Interview

Interview: How the Game Executive Bootcamp at Finland's AaltoEE will help you grow your business

Interview: How the Game Executive Bootcamp at Finland's AaltoEE will help you grow your business

There are mere days left to register for Aalto University Executive Education's Game Executive Bootcamp course.

Beginning on 16 October, this programme at Finland’s renown university is exclusively designed for game companies seeking growth.

With speakers and instructors drawn from the globe’s finest games companies, it shows participants the fundamental strategies that lie behind building a successful games business.

Game Executive has been running successfully for six years, bringing together people from all over the world and offering outstanding networking opportunities. The programme is delivered in collaboration between Finland’s top university and the industry, including game makers, investors, and most importantly, the Finnish games community.

We spoke to Andreea Cozma, Project Manager at Aalto University Executive Education in Helsinki, about what you can expect if you join up this year.

PocketGamer.biz: What makes the Game Executive programme unique?

Andreea Cozma: “I like to call this a life-changing experience. This is because I have met many Game Executive alumni who say they found their partners or changed jobs and even moved countries because of the Game Executive. I’ve witnessed amazing transformations and people coming back to thank me because the programme inspired them to take the next step in their career and their game ventures.”

“I believe the uniqueness comes from the safe learning environment we provide and from our ability to bring experts in the field, awarded professors and games companies to the programme to give the insights and strategies you cannot learn in any other place. One of our participants told us that Game Executive is capable of provoking thought for a small startup or a 10,000 person corporation, and that is why it is so unique.”

What sort of people/companies will get the most out of attending the Game Executive at Aalto University?

“We have designed the Game Executive for games companies at all development stages."

The programme was envisioned with the help of researchers in the field to accommodate all development needs and career objectives.
Andreea Cozma

"Whether you are a small indie studio or a famous game company, the programme was envisioned with the help of researchers in the field to accommodate all development needs and career objectives.”

What challenges exist in the games market that the course helps to prepare people for?

“Over three times as many video game projects fail than succeed,’ says a recent study in the field. I believe this is one of the biggest challenges; even big games companies can have a major fail when coming up with a new game.”

“The beauty of the Game Executive is that it offers a 360-degree view of the essential topics one needs to know when building or scaling up a games company. From Growth Strategies and Entrepreneurship to Product Management and Game Design, our professors are researchers in the field, and they study carefully the challenges that exist in the games market and come up with solutions for the Game Executive participants.

Our instructors undergo an intense period of preparation and research before teaching here and our speakers, veterans in the industry, gather all the field insights to tackle any challenge your company is dealing with. You don’t need to fail hundreds of games and learn what went wrong while losing money. You can already know beforehand what will go wrong and how to succeed when launching your game. That is why Game Executive is crucial also in the initial stages of developing a studio.”

Use PGCONNECTS10 for a 10% discount per person or PGCONNECTS15 for a 15% discount on a group of three or more.
Andreea Cozma

It may seem expensive, but you cram a lot into the six days. Can you explain why it is a good value for money?

“The programme is a six-day intensive Bootcamp where we want you to learn and not care about anything else. For one week, you will disconnect from your game projects and focus on new ideas and new strategies while meeting possible partners and investors. We also provide adequate space for learning and bring awarded professors from all around the world.

During the evening, we visit companies and follow up on the day module with experts from the Finnish game industry. We help people in getting funding, or grants, and we also provide discount codes for special members. For example, Pocket Gamer Connects readers can use PGCONNECTS10 for a 10% discount per person or PGCONNECTS15 for a 15% discount on a group of three or more.”

As part of the October 2019 activities, you would get to visit six studios. Can you tell us a little bit about them?

“Every day, we have a company visit that follows up on the module of the day. The first day will be dedicated to Growth Strategies and Entrepreneurship and which company would be more suited to give a presentation on this topic than Supercell. On the first day at Supercell we will meet Lasse Seppänen, Game Lead at Supercell who will give a presentation on Why Strategy Matters. We also go to other studios like Electronic Arts or Veikkaus, but we partner as well with other companies that work closely with the game industry such as Fondia, Barona, and Apprien and during those visits, we invite experts in the field to join us as to give a lecture on the day topic.”

You have many great speakers this year. Can you give us a taster, maybe highlight two or three of the key people?

“Glad that you ask, all our speakers are experts in their fields, but of course, We have invited Peter Vesterbacka, the Mighty Eagle of Rovio. Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people on the planet already in 2011. He will join us during the User Acquisition and Marketing module to talk about Brand Breaking.”

“Another speaker that will join us is Lasse Seppänen Game Lead at Supercell. Lasse has been a speaker and an undercover superhero of the Game Executive program since its early years. He is a veteran in the Finnish game industry, perhaps best known as Remedy’s Executive Producer on Alan Wake.”

“The list can go on of course with speakers as Karoliina Korppoo, CEO at Visual Novel Entertainment and award winner for Cities Skylines at Colossal Order, Samuli Syvähuoko, game industry serial entrepreneur and investor, Petri Ikonen, Creative Director at Electronic Arts, Ville Rauma, COO at Fingersoft, Arja Marktikainen, Business Owner at Northstar who participated to over 20 mergers and acquisitions and many, many more.”

The Game Executive was the host of games companies such as Rovio Entertainment, Nitro Games, Rival Games, Dazel Rocks, Pazu Games and many more.
Andreea Cozma

Who has taken the course before? Have any former participants gone on to make famous games?

“I can tell you that we had more than 100 participants attending the Game Executive Bootcamp over the years. The Game Executive was the host of games companies such as Rovio Entertainment, Nitro Games, Rival Games, Dazel Rocks, Pazu Games and many more. Because of our privacy policies, we cannot reveal the names of this year’s participants, but what I can tell you is that if an executive decides to join us this year, they will tap into a global game executive network and meet decision-makers of big games companies from more than seven countries.”

What are your plans for the future? Will this same experience be available next year as well?

“This will be the sixth year of the Game Executive in this six-day Bootcamp format. For next year we have significant plans to renew the program and to have big events for our alumni network. Therefore, this year’s programme might be the only chance to join this Bootcamp format and become a Game Executive alumni. Places are going extremely fast, so I would encourage everyone who wants to participate not to wait until the last minute, but to register before 15 September 2019.”

Thanks, Andreea!

Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2019 is a media partner of the Aalto University Game Executive programme, and you can receive a discount on the Bootcamp course price using the codes PGCONNECTS10 for a 10% discount per person or PGCONNECTS15 for a 15% discount on a group of three or more, at the official site: https://www.aaltoent.fi/en/programs/game-executive

The Finnish games industry will be, of course, present in force at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2019 so please sign up now – there are just three weeks to go before the two-day conference, which offers a free meetings system and 16 tracks of content.

Chief Operations Officer

Dave is Steel Media's Chief Operations Officer. He gets involved in all areas of the business, from front page editorial to behind-the-scenes planning. He began his career in games and entertainment journalism back in the 1990s when Doom came on four floppy disks. Please contact him with any general queries about Pocket Gamer, Blockchain Gamer and Steel Media's other sites and events.

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