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Turning Challenges into Opportunities at the annual CEMS Stage

Idealist Saku Tuominen, IT Security Expert Mikko Hyppönen and Entrepreneur Harry ‘Hjallis’ Harkimo spoke at the event.
Saku Tuominen was one of the speakers at the annual CEMS Stage.

This year’s theme addressed the topic of Turning Challenges into Opportunities. Through inspiring speeches, the aim of the evening was to encourage students to take on the future, despite the challenging economic prospects. Three speakers presenting at the event were Idealist Saku Tuominen, IT Security Expert Mikko Hyppönen and Entrepreneur Harry ‘Hjallis’ Harkimo.

The annual CEMS Stage was organised by the CEMS Club Helsinki and it was held at the Aalto University School of Business. The venue was fully booked as 250 people attended.

The evening was officially opened by Jeremy Denisty, a CEMS student from the Louvain School of Management in Belgium. His keynote speech addressed both the theme of the event and described the CEMS program in broad terms.

As he put it: ‘CEMS is not only one of the best Master’s programs in International Management globally, but in fact, it is much more. It is a community of 29 of the best business schools in the world dedicated to provide together a topline management education. It is a community of 68 corporate partners that are major, highly performing global companies. But most of all, the CEMS is a community of passionate, talented international students willing to make a change and deliver excellence and ethics in business.’

"Groundbreaking ideas are usually those that seem harmless"

Saku Tuominen is known as a former ice hockey player and TV producer, who later started growing olive oil in Italy and now works for his own company, the Idealist Group.

The objective of his company is to found other companies, through the ideas that it generates, with the aim of improving the world. According to him, groundbreaking ideas are usually those that seem harmless, even amusing, but, later, revolutionise the way we do things. He took up the iPhone as one of the examples. In fact, Saku Tuominen focused on finding one’s own sense of creativity and how it is crucial for anyone to have faith in their ideas.

Mikko Hyppönen, the current Chief Research Officer (CRO) of F-Secure, has gained global reputation in his fights against cyber-crime. As one may assume, during his speech, he focused on describing the ways technology allows governments to acquire classified information on other governments, let alone their own citizens. Even though Mikko Hyppönen realises there are inevitable threats to our privacy in the future, he is convinced that the Finnish sisu (a strong feeling of determination) will guide us in our future attempts on tackling these issues.

Harry Harkimo’s speech mainly focused on his own experiences in terms of the topic. Harkimo described how he, as a young entrepreneur and student, earned his income by cleaning carpets in Moscow and, later, how he built the Hartwall Arena, which, by the time, was considered as a mission impossible. Harry Harkimo also shared with the audience a personal story of sailing on his own around the world as the first person in Finland.

‘After an experience like that you know you can accomplish anything you want in this world’, he concluded.

Aalto University School of Business is a member university of the CEMS (The Global Alliance in Management Education, previously known as Community of European Management Schools) network. CEMS is a strategic alliance of 29 member schools around the world – each a top school in its country – and 68 prestigious corporate partners.

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