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Alumnus Daniel Cohen: I knew the Bachelor’s Programme in International Business at Aalto Mikkeli is a top programme, so I wanted to aim high and apply there

School of Business, Mikkeli Campus alumnus Daniel Cohen encourages current students to be confident and patient in finding their own paths: “If you feel like you don’t know what to do, don’t worry. That doesn’t mean you cannot get ahead in your career and build up work skills. Anything you do for work will help you get in the right direction.”
BScBA Program alumnus Daniel Cohen in the front of New York city scenery

My name is Daniel Cohen and last September I changed my life and moved from Finland to New York to work at the Consulate General of Finland as a Special Adviser. In this role, I help Finnish companies understand the U.S. market and expand here by connecting them to the right people.

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

In 2015 I started at the Bachelor’s Programme in International Business in Mikkeli as an open university student and then full-time in 2016 continuing where I left off. I did my Bachelor's exchange in St Gallen, Switzerland, and then continued straight to my Master’s exchange in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The latter was a part of my CEMS Master’s studies alongside my Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management studies at Otaniemi main campus.

Why did you want to study business and what made you apply to the School of Business Mikkeli Campus?

I knew I wanted to study in English as I grew up in a bilingual household and studied in English in high school. I also knew I wanted to study business because it was a good basis for understanding how the world works. I knew Aalto Mikkeli was a top programme, so I wanted to aim high and apply there.

How has your career path been?

As with many others, my career path has not been straight-forward. I did what I wanted to do – try things out before settling in if settling in at all. 

I started by working at a gaming start-up doing a little bit of everything. Then to the other extreme by interning at the Embassy of Finland in Washington DC in the economics team. From there I continued to Berlin for some business development experience in tech followed by internal management consultant for Visma.

On the side I started thinking about how it would be interesting starting my own thing at some point so during my time at Visma, on the weekends I would freelance helping Finnish companies strategize entry or expansion into the U.S market. So, my advice, try things and see what clicks and what doesn’t.

How did you end up in your current position and what kind of work assignments and responsibilities do you have?

I think it helped that I had interned for the government in the past in a similar position, just more junior. I also do similar work in a freelance basis so having that experience was beneficial. I also have dual citizenship so it was easy for me to quickly accept the position knowing that I would want to stay in the U.S. anyway. 

In my role I help connect Finnish companies to the contacts they need in the U.S. through events, 1-1 or small group meetings. To do this, I need to understand what is happening in specific industries with an emphasis on the sustainability theme. I also help organize official delegation meetings and programme for government officials as well as research and report on industry developments.

I wanted to study business because it was a good basis for understanding how the world works.

Daniel Cohen, BScBA Program alumnus

How would you describe the Bachelor’s Programme in International Business?

A community within a community. Even though the BScBA Programme is a part of the Aalto community, there was always a stronger connection to other Mikkeli programme participants. I still feel it is easy to have a conversation and reminisce with a Mikkeli Alumni even if I haven’t met them before.

What part of your studies did you find the most rewarding for you personally? And what was the most challenging?

While at the time it was occasionally inconvenient, the mandatory attendance “forced” us to learn. I still remember taking German as one of the summer courses and having an exam or quiz almost every day. Yes, it was hard but because of that I learned a lot. I also believe we all were such a strong community because of the mandatory attendance as well – being in the same classrooms every weekday for a few years strengthened bonds between us.

Share something memorable from the time when you were studying in Mikkeli.

Besides the amazing annual skiing trips to Ruka Ski Resort in Kuusamo, I specifically remember having a LAN party at the school playing games long into the night with snacks, jokes, and good times with friends.

What is your advice for current BScBA students?

If you feel like you don’t know what to do, don’t worry. I still don’t. That doesn’t mean you cannot get ahead in your career and build up work skills. Anything you do for work will help you get in the right direction, even if it is work you realize you don’t like. If you feel like others are ahead of you, that’s ok. Everyone is on their own timeline and it’s your own that matters. You create that line.

Find out more about Daniel's career path on 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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