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Alum Ohto Pentikäinen ‘Anyone can come up with problems, but those who can solve them creatively are hot currency in building better business’

Our alum Ohto Pentikäinen has been entrepreneurial since childhood. From establishing a snack kiosk in middle school to officially founding his first company in high school and juggling multiple projects and businesses alongside studies, Ohto emphasizes that entrepreneurship has primarily been a tool for him to solve problems.
Ohto Pentikäinen
Ohto Pentikäinen

Who are you? What did you study at Aalto University and when did you graduate?

My name is Ohto Pentikäinen. I graduated in the fall of 2022. I studied Information and Service Management both in my bachelor's and master's degrees. My minors were Business Law and Information Technology.


What kind of work did you dream of as a child, and how did you end up studying at Aalto University School of Business?

I was quite entrepreneurial as a young person. I made deals with my parents about chores, curfew times - negotiating my way out of them - and various incentives related to my own projects and studies. One of these projects led me to establish a "kiosk" in middle school, where I sold snacks like candy bars, chips, and other treats from my locker to other students. I also brought instant food to school in bulk because I suspected, based on the menu, that the school food wouldn't be to students' liking. Since we weren't allowed to go to the store during school hours, the business was favorable for a while. However, it came to an end when other students started competing with me.


I took an interest to stock investing in ninth grade and wanted to work with stocks for a while as an adult. Then, I founded my first organization in high school, where our team managed a student-led course called "Hautomo," where students could get courses based on their own projects. I enjoyed doing things myself, so I thought I might become an entrepreneur.


During high school, I lived in the United States, and Aalto University School of Business was the only Aalto program available at the time that accepted SAT scores for admission. Both technical and commercial subjects interested me.

Ohto DJing during his KUJ year.
Ohto DJing at Sillis during his KUJ year.

What did you find personally rewarding in your studies? What was the most challenging?

I loved student life. I was involved in many activities: committees, boards, tutoring, clubs, and even worked at the KY office. Kauppis allowed me to pursue my own projects and businesses during my studies. The curriculum suited my needs exceptionally well. Languages were the most challenging. Although I speak English and Finnish well, learning a new language requires patience, which I didn't have much of during my studies.

What has been the most beneficial aspect of your studies as you transitioned to the working world?

I worked and studied throughout my time at Aalto, and they benefitted each other even then. Reflecting now, I benefited the most from the development of my interpersonal skills, and the growth of my technological expertise intersecting with my commercial knowledge.

What insights have you gained about your own skills as you transitioned to entrepreneurship?

The most important thing is realizing how much I can influence things if I want to, with my own contribution. I developed confidence in my own abilities already in middle school, but as the problems I work on become more challenging, I get the feeling that I could tackle many problems either alone or with a team.

Nowadays, I'm not so interested in the work or its associated tasks itself, but its purpose.

Ohto Pentikäinen

What would you like to change in the working world?

I write a blog called ohto.exposed, where I wrote the following thought: "It's tragic how many people burn themselves out doing something they don't find important, chasing a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Tunnel vision risks losing the essential, only to realize later that happiness was around all along."


I feel that there are many changes happening in the working world, and the meaningfulness of work is a significant theme around me.

Startups often convey a quite hectic, perhaps even chaotic, image. Things are done with great passion. Is this true? And how do you ensure well-being and resilience amidst everything?

Being an entrepreneur is both the best and the worst job in the world. Nevertheless, it is absolutely worth it. You have to do dozens of different tasks at the same time, many of which you tend to be very underqualified for. Passion and incompetence combined often lead to chaos. A good team is the best medicine for well-being and resilience because you can share tasks among yourselves. Then there is room for other things. The hardest part is if the team doesn't work well together.

What thoughts about careers did you have during your studies? How have they been realized or changed since graduation?

During my studies, I was interested in several different roles. I wanted to be a stock investor or analyst, but I was too risk-seeking, so I was not good at managing other people's money or advising anyone on anything. I also wanted to be a coder at one point, but it seemed too lonely, and I felt there were better coders than me.
Nowadays, I'm not so interested in the work or its associated tasks itself, but its purpose. If I feel drawn to a problem, I like to find a way to search for a solution, whether it's through code or starting a company. Now that the latter has happened a few times, some call me an entrepreneur, although I think entrepreneurship is just a tool for problem-solving and not an end in itself for me.

Ohto Pentikäinen
Ohto at the DoublePoint office.

You are the Co-Founder and CEO of DoublePoint. What kind of tasks and responsibilities do you have, and what are your workdays like?

I am responsible for strategy, financing, business operations, communications and marketing, growth, and partnerships. I have some routines, but most of the time, I work on whatever is very important at the time. I prioritize tasks based on the Pareto principle, where 20% of actions lead to 80% of results. This way, I can fit many themes into my days.

What does meaningful work mean to you?

Being an idealist, work is an opportunity for me to get paid for something I would have a compelling need to do anyway. Work can also be a way to finance something else meaningful to oneself, such as hobbies or family, and that's perfectly okay. Meaningfulness is subjective, and there are many different motivations for work. However, there are some things that are recurring, for example, a bad boss can certainly take away the meaningfulness from everything.

How did you end up founding DoublePoint?

A friend of mine from middle school built a student project for his own use. He is a classically trained pianist and tended to write notes in his mind by moving his fingers. A few tech people from Silicon Valley saw the prototype, and the control of augmented realities became the target approach. I started raising money for the project and got involved.

What advice would you give to a student interested in starting a business?

Talk to someone who has founded a similar company to the one you would like to establish yourself. Companies vary greatly, and there are many different paths.


How does creativity manifest in building a better business?

In my opinion, the coolest creativity is seen in problem-solving. Anyone can come up with problems, but those who can solve them creatively are hot currency in building a better business. Creative solutions create great businesses.
 

Learn more about Ohto's career path and studies on LinkedIN!

Check out also Doublepoint!

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Here you can find School of Business alumni stories. Our alumni share their professional journeys and give advice and tips regarding working life. The stories have been sorted based on the alumni's majors. The newest publications are placed first in the major groups.

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Department of Information and Service Management

The Department of Information and Service Management refers to the creative use of information and digital technology in business and the move from industrial to service dominant forms of production.

Aalto University School of Business offers wide range of career services for our students

Career Services for School of Business students

Aalto University School of Business Career Services offer a wide range of services to our students.

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