Maria Männikkö studied at the Sibelius Academy and in the postgraduate class of professor Matti Raekallio at the Hanover Academy of Music from 2004 to 2010. She completed her doctorate in music at the Sibelius Academy in 2018 specialising in Spanish piano music.
This degree work gave her particularly profound insight into the works of Enrique Granados. Her dissertation The Power of Narrative – Narrative in the Interpretation of Composition focuses on the use of narrative in constructing expressive interpretation.
Männikkö won the IBLA Grand Prize in Sicily in 2010, was a finalist at the Seattle International Piano Competition in 2008, and took First Prize at the 2007 Bradshaw & Buono Piano Competition in New York.