2018 AFSSE Scholarship recipient
2019 Fall Update
Knowing that I would be working throughout this Fall, I spent my summer months focusing on Swedish language classes and traveling. I took two accelerated courses in Swedish (svenska som andra språk 1 & 2) which are equivalent to high school level. I wrote quote a few essays, but it was really helpful, I feel like I have a much better grasp of the Swedish language now! I also really enjoyed spending my first summer in Stockholm.
Now that the new semester has kicked off, it feels great to be back at SSE. I was one of the group leaders during the introduction week for new students and it was so fun meeting so many new faces. Now that I have been at SSE for a year, it’s also exciting to recognize some familiar faces! I feel like I have adjusted to SSE and Stockholm and try to stay active in various student activities both on the bachelor and master level. Additionally, learning more Swedish has helped integration into everyday culture from being able to read most things and hold conversations. The weather keeps surprising me though, and I’m still caught off guard how quickly it can become cold during September!
My coursework this year is very different than last year. First of all, I’m participating in XTM (Executive Trainee Module) which means I do not have any formal courses this semester. I’m working at Danske Bank in their Commercial Excellence department until December. It’s nice to go back to an industry role for an extended period during the middle of my Masters studies as I have been able to apply some of the new approaches I have learned almost immediately. For example, I’m hosting a workshop in Copenhagen next month and will incorporate some of the ideation methods I learned last spring.
Additionally, I really appreciate that this opportunity allows me to experience a new industry (financial services) as well as Swedish working culture within a larger organization. Personally, it is also so helpful to work in a Swedish-speaking office because it’s great practice for my language skills, although it is of course very challenging!
Looking at the second half of my last year at SSE, I want to continue to stay involved in activities and attend more events. Now that I have generally seen which times of year have the most activities, I feel that I can prioritize better where to invest my time. I also want to continue to meet more new students and alumni who come to the school.
After my studies, I would like to stay in Stockholm. I still enjoy marketing and product development, but I am open to the industry. After some great experiences this past year in new industries, I know that I very much want to work with tangible products and services as well as with B2C in some manner. There are many companies that fit this criteria, both established and start-ups, so I’m excited to see where I end up!
2018 Fall Update from Chris Kuo
I decided to come to SSE because I had such a good experience here the first time with the Swedish Program as an undergraduate. I loved the Swedish culture and found that Stockholm was an excellent match for my personality. The Masters in Business and Management program sounded like a great fit. I have had a traditional marketing education and worked in large corporations, and this program seemed not just to study how systems work, but pose the question: everything is changing, how are you going to react?
Now that I am back, I am struck by how open everyone is to collaborating and helping each other. My program is already so closely-knit from time spent in class and getting to know each other outside of school, and it hasn’t even been two months!
While here, I am looking forward to exposure to different industries. Having a diverse range of cases and projects allows me to explore almost every sector and see if something peaks my interest more than consumer goods, which was my previous area of work.
I recently had a class that made me think ‘oh wow, that is so different!’ We discussed marketing under uncertainty and contrasted the thought-processes of larger corporations with how entrepreneurs think about marketing with so many unknown factors. The answer was so different from my own experiences it made me uncomfortable. At the same time, it felt good to have my boundaries pushed and to consider a new perspective.
I recently attended a great event at Skansen, sponsored by Swedish Match, where we celebrated the top four Swedish holidays in one night (Crayfish party, Christmas, Easter, and Midsummer). It was a valuable opportunity to interact with the company, and I even got to sit across from the CEO! It was just such a fantastic experience, and I love that these opportunities exist for students at SSE.
I thought I would learn more about innovation at SSE, but it has completely flipped everything I have learned upside down in a good way – even in my short time here so far! Staying in the U.S. as an American would have been a safe and comfortable route to business education, but I am getting so much more out of my SSE education. My scholarship from AFSSE is what allowed me to pursue this path and I am very grateful for that support.