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Oops: Lo and behold, my sojourn abroad lasted 16 years!

School of Business Dean Timo Korkeamäki once thought he’d never move away from his home turf.
Timo Korkeamäki, AUM-kuva: Jaakko Kahilaniemi

I’m an Ostrobothnian by birth, from the town of Vähäkyrö. This little municipality next to Vaasa was a good place to grow up. I thought I’d never move away when I was still in high school, the people there were so down to earth and the environment nice and stable.

I was serious about athletics and achieved some national-level success in the shot put.

After the army, I spent a year doing odd jobs and another in commercial school. But then I started to feel like going to university. I was interested in business and also liked foreign languages. I applied to several universities on the other side of the water, in Sweden, and managed to secure a place at Umeå University studying economics. My world started to broaden.

An athletics scholarship took me to Brigham Young University in Utah for a one-year exchange. The Mormon church’s school had hosted several Finnish athletes earlier, and I was encouraged to go after hearing recommendations from people I knew. Surprisingly, I found myself a Finnish girlfriend while there, and have now been married to her for 27 years.

We returned to Umeå together to complete my economics studies. It was 1991–92, Finland was in the midst of a very deep recession and the job situation looked unpromising. We decided to flee these hard times to America, this time to finalise my girlfriend’s studies.

Timo Korkeamäki, kuva: Jaakko Kahilaniemi
Photos: Jaakko Kahilaniemi.

I’m an Ostrobothnian by birth, from the town of Vähäkyrö. This little municipality next to Vaasa was a good place to grow up. I thought I’d never move away when I was still in high school, the people there were so down to earth and the environment nice and stable.

I was serious about athletics and achieved some national-level success in the shot put.

After the army, I spent a year doing odd jobs and another in commercial school. But then I started to feel like going to university. I was interested in business and also liked foreign languages. I applied to several universities on the other side of the water, in Sweden, and managed to secure a place at Umeå University studying economics. My world started to broaden.

An athletics scholarship took me to Brigham Young University in Utah for a one-year exchange. The Mormon church’s school had hosted several Finnish athletes earlier, and I was encouraged to go after hearing recommendations from people I knew. Surprisingly, I found myself a Finnish girlfriend while there, and have now been married to her for 27 years.

We returned to Umeå together to complete my economics studies. It was 1991–92, Finland was in the midst of a very deep recession and the job situation looked unpromising. We decided to flee these hard times to America, this time to finalise my girlfriend’s studies.

This article is published in the Aalto University Magazine issue 26, April 2020.

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