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Risto Siilasmaa, an entrepreneur at heart, encourages students to make an impact

Aalto Alumnus, Risto Siilasmaa spoke to the participants of the fourth Aalto International Talent Program about the importance of making an impact and having an entrepreneurial mindset.
Risto Siilasmaa. Kuva: WithSecure
Risto Siilasmaa. Kuva: WithSecure

Risto Siilasmaa, an Aalto University alumnus, former chairman of Nokia and Elisa and founder of companies like F-Secure and WithSecure, encourages students of the Aalto International Talent Program to look for ways to make an impact on the world around them.

Siilasmaa graduated with a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Helsinki University of Technology while being one of the most notable entrepreneurs in Finland. He has founded multiple companies, is an active venture capital investor and actively supports the CEOs of his portfolio companies.

Siilasmaa spoke to students about the importance of making an impact, which ties in with the themes of the International Talent Program. He also shared his tips on how to maximize your personal impact with having an entrepreneurial mindset and an ability to have clarity of thinking.

“Being an entrepreneur is not what I do – it’s who I am.”

Risto Siilasmaa

According to Siilasmaa, anyone can be an entrepreneur with the right mindset.

“The important thing to do is watch the world around you and take ownership and responsibility for the issues you see around you.”

He raises climate change as one of the most significant current issues that we can all take action to solve.

“Even though the problem itself is not the responsibility of any one individual, claiming ownership and finding a solution can result in the creation of very successful new businesses and having a major impact on the world.”

In addition to the entrepreneurial mindset, Siilasmaa highlights the importance of understanding reality, being able to digest and connect information from different datapoints and not being surprised by events that should have been obvious. Learning from both your achievements and missteps – even in mundane situations – by reflecting on them critically can help you avoid missteps in the future.

“To me, the ideal entrepreneur is someone who faces reality and takes action.”

Siilasmaa concludes his visit with wishing everyone the best of luck with the programme.

“Thank you for having chosen to come to Finland. I’d love to bump into you someday, somewhere, and learn how you’ve done!”

man and a woman working together with a laptop

What is Aalto International Talent Program?

Aalto International Talent Program is an annual group mentoring program for Aalto University’s international students and Finnish companies looking for future talent. The program offers a space for open dialogue and mutually beneficial learning experiences. 150 students and 17 companies were participating in the program. The company partners in 2023 were: CGI, Elisa, F-Secure, Fiskars, Huld, If, Kemira, Konecranes, Metso Outotec, Murata, Nokia, Okmetic, Stora Enso, Umicore, WithSecure, Wärtsilä and Ylva.

Aalto International Talent Program
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