90 Day Finn Alumni: A global business network of change-makers

90 Day Finns are well-connected business professionals who together form a multiplier effect on innovation. Curious? Hear what 90 Day Finns think of the alumni network.

7 min read

  • Helsinki Partners’ 90 Day Finn Program offers international professionals the chance to live and work in Finland’s capital.
  • With over 40 participants from three different cohorts, each wave brings the potential for new opportunities. Alums stay in touch through a digital platform and reunite yearly to welcome new cohorts. Together, they create an ecosystem of opportunities.
  • Twenty alums joined the 90 Day Finn Reunion in September 2023, welcoming 15 new members and getting to know them over a 2-day program

Helsinki Partners’ 90 Day Finn Program offers international professionals the chance to live and work in Finland’s capital. Now in its 3rd year running, the coveted program boasts a growing network of alums—a group of well-connected business professionals that “together form a multiplier effect” on innovation.

Finland has the best business environment in the world, and with a corporate tax of 20% – one of the lowest in the Nordics – it’s an attractive gateway to the rest of Europe. Brimming with top talent and boasting the best work-life balance in the world, what makes Helsinki special? Each year, 15 business professionals and their families get to find out.

The 90 Day Finn Program is a unique opportunity to form long-lasting synergies that span industries, demographics and borders—attracting thousands of applicants each year. For those considering expanding business internationally, it’s an unbeatable international networking opportunity and a chance to hit the ground running.

“With every company or institution within Finland, I was able to speak to the President, Chairman or CEO very quickly. 90 Day Finn gave us those connections. Without it, it would have taken years”, says Sean Carr, CEO of Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) and 90 Day Finn 2021. 

90 Day Finn alums create a multiplier effect 

Networking continues beyond the initial program. With over 40 participants from three different cohorts, each wave brings the potential for new opportunities. Alums stay in touch through a digital platform and reunite yearly to welcome new cohorts. Together, they create an ecosystem of opportunities.

“You’re going to find people thinking more multidisciplinary naturally, which is in and of itself a tremendous advantage. The 90 Day Finn Program brings together 15 change makers, and together we’re a multiplier effect”, says Amelia Schaffner, strategy and innovation partner at Lexicon Strategies and 90 Day Finn 2023.

“It’s like a really intensive, focused social networking and professional development experience […] In addition to this quite extensive networking session, there’s also this separate track of getting to know an extraordinary group of people: the other 90 Day Finns. For me, that’s the primary value of the program”, says George Tang, the founder of Thought/Form Labs and 90 Day Finn 2022.

The 90 Day Finn Reunion

Twenty alums joined the 90 Day Finn Reunion in September 2023, welcoming 15 new members and getting to know them over a 2-day program that included:

  • A visit to the headquarters of Nokia, a globally known Finnish B2B technology company.
  • A visit to the headquarters of Neste, the world’s leading producer of sustainable and renewable fuel. 
  • Lunch at Maria 01, the Nordic’s leading start-up campus.
  • A sauna experience on Lonna island and a culture trip to Vallisaari Helsinki Biennal.
  • Keynote presentations by Janne Peljo, Chief Policy Adviser, Climate and Biodiversity at Confederation of Finnish Industries at EK, Anne Vasara, Ambassador for Circular Economy and Energy at Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and Andro Lindsay, 90 Day Finn and Business Developer of Carbon Neutral Solutions and Sustainable Smart Cities at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
  • Joint discussions and networking.

Members praised the event for the opportunity to connect with a like-minded yet diverse group of people. “It was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with old friends and to make some new ones…the 90 Day Finn is an excellent initiative, and the reunion served as a way to extend its impact and reach”, says a 90 Day Finn alum. 

Don’t just take our word for it; hear what 90 Day Finns think

Meet Amelia, 90 Day Finn of 2023 

Amelia Schaffner is a strategy and innovation partner at Lexicon Strategies, a consulting firm that helps change-makers and great causes with their strategy, storytelling and impact. Amelia joined the 90 Day Finn Program in 2023 and believes it is ideal for those with an open mind seeking new ways to collaborate and innovate. “I think we create a cross-collaboration, pollinator effect. By talking to other 90 Day Finns who also had similar experiences, we could look at the world more playfully and allow a sense of risk-taking and collaboration on projects—maybe solving problems in different and unusual ways”, says Amelia. 

Amelia says the experience best suits open-minded people. “It’s an amazing experience for somebody with an open mind to meet other global citizens with an innovative approach to life. It opens up collaboration opportunities with other people trying to do the same. You’ll find people who are very strictly specialised in one area. You’re also going to find people who are more multidisciplinary. It’s a tremendous advantage for us individually but also for the ecosystem. Everybody wins.”

Meet George, 90 Day Finn of 2022 

George Tang founded Thought/Form Labs, an artificial intelligence research and development lab and consulting company. He joined the 90 Day Finn Program in 2022 and established a new company, Mixx Reality, together with 90 Day Finn Damon Hernandez. “I met Damon on the second day of the program. We lived in the same building and ran into each other in the lobby. We had wonderful conversations that spanned the intersection of the metaverse, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence. Thanks to all of the connections we established throughout the program, we saw an opportunity to establish a new company together in Helsinki”, says George. 

Starting a business in Europe as a foreigner has been challenging, but George says Helsinki Partners and the connections made during the program have helped him tremendously. “Helsinki Partners has been a great help. They’ve been generous with their time and helping us ensure our applications, processes, and needs are supported. We are their forever clients”. Thanks to the program’s high-profile status, George says the local ecosystem is very willing to help.

George also believes the program has been invaluable for global network building. The 90 Day Finn alumni network “is very easy to exercise”. “It creates opportunities organically”, says George. “Professional opportunities have spontaneously arisen within my cohort. I am now an advisor for a fellow 90 Day Finn, and I’ve asked another to be my professional business mentor. By connecting with the 2023 cohort this year, I’ve had the opportunity to pitch as a side event at Slush through one of the 2023 participants. Another 90 Day Finn from another cohort also included our company, Mixx Reality, in a large scientific funding proposal.”

Reflecting on the reunion, George encourages alums to “come as often as they can because It is an unbelievably validating and connecting experience”. 

Meet Ladi and Sean, 90 Day Finns of 2021

Ladi Carr and Sean Carr joined the first 90 Day Finn Program in 2021. Ladi Carr is the Global Director of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Executive MBA Program, which delivers immersive business courses and cultural experiences across 12 different countries, one of which is now Finland.  Sean Carr is the CEO of Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), a joint venture of the University of Washington, Tsinghua University and Microsoft, which delivers transformational learning experiences through world-class graduate and professional development programs. 

Ladi and Sean believe the experience was invaluable in building their global business network. “The program offered a concierge-level service to connect with the city, the corporate environment, and venture capitalists. We could network very quickly in a way I had never experienced before. I don’t think we could have achieved that level of connectivity, exposure, or had the same conversations without the 90 day Finn Program”, says Sean. Ladi says international networking continues even among the 90 Day Finn alumni. “What we love about being an alum is that it still happens. If we need something or have a question, we ask our friends in Helsinki Partners, and they make an introduction”, says Ladi. 

These connections continue to serve them today. “My students have just returned from Helsinki, and I have been able to connect them with my original contacts there. One of my students who graduated last year is now part of the 2023 cohort”, says Ladi. Sean gained the first-ever European sponsor for GIX through the program. “One of our corporate sponsors [for GIX] this year is Vaisala. It’s our first European sponsor,  and our business advisor at Helsinki Partners put us in touch”, says Sean.

A piece of advice for future 90 Day Finns? Come with a plan. When Sean joined 90 Day Finn, he was preparing to begin a new role at GIX, which focuses on developing global technology leaders. “I had an agenda to connect GIX with the Helsinki ecosystem to establish a satellite campus.” Sean believes a campus would work well in Helsinki because GIX is a talent accelerator, and Helsinki has a reputation for strong, innovative technology companies. “To get the most value out of [the 90 Day Finn Program], you must have an objective. It made a big difference when I would say, “Here’s my thought, vision or plan: can you help me execute this?”— and if they were excited, they would. As a result, the experience has been much more enduring”, says Sean. Ladi says future 90 Day Finns should “come open-minded and try everything Helsinki Partners recommends. No excuses”.

Apply to become a 90 Day Finn 

Are you a C-suite executive, business development manager or business owner looking for new opportunities? Fuel your business growth while experiencing life in the world’s happiest country. Apply to become a 90 Day Finn and join a global business network of change-makers. 

Learn more about the 90 Day Finn Program

Experience the Helsinki business ecosystem like a local. Immerse yourself in the world’s happiest country and experience a unique blend of professional growth and personal fulfilment. 

Group photo of the 90 Finn cohort of 2023, their families, and Helsinki Partners staff
© Helsinki Partners

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Juhana Hurtig