In close-up: Project manager Niko Korte

Project Manager Niko Korte

Niko Korte is a cheerful, determined and stylish young man hailing from the town of Kuopio. Niko drifted to Helsinki toward the end of his studies. Knowing that he needed a link to working life, Niko wanted to take a project course at the end of his studies.

Media talks much about business competence related to Russia and Eastern Europe. Yet supply and demand do not meat. Cool, calm and collected, Niko decided to accept the challenge, choosing to grab the moment. He knew that the course would offer him an opportunity to cooperate directly with companies. Niko smiles: “However, I didn’t anticipate that I’d be employed in a specialist position.”

Niko says that he had no preconceptions. He just had a feeling that he’d be in for a unique experience that would kick off his career.

“I wanted to be among the first people who took part in this experiment.” Fearlessness along with his competencies guided him toward new challenges.

Niko recalls that it was not the easiest course that he had ever taken: “I could’ve chosen an easier way to graduate, but it’s important to make responsible choices. Surviving them gives you confidence. You develop and gain useful experience. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

The course proved to be more complicated than Niko had imagined. However, it was also an interesting combination: the school cooperating with a client company on a project. The client turned out to be Finnish steel manufacturer Ruukki. Niko emphasizes that all the participants had a responsible position in the project, and no one was left out. Cooperation allowed the students to make contacts and use their social skills. “I found the experience on project managing very useful myself.”

Networking is the key to success

“Huh, downsides?” Niko laughs. According to him, there were more upsides. He claims to have learned a lot. Niko has formed good relationships and puts his thumb up.

Niko encourages students to network with their fellow students, even if they must not forget studying either. No one needs to spend all day with their face in a book, though.

“Students should definitely go to events that potential employers go to.”

Niko is interested in Russia, and he has gained knowledge about the Russian networking culture. For instance, in Moldova Niko took part in organizing the asphalt works of Lemminkäinen, and he learned many things about project managing.

Colleagues and work cultures differ. In these situations, you have to find a way to make your case to the other employees. Niko adds that sometimes you have to give up Finnish working methods since they don’t work in every culture. He says that time is an asset which can be used to create an encouraging, active and friendly atmosphere. Doing business is impossible without mutual trust.

With a fair amount of international experience under his belt, Niko is satisfied with the Finnish way of handling things. He adds, “We trust blindly that everything works out, we even trust that somebody else will do it for us. In Russia, I noticed that an established network is the key to making things happen there.”

Niko thinks that you can’t always count on public authorities to work quickly and efficiently. “A hybrid alternative would be the optimal way to manage things. No one would sit isolated in their ivory tower.”

Niko enrolled in the project course, accepted the challenge and handled the tasks of the project manager well. By coincidence, Ruukki had a project manager’s post open. Bravely Niko applied to this position during the project course and was chosen!

Niko sends his warmest thanks to the Aleksanteri Institute and the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences for a well-organized course and their work investment. For upcoming courses, Niko suggests even more emphasis on leadership and group responsibility.

Saamio Mohamud, VALOA-trainee and journalist