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Alumna Mari Sederholm: In life and business it is all about teamwork and continuous learning

School of Business, Mikkeli Campus alumna Mari Sederholm has had a long career in the pharmaceutical industry. Business studies helped her to pursue her dream career: “You will learn skills that are useful in life no matter what you will do in your career and in which ever field.”
BScBA Alumna Mari Sederholm

I am Mari Sederholm and work as a senior brand manager in a family owned pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. Job as a a brand manager in a flat local organization is a very versatile one and rewarding. I lead a cross functional brand team and basically work as a janitor and a CEO in the same package.  It is everything from strategy, tactics, financial planning, project management, coaching, communications, medical education and campaigns together with local colleagues. Additionally the team cooperates with regional HQ in Amsterdam. The motivation and desire is to provide more health to the mankind.

What and when did you study at Aalto University School of Business?

I studied in Mikkeli marketing as my major a long time ago and graduated in 1991, which was the 1st class ever in the history of BBA-studies in Mikkeli. It was a very unique opportunity and program at that time. I did the MBA right after (1993) in Helsinki.

How’s your career path been?

After the studies I had a burning interest towards selling on one hand and helping out sick people on the other. I was also very interested in communications and liked writing. I started my career at the pharma industry as a medical sales representative for MSD followed by several marketing positions with different disease areas, products and projects in AstraZeneca and Novo Nordisk. For me it has been all about learning from the versatility of people, sharing and contributing towards a common goal. Finding your passion, remaining curious, experimenting and acting with an entrepreneurial spirit and mindset. We want to offer solutions and support to our external and internal customers.

How did you end up in your current position?

I had some friends working for Boehringer Ingelheim and seized the opportunity when contacted by the headhunter.

In life and business it is all about teamwork and continuous learning. You need other people in order to grow and move forward.

Mari Sederholm, BScBA Program alumna

Why did you want to study business?

When studying business, you will learn general skills that are useful in life no matter what you will do in your career and in which ever field. So by studying business I in a way bought myself time to find out more about my personal preferences. I also thought Mikkeli would be a great place to focus on studies and social student life.

In your opinion, what was particularly important in your studies or what was most useful regarding your career?

My BBA-studies took place a long time ago when the world was completely different. Visiting foreign faculty that had seen the world and had stories to tell probably shaped my thinking and the way I viewed the world. Looking back, the sense of belonging to a group with my fellow students and all the social activities along the way were almost as important as the studies.

BScBA Alumna Mari Sederholm

Share something memorable from the time when you were studying.

Business students as we were, there was a fundraising event on Valentine’s day some decades ago. We were selling kisses on the marketplace in Mikkeli. As I recall, it was a very successful event. Side note: no global pandemics ongoing at that time.

What is your advice for current BScBA student and recent graduates?

Three points:

  1. In life and business it is all about teamwork and continuous learning. You need other people in order to grow and move forward.
  2. At the end people may not remember your achievements but what they do remember is the way you made them feel.
  3. It is easy to lose balance in life when there is so much of interest going on. Everyone is responsible for their own well-being, sleep and recovery. Do dare to ask for help when the burden gets too heavy

In what ways should the current students take the changes in the business world into consideration in their studies?

Digital and project management skills are obviously essential in any marketing and business. I just recently attended a course in philosophy and systemic thinking by Esa Saarinen in Aalto University. It was simply charming and I think that studying psychology, philosophy and human behaviour can benefit anyone in business as well as in personal life. The more you interact and connect with other people, the higher the chances of winning (or learning).

Find out more about Mari's career path in LinkedIn!

Bachelor's Program in International Business, Aalto University

International Business, Bachelor (BScBA, Mikkeli) and Master of Science (Otaniemi) in Economics and Business Administration

The Bachelor’s Programme in International Business provides students with a comprehensive range of skills and knowledge to build, develop and lead companies on a global scale. A bachelor’s degree in business with an international focus opens up a wide variety of career opportunities across all industries and continents.

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