Practices for Supervising Master's Theses in Company Context : An Anti-Pattern Approach
Jaakkola, Hannu; Mikkonen, Tommi; Systä, Kari; Henno, Jaak (2022)
Grbac, Tihana Galinac
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Software Engineering (SE) university students often work part-time during their studies. In this setup the students can reform the practices of companies by transferring what they have learned to companies and correspondingly utilize what they have experienced at work in their studies. This symbiosis often continues as the students begin to work towards their thesis. The topic of the thesis relates to the problems in the company. These topics often solve a practical problem, which are not always in a perfect match with academic expectations. On the one hand the employer has certain expectations in terms of working for the company, whereas the supervising professor needs to follow the university guidelines. In this paper, we study this tension by focusing on the problems appearing in MSc thesis process in company context. We propose ways to act so that the different stakeholders - the student, the professor, and the company - reach the best possible results. We have analyzed the problems and their root causes. We have also taken the first steps toward anti-patterns for analysis and salvaging of the problems. The study is based on the authors' collective supervision experience, which covers over 1000 MSc theses, with the combined supervision experience of over 100 years.
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