Danske Bank Career Story

A career at Danske Bank has been a learning journey into various aspects of banking business

Mikko Kotilainen, Deputy Head of Investment Advisory Centre, has been working at Danske Bank for over 15 years and has served in various roles from customer service to business management. He describes the journey as extremely interesting and constantly filled with new learning opportunities.

First Steps as a Business Law Master

Mikko took his first steps in working life as a construction site assistant, but it was clear that he would apply to university after high school. He was interested in the commercial sector and got the opportunity to study business law at Lappeenranta University of Technology.

“Business law was very interesting, but ultimately, finance, accounting, and economics won me over. The peak of my studies was a year abroad in Orange County, USA, where I got to witness the financial crisis up close at its worst moment.”

After his studies, Mikko started working at Sampo Bank (now Danske Bank) and handled real estate transactions and assisted banking advisors at the branch. In a short time, his role shifted to loan negotiations and later to investment advisory.

“Customer tasks at the branch taught me a lot about the basics of banking business, as I got close to customers and their diverse banking needs as well as the solutions offered to them.”

Leap to Business Consultant

After working at the branch, Mikko had the opportunity to delve into developing investment business and sales. During that time, he learned a lot about the factors behind quality investment business.

“I joined the wealth management unit as a consultant, and one of my first tasks was to develop guidelines for remote investment advisory. The unit was small in terms of personnel, so responsibilities were shared boldly. Later, I was involved in implementing a project that resulted in the bank creating a completely new investment value proposition.”

Towards a Managerial Role

Mikko’s work as a manager began when a new team was established within the bank’s wealth management unit to support personal customer business in investment-related matters. That’s when Mikko joined the Nordic management team, which expanded his job experience to an international level.

“I got to assemble a team and plan new activities with key stakeholders. It taught me the importance of goal-oriented collaboration and important managerial skills.”

A few years later, the teams responsible for developing investment business and promoting sales were merged, and Mikko took on the leadership of them. Nordic collaboration remained at the heart of the work, and Mikko’s international experience strengthened further.

Nest stop Private Banking Unit

After working for nearly ten years in the bank’s background operations, Mikko wanted to move to a role where customers would be closely involved in his everyday work.

“I transfered to the Private Banking unit, where customers’ investment assets are at least 500 000 euros. The customers are very wealthy, so working with them is very different compared to other customer groups. I led a team of private bankers, where our goal was to enable customers to accumulate wealth using our expertise. This work taught me to better understand the needs and desires of affluent customers.”

Subsequently, Mikko has served as Deputy Head of Personal Customer Investment Business and has been responsible for Finland’s Premium Banking business. The investment assets of Premium customers are at least 100 000 euros.

“Over the past year, we have also taken responsibility for personal customer deposits, which has brought a new and interesting area of business to my work. So, my knowledge of banking business has once again grown, maintaining my interest.”

The Journey Continues, but Where to?

Mikko believes that the crucial factor in his career development has been trustworthy conduct and a sincere desire to collaborate for the benefit of the entire bank. Continuing at Danske Bank has also been supported by pride in his work and a corporate culture that aligns with his values.

“Finding the best solutions for customers is genuinely at the core of what we do. We believe that customer satisfaction with our solutions leads to long-term customer relationships, and that is evident in our operations.”

In the future, Mikko is ready to take on more responsibility for the bank’s success and hopes to work in an even more international work environment. He believes that Danske Bank offers good opportunities for this.

“Danske Bank is a large company with several business units in different countries. There are various job opportunities and training available for proactive employees. I myself have benefited from mentoring, for example, and have gained many ideas for developing my skills and career.”

Mikko wants to encourage those at the beginning of their career path to consider the finance and investment sector if they are interested in economics and its development. Banks play a significant role in society, so the meaningfulness of the work is evident. He also recommends starting investing early because usually, hands-on experience is the best way to learn.

“Education in finance is beneficial for getting started in the career, but as the industry changes, different kind of knowledge is also needed. The digital transformation continues, and there is a shift from offering products towards offering advisory. These changes create opportunities for new kinds of professionals, which traditionally have not been seen in the banking world.”

For more information about Danske Bank as an employer, career paths, and open job positions, visit