President Ilkka Niemelä conferred as Honorary Doctor of Seoul School of Integrated Sciences & Technologies

The Conferment Ceremony was followed by an event that brought together 200 Aalto EMBA alumni in South Korea
President Ilkka Niemelä in Seoul in Oct. 2022
Chairman of aSSIST Foundation Wan Kyoo Cho (left), Aalto University President Ilkka Niemelä and President of aSSIST University Tae Hyun Kim

Aalto University President Ilkka Niemelä was conferred as Honorary Doctor of aSSIST University (Seoul School of Integrated Sciences & Technologies) in Seoul on October 18th, 2022.

Since 1995, Aalto University Executive Education (and the Helsinki School of Economics before the establishment of Aalto) has been collaborating closely with aSSIST University to offer a joint EMBA program. The conferment ceremony was held in a building named the Finland Tower by aSSIST University to commemorate the longstanding collaboration.

President Ilkka Niemelä in Seoul in Oct. 2022
President of aSSIST University Tae Hyun Kim bestowed the Honorary Doctorate Degree upon President Niemelä.

In the ceremony, President Ilkka Niemelä was introduced by aSSIST Professor Jin Hee Choi. In his recommendation speech, Hee Myung Lee, President of the Doctorate Alumni Association, highlighted President Niemelä’s considerable academic as well as societal achievements. President of aSSIST University Tae Hyun Kim bestowed the Honorary Doctorate Degree upon President Niemelä, followed by the congratulatory speeches of President Kim and the Chairman of the aSSIST Foundation, Wan Kyoo Cho.

In his valedictory speech, President Niemelä expressed his gratitude: ‘I am deeply thankful for this great honor as well as the academic friendship that transcends borders and distances, for the friendship that allows us to address our common challenges, and for the friendship that enables us to succeed together.’

He also stressed the integral part that Chairman Cho played in 1955 in establishing the collaboration between aSSIST and the Helsinki School of Economics with its rector at the time, Veikko Jääskeläinen.

Over 4320 Korean Aalto EMBA alumni

The aSSIST University and Aalto University joint alumni event brought together almost 200 alumni. Thanks to the long-term collaboration, there are now 4320 Korean Aalto EMBA graduates, many of whom work in top positions of global companies in South Korea and beyond. The joint alumni event has also been organized in 2018 and 2019.

Alumni event in Seoul in Oct. 2022
The joint alumni event brought together almost 200 alumni.

President Niemelä opened the event, followed by the welcoming words of President Kim. The audience was thrilled to hear about President Niemelä’s conferment as Honorary Doctor. The Ambassador of Finland to the Republic of Korea Pekka Metso gave a congratulatory address.

The Dean of Aalto University School of Business Timo Korkeamäki shared the latest news of Aalto University and its campus and highlighted how important international relationships – such as the longstanding collaboration between Aalto and aSSIST – are, especially in these turbulent times. He also expressed his deepest gratitude for the donation made by the Aalto-aSSIST alumni to the School of Business in the latest fundraising campaign.

Dean Timo Korkeamäki in Seoul in Oct. 2022
Dean Timo Korkeamäki

The keynote speech was given by Professor Hannu Seristö, who has been lecturing in the Korean EMBA program for over two decades and is well-known and highly esteemed by the alumni – a fact that was confirmed also in the speeches of the alumni. In his keynote on the topic Global business in the very VUCA world, Professor Seristö explained what companies can do to cope with the extremely volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment they nowadays operate in.

Professor Hannu Seristö in Seoul in Oct. 2022
Professor Hannu Seristö

During the event, aSSIST University Professors Won Jin Song and Se Jin Song performed a wonderful rendering of the Finlandia hymn by Jean Sibelius on grand piano and violin. The audience also enjoyed greetings from the new President of the Alumni Association Han-sup Kwon and other notable alumni representing different industries.

Vice President of aSSIST University Yong Joo Choi closed the event by sharing his memories of visits to the Töölö and Otaniemi campuses through delightful photos as well as by presenting the positive developments of the EMBA program over the past few years.


Aalto’s aim is to actively enhance its alumni community globally. In 2019, the university management met Aalto alumni in New York and Los Angeles. During the past seven years, the School of Business Dean has hosted alumni events in Brussels, Singapore, Seoul, Palo Alto, New York, London, Stockholm, the Stanford University campus and Moscow.

Further information:
Jonna Söderholm, Head of External Relations, School of Business
[email protected]

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