year, and we managed to actually win a prize while competing against other Nordic Schools (read about our experience here)

Other than that, all the courses at Hanken are open for master’s students, subject to them meeting the pre-requisites, if any.

And what about the professors?

At the helm of things is our professor Nari Lee (find her profile here). She’s got vast experience in teaching IP law and has worked in different locations across the globe. Her serious body of work is complemented with a jovial nature. She loves to pepper her lectures with humour and that’s something which makes learning easier and more fun!

Throughout the course, the emphasis is on broad concepts and international aspects of IP law. In keeping with this objective, we have international guest lecturers who come and talk about their particular jurisdiction and legal system. For example, last semester we had Professors Jane Ginsburg and Sharon Sandeen from the US and Professor Annette Kur from Germany teaching us about their areas of expertise. A simple google search on any of these names will tell you that it’s a privilege for any law student just to be in the same room as them! In the coming period in March, we will have the course of IP Strategy for Business where we will get to interact with businesspersons who work with IP issues in the corporate environment. I really look forward to that!

That sounds interesting. Is there any particular recognition for this course? How do I know that it’s legit?

Well, over and above the accreditations which Hanken has as a business school, the IP law course is also recognized under the Pan-European Seal, which essentially means that the course meets the requirements of the European Intellectual Property Office and the European Patent Office. For a business school course to be recognized in this manner is an achievement in itself!

Apart from this, the course is conducted in close collaboration with the IPR University Center (more info here) . It is a joint institute of six leading universities of Finland, coming together to promote research and awareness of IP rights in Finland. Most of the Center’s activities are held at Hanken, and we have the opportunity to participate in lectures and workshops conducted by researchers and practitioners of IP working in law firms.

So what kind of career prospects does the course have?

Well, this depends totally on what you’re looking for. IP law is still an up and coming field across the world, and the unique nature of the degree can open up opportunities in both the business and legal spaces. The EU is always coming up with new rules and regulations related to IP laws and their impact on changes in technology, so demand for IP professionals should only increase in the future. Given Hanken’s international outlook, coupled with the internationally oriented syllabus, this master’s degree would suitably prepare you for roles outside the EU as well!

Cool! When and how do I apply?

Well, you can check out the course’s webpage for all the practical information about the course and its application procedure. You’ll find the relevant details and contacts there as well!

Thank you for reading! I hope you found this blog informative. For anything course related or Hanken related, feel free to drop me an email at