Alumnus Niko Marjomaa: International Business Program prepares you for the real business world

School of Business, Mikkeli Campus alumnus Niko Marjomaa found a way to combine the fields of business and security: “Through my experiences I saw the opportunities to think about security little bit differently than the majority in the industry.”
BScBA alumnus Niko Marjomaa

I’m Niko Marjomaa and I work for Accenture Security’s Strategy and Risk team. While my focus is on the financial sector, I consult and support boards of directors, C-suites and executive IT decision makers in various industries on their cyber security threats landscape, mergers and acquisitions considerations and, for example, on how organizations can strategically ensure cyber security is one the focus areas.

I am glad to say I have the chance to work with bright, diverse colleagues from all over the world every single day.

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

I started my BScBA studies in ‘06 which makes me a BScBA6. Like everybody else my major was International Business and for my minor I chose management.

For Master’s I chose to focus on ISM (Information and Service Management), which could be called Finland’s “primary consulting school”.  During my Master’s I also studied at the National Defence University (military sciences) due to my passion for national security.

Why did you want to study business?

Business as a topic has always been “easy” for me. My high school offered both AP and IB studies and I decided to pursue IB HL business studies, which gave pretty good insight on the basic concepts, terminology and case studies analysis. When making decision whether to study law, IT or business, business won because of its endless opportunities.

Business is also very universal, and part of every organization be it a mega corporation, a start-up or a non-profit organization. That overarching focus gives students possibilities to identify “what is that I care about” without limiting your possibilities to choose a different direction at some point.

How has your career path been?

My career path has been a mixture of “happy accidents” and long term planning.

National security, information and cyber security have been an interest to me but I wanted to focus on business due to the impact I could make.  While working at a Big 4 firm I was lucky to get a chance to work in a team conducting security audits. Through that experience I saw the opportunities to think about security little bit differently than majority in the industry.

After moving to Accenture due to convincing sales pitch by fellow Baba alumnus, I created my own path with few colleagues of mine. We wanted to focus primarily on business, security and IT leaders, which was somewhat new in Finland and even globally. We did not focus only on the common IT and security topics, but wanted to raise the bar and reach CEOs, Boards of directors and other entities who focus on strategic directions but in their role are also responsible for cyber security investments and development.

Balanced responsibilities and guidance from senior experts allowed a young consultant to reach people very few have the chance with. Being mentally prepared and confident was in my opinion partially due to experiences from BScBA programme.

Business is very universal. It gives students possibilities to identify what they care about without limiting their possibilities.

Niko Marjomaa, BScBA Program alumnus

How would you describe the International Business Program?

International Business Program prepares you for the real business world. Organizations are moving faster, transforming their cultures and changing the ways how they operate. People who are used to study programmes like BScBA programme where things move fast and you need to understand concepts quickly, tend to be more ready for today’s business, its changes and diversity.

And while BScBA students may not be the experts in finance or for example accounting, the assets you gain help transition to become specialized in almost any industry of your choosing.

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

I strongly believe BScBA students are well prepared for the next steps in their studies and career compared to other students. Like many politicians, I like to list things.

The main reasons for this are

  • You are more confident – trust in that confidence when it comes getting that dream job of yours.
  • You are more prepared for actual work – industries like consulting are all about learning new topics very quickly, applying your existing knowledge and performing with integrity. You learn to work with different people and aim little bit higher. This is what BScBA is also all about.
  • You are better speakers – You will see this already during your master’s studies but BScBA studies train you well for getting in front of the audience and deliver your message with confidence and passion. And I can say this with personal experience: that readiness takes in front of interesting people may they be well known business executives or Nordic ministers.

As for my two pieces of advice, I would say the following. Do not compare yourself to others and do not focus on titles.

Just because your peer has taken their career one way, you set your own path to the direction you want to take. Just because somebody else has followed one approach, does not mean you cannot reach the same goal with a different approach.

Also, if you only look at titles you might miss your chance for something incredible. Often what an executive does in one firm equals to what a manager does in another. Focus on impact you can make, and the end results, titles and promotions will speak for themselves.

What would you do differently in your studies?

I would do two things if I was a student today.

Number one would be the opportunity to take courses outside of business to extend my knowledge when graduating. Aalto University offers great opportunities to look for ideas and find areas of passion outside of business. While I would remain business focused, I would probably take some courses in cloud technologies, quantum computing, ethics of AI or cybersecurity leadership for example. These are not necessarily major focus points for future business leaders and experts, but they are becoming more and more relevant regardless of your future role.

Second point would be attending excursions and contacting alumni directly. I am proud to say to some extent you as current Babas are much more mature when it comes to this compared to myself. I would still urge you to directly contact alumni and ask what about companies, possible roles and how to get a chance with the firm. Your alumni are more than happy to help you out!

Your best/funniest memory/memories from Mikkeli?

McFreeriders – I’ll just leave it there.

Why should someone choose the BScBA Program?

BScBA program is a unique opportunity to prepare you for a career that fits you. Historically, BScBA has maintained its status as demanding but preparing. I strongly believe in that. You learn to play hard when needed, but you also know how to take it easy when there is the time for it.

While BScBA might not make you an expert in specific subject areas, it does provide you building blocks which help in setting the direction for the next steps of your path.

The networks you build during your studies will help you. Your fellow students will end up working in different industries, some outside of business altogether. Years later you might run into a person just to find out they are an alumnus like yourself. And you will find fellow ‘Babas’ all around which sometimes jokingly make these situations feel like “us and the rest”.

Find out more about Niko'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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