School of Business alumni story: Mikael Lauharanta

School of Business, Mikkeli Campus alumnus Mikael Lauharanta appreciates the nature of studies in the BScBA Program: "It’s a fast paced program that prepares you well for the working life and all the challenges it might throw at you."
Mikael Lauharanta is a School of Business, Mikkeli Campus alumnus and co-founder and COO of Smarp

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

I am Mikael Lauharanta, co-founder & COO of Smarp. I am a BScBA 9 – so started my studies in 2009 – and we founded Smarp in 2011 with two classmates Roope Heinilä and Tommi Huovinen while still studying International Business at the Aalto University Mikkeli Campus. As a safety valve we applied for Master’s programs and I was accepted to the MSc Program in Marketing at Aalto, but I never started my studies there. At times I second guessed the decision a lot, as there are a lot of ups and downs in the startup world, but in hindsight it’s easy to see it was the right thing to stick with Smarp.

Why did you want to study business?

I did not have a clear conviction after high school, so after I unsuccessfully applied to law school and went to the army, I decided to apply for a business school. It would leave my options open and give me a good general understanding of the various skills needed to be successful in the business world.

How would you describe the BScBA Programme?

The Programme is intensive, but effective, and it creates a very close knit community that is as likely to produce friends for life as it is business professionals.

Your best/funniest memory/memories from Mikkeli?

To this date the Summer of 2010 is one of the warmest ever recorded in Finland. I just remember this care-free episode in my life when we would study and go to the beach and swim and have fun for days – it seemed like it would never end, and we felt invincible!

Even if you know everything in the world, it is not enough if you don’t know the people who can help you along the way.

Mikael Lauharanta, co-founder & COO of Smarp

How did you end up founding a company and what tips would you give to a student interested in founding a company?

We were a bunch of like-minded and entrepreneurial people who wanted to do something meaningful and when the opportunity presented itself we ran away with it and never looked back.

You could always be wiser, richer, and more experienced, so you might as well give it a shot now that you don’t have a mortgage and you’re used to eating microwave dinners anyway.

How have you found working in a multicultural environment?

It’s one of our greatest strengths as it enriches our thinking, grants more perspective, and enables us to hire talented individuals from all over the world who could potentially struggle to get hired and fit in a more homogeneous working environment.

Did you work during your studies? What is your advice for babas interested in working during their studies?

I had a summer job at a bank, which taught me a lot, including that I don’t want to work in a bank. Get an internship at a startup and embrace the chaos or get ready to climb the corporate ladder.

Why should someone pick the BScBA Program?

It’s a fast-paced program that prepares you well for the working life and all the challenges it might throw at you. I especially think the frequent presentations help BScBA Mikkeli students stand out from the crowd in a positive light. Last but not least the program is not too big, which really helps create an amazing team spirit among the students.

Further information:

Get to know Mikael’s career at LinkedIn!

Bachelor's Program in International Business, Aalto University

International Business, Bachelor (BScBA, Michel) and Master of Science (Otnäs) in Economics and Business Administration

Bachelor’s Programme in International Business (BScBA) ger studerande omfattande kunskaper och färdigheter att bygga upp, utveckla och leda företag med globala ambitioner. En kandidatexamen i företagsekonomi med internationellt fokus ger ett antal olika karriärmöjligheter inom den privata och den offentliga sektorn, i olika branscher och på flera kontinenter.


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