Two New Game Education Programs Accepting Applications in the Helsinki Region

    It doesn’t need to be repeated, but gaming is hot in Finland right now. Following the success of Supercell, Rovio, Fingersoft, and the near 300 other gaming studios located in Finland, a mature ecosystem is forming and firsthand knowledge of how to run a successful gaming company is purging through the ecosystem from experienced professionals who have created amazing momentum, or can share war stories about how companies like Digital Chocolate, Sulake, or even Riot Entertainment fell from prominence.

    Mentoring and information sharing have always been in practice, but now this gaming knowledge is getting more structurally organized with two gaming programs that are opening up through two Aalto University’s programs: Aalto Ventures Program’s Game Monetization Design course, and Aalto University Executive Education’s Game Executive Program. Both programs will start their pilot program after the new year.

    It should be pointed out that Finland already has higher education programs dedicated to gaming, but currently these programs are spitting out about 200 graduates a year, which isn’t keeping up with the demands of Finland’s hiring spree. Here’s a look at the new courses:

    Aalto Game Monetization Design Course:

    This course is designed to teach its students game design and monetization strategy for the Free To Play model. They’ll be going over tools, design, and retention issues for building successful Free to Play games.

    For the future, Ilkka Immonen, Head of Game Business Education in Aalto University says, “Finland’s game industry has proliferated in the recent years and it currently employs over 2000 people. The new course concentrates on game monetization design, but the plan is to expand the teaching offering to include other game business related courses as well.”

    For this year’s program they’ll be bringing in a number of names from Helsinki’s gaming ecosystem, such as:

    The course runs six weeks from the 14th of January to the 20th of February. Applications are now open. It looks like anyone can apply, although they’re giving preference to students in the Aalto Ventures Program minor.

    To find out more about this program, and to apply, go here.

    Aalto EE’ Game Executive Program
    This program is targeted more towards developing talent for leaders of gaming companies, such as CEOs, Producers or Executive Producers.

    “We’re trying to get people to understand the different aspects of managing a gaming company. If you don’t understand yourself and your strengths as a leader, how can you lead others,” says Sanna Ingman, Competence Manager at Aalto Executive Education, and one of the people behind the program.

    This course will go through different modules over a fairly intensive 1.5 month program. The first of which is leadership skills to teach how to be an effective leader – which may be handy for those who know how to make great games, but could benefit from some best practices to help scale up a gaming company. Like what the Economist politely called “Finland’s autistic creativity.”

    After that the programs moves on to business strategy with Dr. Mark Esposito, professor from Harvard, and then moving on to a virtual course on financial accounting to give gaming wonks a similar breakdown of financial terms and cases like courses needed before courses and MBA programs.

    The fourth module focuses on growth and branding with some examples from the industry, and also covers scaling issues from moving between only a couple employees, and the difference between 20 and 50 employees. The fifth module then digs into international sales, pitching, and so on.

    “This is the first program of its kind in the world that is teaching the leadership and commercialization skills to the gaming Industry,” continues Ingman. “We also want to become the leading program in the world and hopefully scale our program to do the program somewhere else. This is our pilot program, so we’re going to see how much workload people can handle.”

    To develop the program further, they may also internationalize the program, perhaps in Singapore, where they have offices. Additionally they may see if they can knock down the program down to three weeks to make it more flexible for people outside Finland to participate in the program.

    To find out more about this program, and to apply, go here.