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Abigail Richardson

Meet Abigail Richardson – Project Manager at Business Sweden and MSc in International Business alum.

Describe your role and what it is that you do overall and on a day-to-day basis.

As a Project Manager at Business Sweden, I lead teams of consultants, and together we provide strategic support for Swedish companies in order to help them enter and grow in the US market. We do this through a variety of activities, such as conducting market research, creating go-to-market strategies, facilitating partnerships, supporting with regulatory compliance as well as coordinating and leading industry tradeshow activities and delegations. Though based in San Francisco, I support our Swedish clients across the whole US and occasionally the greater Americas region. In addition to client-based project work, I lead two programs, one focused on Future Mobility (which is fitting given all of the autonomous vehicles deployed in San Francisco!) and the other focused on Food & Beverage (as health and wellness is a personal passion of mine). I also have an active role in our mentorship program, where I have the privilege to support my junior colleagues with their professional development and help sharpen their consulting toolbox skills. It's fair to say my role allows me to wear many hats, and no two days are exactly the same - which I love!

What interested you about the field/company/role you are currently in?

A career at Business Sweden was an obvious choice for me as the company allowed me to take responsibility from day one, exposed me to a wide variety of industries and companies, gave me continued international exposure, as well as aligned with my values by contributing to sustainability goals, equality, and a quality work/life balance. Being able to make an impact and provide hands-on support to so many SMEs in the US has been truly rewarding and invigorating. It's been great to grow my career with Business Sweden, where I have felt recognized and rewarded for my hard work and achievements.

Why did you choose to study your subject area at SSE?

While looking into master's programs for International Business around the world, SSE's MIB/CEMS MIM program was my top choice from day one. I was impressed by the well-balanced curriculum that combined both theoretical and practical, live business projects with actual companies, international exposure, impressive corporate partners, and the smaller class sizes. Completing two distinct master's degrees in two years I knew would make me a competitive job candidate later on. During these two years, we completed live business projects in Stockholm, Riga and Kiruna, visited Uganda to understand business in a developing country context, studied abroad at a CEMS member university (UAI in Santiago, Chile for me), attended workshops with the CEMS international cohort in Budapest, networked with top industry leaders, all while living in Sweden, one of the most innovative countries in the world! In addition to the program, the cohort itself consisted of students from 20+ nationalities, further contributing to the ability to learn about business practices in different cultural contexts from one another.

How did your time/education at SSE help guide you to the career journey you have embarked on?

The education I gained through SSE's MIB/CEMS MIM program set me up for success due to the hands-on experience from a multitude of live business projects, well-structured coursework, and international business exposure. I am also thankful for the consistent touchpoints with corporate partner companies and organizations that helped me understand and explore the many possible career opportunities available. A lot of what I learned is also thanks to the intelligent, driven, and culturally-aware student cohort at SSE that challenged and supported me to become an even better professional and think outside the box; I have found my colleagues at Business Sweden also share this mindset and drive, allowing me to continue to develop and find an enriching career.

Following the time at SSE, do you have any words of wisdom or advice you would like to share with our current students?

Make a point to reflect upon what motivates you, what you find interesting, and what you're passionate about, and begin to hone in on potential career opportunities for you. Don't be afraid to forge your own path. It's so important to find something that brings you energy and makes you want to get out of bed each morning (and for me, very early mornings in California!). From my experience, career paths aren't necessarily linear, but that's the beauty of it. Be open to opportunities that present themselves, and know you won't be pigeonholed based on the first job you take or your internship experience. Where I thought I would be 10 years ago is so different from where I am today. I'm so thankful for all the experiences that got me here to San Francisco/Silicon Valley, where I support Swedish companies in the US while living in the global hotspot for innovation.

What are three words that sum up your time at SSE?

Collaborative. International. Innovative.