Denise Nisell and Antonia Alan were our prizewinning team in the #handels24 competition this past spring, where 11 teams of female high school students vied to solve 100 tasks on SSE life, and also document everything in their social media networks.
Denise and Antonia, congratulations again on your win, and please let us know your thoughts on the competition, SSE, and your internships. First of all, why did your team win?
Denise: I am a fighter, and when I want something I do everything possible to achieve my goal – I think Antonia is the same. We pushed each other to complete as many tasks as possible, and took advantage of our networks. It was a very intense day and night, but really fun because we got to experience so much of the school.
Antonia: We both decided at once that we would try to solve all 100 tasks, even though the organizers said that we should concentrate on prioritizing the tasks worth the most points. So we planned which tasks should be completed during the day, and which at night – for us it didn’t matter if we slept a few hours less that night, the only thing we focused on was the goal, the paid internships.
What did you think of SSE before, and after the competition?
Denise: For as long as I can remember, I have dreamt of going to SSE and studying what I’m passionate about, economics. I have heard so many positive things about the school from my mother and friends of the family. When I opened the magnificent doors to the school on the day of the competition, my expectations were very high, but the school was even better than I imagined, it was so inspiring! What inspired me the most was the “lab” where students get support in starting up their own businesses, I dream of doing this too, and to be able to start a business while still a student is fantastic!
Studying at SSE not only stuffs you with the knowledge that make employers want to hire you, but develops you as a person because you get the chance to try out a lot of different things.
One of the winners, #handels24, 2015
Antonia: Before the competition, I thought that studies at SSE would lead to great opportunities and a good career, but that one had to work very hard. I realized when I was at the school, that although the students studied a lot, they were also doing lots of fun things which helped them to get up every morning and to work as hard as they could. Studying at SSE not only stuffs you with the knowledge that make employers want to hire you, but develops you as a person because you get the chance to try out a lot of different things.
And how did the internship go?
Denise: I was at Diplomat Communications, where I got to help everyone with preparations for the Almedalsveckan. I did everything from working on politician CVs, to gathering facts and doing research. I even got to conduct media analysis of different companies which was great fun! Everything I did taught me a lot, and gave me insights into the communications industry; I worked on urgent assignments that truly put my mind to the test! I graduated a week before my internship started, and had zero experience of the industry. I would have never dreamed that in the three weeks I would learn as much as I did, and would work on such interesting assignments.
Antonia: During my internship at Swedbank, I was able to see many different parts of the banking business. I was able to plan my three weeks’ internship at the bank based on my interests, but as I knew little about how a large bank operates, I wanted to learn as much as possible about its business. I did everything from participating in job interviews, listening to customer center calls, listening to the bank’s system developers, economists and marketers explain how they worked, visiting two branch offices in two different cities, and helping with customer support. I learned about the bank’s corporate social responsibility policies, and was invited to present my suggestions on how they could further improve their social commitment. I got insights into how the bank actually works, and realized that there is much more work behind the business than is visible to its customers.
You both seemed to have enjoyed your day at SSE and your internships tremendously. Last but not least, any advice to future contestants of #handels24?
Denise: Sleep well before the competition, because you won’t sleep much during the 24 hours that you are competing. Be open and receptive, and try to explore as much of SSE as possible. And finally, try to win! The internship at Diplomat Communications was the best possible start of my life after graduation from high school!
Antonia: Be really creative, this will help you find the solutions to even the most impossible of tasks! The jury appreciates it when you can think outside the box and solve the tasks in the best possible way. And a message to the future winners: enjoy your internship, and show the companies what incredibly talented individuals you are! Who knows, the people you meet during your three-week internship may end up in your career network for the rest of your life.