Alumna of ISM: Mari Silvennoinen

We would like to introduce an Aalto ISM Alumna! Our second story is about Mari Silvennoinen, who has multiple degrees and works as a Principal Consultant at Columbia Road. Are you ready to hear her story?

Intro and university


1) Could you briefly introduce yourself? As an ISM alumna, could you tell us why you chose this major, what are advantages and disadvantages of that choice?

My name is Mari Silvennoinen.  I work as Principal Consultant at Columbia Road.  We are part of Futurice Group and our focus is on digital commerce and growth hacking.  I have three kids and traditional Finnish house with garden, so basically I love to do sports at my free time, if I have any.

I started my studies at 2004 in ISM, at that time Helsinki School of Economics.  I had graduated as Master of Science from Tampere University of Technology at 2000.  After that I wanted to increase my knowledge about corporate finance, IT and marketing, so I started in Open University.  After collecting around 120 credits,  I came across with ISM at 2003.  That sounded exactly something I would like to study. I didn’t apply that year, while I was expecting our firstborn at that time, but year later I decided to apply.

If I remember correctly, there were around 30 students starting at that year.  I think that one of the most positive things were that our group was very diverse. For me clearly the biggest advantage was that ISM was interdisciplinary programme.


2) You studied in many universities and completed multiple degrees. How did it help you in your career? How has it influenced your career choices?

Before ISM, I have finished a master’s degree in Fibre Material Science from Tampere University of Technology.  I think that combination of technical & business was a  good combination for me.  When studying one degree before another and working between and meanwhile, gave me substance and perspective and was able to get most from my studies in ISM.


3) What encouraged you to get a master’s degree in business at Aalto?

I wanted to expand my knowledge and learn new things.  ISM seemed to be suitable programme for me.


Entrepreneurship and work


1) What motivated you to become an entrepreneur and how did it happen?

I have become entrepreneur by accident; ten years ago interesting opportunity came along and I jumped in.  Currently I’m a part-time entrepreneur as I’m a partner at Steaks Contact Wear.  In addition to that I have full-time job at Columbia Road, where I work as an employee.


2) What drives you in daily life? What inspires you?

Learning new things.  That is something I love about consulting.


3) What is your next career goal?

Learn more about digital sales transformation.


Tips for ISM students


1) Could you give an advice for those who have not found a suitable career path yet? How to find it?

Try to list things you want to learn and seek opportunities to learn those things.  I believe that learning by doing is the best way to get new skills and the way to find suitable career path.


2) What kind of soft and technical skills are required to work for a digital consultancy?

I would say empathy is quite good start: understanding what are peoples’ motives, what are their worries and what are their problems.  Technology is just a tool for solving problems.  My job is not that technical, but some skills in analytics and martech is nowadays pretty useful.