2019 - Natalie Wild and Jakob Nordfeldt
Natalie Wild and Jakob Nordfeldt, BSc students at Stockholm School of Economics, are the recipients of the 2019 Gun and Einar Larsson Scholarship (GELS).
The titles of their projects are Cryptocurrencies in Venezuela and Outsourcing Ourselves respectively.
Natalie Wild, Cryptocurrencies in Venezuela:
The goal of this project is to develop a strategy for implementing widespread use of cryptocurrencies in non-functioning economies to take advantage of the underlying technology in an appropriate manner.
Jakob Nordfeldt - "Outsourcing Ourselves":
The project is to produce a short (less than 20 minutes) documentary about the virtual transformation of consumption to inspire discussion, awareness and action about itsimplications. Filming will be done in California in connection to the headquarters of Google, Apple and some minor voice technology companies.
Previous Scholarship Holders:
2018 - Sebastian Blendow and Lukas Bolin Willfors
Sebastian Blendow and Lukas Bolin Willfors, BSc students at Stockholm School of Economics, are the recipients of the 2018 Gun and Einar Larsson Scholarship (GELS). The title of the project is Entomophagy (insects-eating).
During the summer, Sebastian and Lukas will travel to Ghana, where they will interview experts in the field, speaking to those currently in the business in Ghana, contacting international companies working within the field and conducting a market analysis in Sweden in order to better understand the potential and viability of entomophagy in Sweden. The aim is to introduce entomophagy in the Swedish market.
2015 - Erik Tivenius
After reading a report which presented some rather alarming statistics regarding the overall academic performance in Sweden, it became clear that we were in grave need of structural reforms aimed at making students more motivated in school and attracting more competent teachers. Based on the idea of enhancing the Swedish educational system, we began our journey by acquiring a deeper understanding of the Finish and Chinese educational system, which we did by visiting schools in each country. During our visits the main goal was to isolate key factors that we could compare and contrast in their respective core principals; in order to shed some light on weaker areas in the Swedish educational system, which in turn could pave the way for improvements through structural reforms. While we did not expect to achieve this aspiration singlehandedly, our hope was that this project would be the spark of something that could lead our current educational system to undergo further scrutiny and ultimately implement reforms that would raise Sweden's overall performance to the level of education that is in line with our true potential as a highly advanced nation. Nevertheless, our journey did not come without its trials and tribulations. The language barrier, along with the sole responsibility for the end result of our project kept us constantly motivated and eager to develop and improve on our initial thoughts and reflections. As such, this extraordinary opportunity furthermore created a platform for personal development far beyond the realm of knowledge acquired in the world of academia. Altogether, the project provided us with not only valuable project management skills, but also important insights in terms of self-knowledge that I am sure will be of great value in our future endeavors.
2015 - Emanuel Rezvani
Even though I had a positive impression of the scholarship from the start, I soon realized that it was so much more than I had expected. Never before have I had such a degree of freedom in designing my own project – and being completely responsible for it. Of course, there are many opportunities at SSE to develop skills in project management, both within the academic curriculum and in the student association. The GELS Scholarship, however, provides an opportunity to take on a responsibility which becomes a huge source for personal and professional development. Our project in China and Finland was an unforgettable experience and probably one of the best things that happened to me at SSE. Discovering new people and situations while working on a self-designed project based on our passion and interests was a perfect example of working while having fun, and reflects several characteristics I want for my future career: independence, challenges, fun, problem-solving, international and making the world a better place. In addition, I am now a lifetime member of the strong network of GELS alumni, which is a very valuable privilege now and in the future. All in all, the GELS Scholarship has opened my eyes to new ways of thinking and has grown and established in me a courage and confidence that make me feel that I can achieve so much more than before.
2014 - Adam Novak
To me GELS was a precedential opportunity to do something completely different in a country where going for a city bus tour would itself be an experience to remember. Trying to study and change marketing techniques in an ancient bazaar in Kyrgyzstan is not something that would any business school have in its curriculum; yet it happened to be an area of my interest. Fortunately GELS scholarship was here to make this idea happen. However, the GELS year experience went far beyond our time in Kyrgyzstan. My professional network extended both in Sweden and abroad; my people skills improved in numerous intercultural interactions; and lastly my abilities to manage projects were developed thanks to organizing the Alumni network for the year. Upon graduation at SSE, I will start working for the strategic consultancy firm Arthur D. Little, focusing on the Eastern markets.''
2014 - Johannes Meder
My experiences as a GELS scholar have been manifold. Not only did I learn how to plan, execute and evaluate a complex and demanding project but also how to address the challenges of working in an unknown political and social environment with a different prevailing understanding of how to do business. The planning phase of the project has taught me how to build up and effectively use a network of stakeholders, ranging from ambassadors to researchers, to successfully carry out our project. Moreover, spending time in a country like Kyrgyzstan has allowed me to witness first-hand what challenges companies face in moving to foreign markets, both culturally and ethically and how geopolitical powers such as China and Russia shape the economic reality in Central Asia. I am currently finalizing my Master Studies at the Stockholm School of Economics, specializing in International Business.
Altogether, the GELS scholarship and its inspiring alumni network have given me the opportunity to grow further personally and to think with a global mindset when approaching new challenges.
2013 - Jasmin Moshfegh
In 2013, having recently finished a course in game theory in which models of cooperation and coordination were discussed thoroughly, Clara and I felt the urge to apply the toolbox and perspectives acquired to the pressing issue of water scarcity in South Africa. As a GELS scholar I got the opportunity to design and plan a project of my own, understand the economic fundamentals of the water sector, and meet and interact with various experts in the public and private sector as well as NGOs. As such, the GELS scholarship was bound to be more than a journey across continents; it was, above all, a journey of personal development. Today, I treasure being part of the GELS alumni network, which among other things has provided me with valuable mentoring from another GELS alumnus. I am currently in my second year of the double degree master program at the Stockholm School of Economics and the University of St Gallen.
2013 - Clara Schultz
The GELS scholarship was an invaluable and unique experience that I have gained from both personally and professionally. It has proven to be a very important practical component of my education. Every step in the process of realising a GELS-project; from setting up the project plan to arranging the annual alumni dinner, is an opportunity to learn something beyond the regular university curriculum.
In my case, a strong interest in environmental issues translated into a project on water scarcity in South Africa. It enabled me to explore a topic and develop expertise within an area that I feel is relevant to my future career, and in doing so improve on the wide range of skills necessary to design and implement a project idea. Of course, the practical challenges of working in a developing country context added another dimension to the overall experience.
Finally, I am very happy to have become a part of the GELS alumni network, which allows me to stay connected to the Stockholm School of Economics and every year be inspired by new and exciting projects. It is an amazing forum to exchange ideas and learn from a diverse group of talented people.
2012 – My Hedlin
When Karin and I decided what project design to apply with, we simply started off by asking each other: What are we interested in, what do we really want to do? Karin's love for the Lion King when she was a child eventually grew into a fantastic project and the most exciting and rewarding summer I've ever had! I learned so many things while away – both applicable to my studies, especially since I'm majoring in Economics, but also to myself as a person. Back at home, a welcome surprise was the chance to get to know the network of previous scholarship holders and discussing anything from their own projects to potential careers in the future
2012 – Karin Bratt
Through my GELS project I have gained invaluable insights when it comes to inventing and making a venture possible. Even more, the hands-on experience of current economic challenges has been an eye opener to the world's complexity and its interconnections. In our case we saw the effects of difficult trade-offs between economic development and wildlife conservation.
During my GELS year I have learnt the importance to be humble and to involve people in decisions that affect them. And I am very glad to have been able to develop my professional side through the interaction with both project partners and the Alumni network.
2011 – Pontus Andersson
Being a GELS scholarship holder has been very rewarding in many ways. Above all, I would emphasize the feeling of being regarded as an authority in the relatively niche field of mobile banking in West Africa. To attend meetings with local stakeholders, such as politicians and members of the business community, in a foreign setting that would really pay attention to something you say on a subject that you mastered was truly a new and very satisfying feeling.
Furthermore, I also improved my project management and problem solving skills and got the benefit of discovering a whole new country on a continent I had not visited previously. Upon graduating with a BSc, I will continue my academic journey at SSE by pursuing a Master's degree in Economics.
2011 – Michel Dahlberg Traore
To me the GELS Scholarship was the perfect opportunity to be creative, experience something extraordinary, take on responsibility and improve my CV while doing something I found truly interesting. Being in charge of a significant project abroad was rewarding in many ways, especially in relation to what I learned of how business can be conducted in another region. Before receiving the scholarship I had gathered some insights within consulting and from larger Swedish firms. However, after receiving the GELS scholarship I have been drawn to more entrepreneurial challenges and after finishing my Bachelor studies I have been working on my own and consulting other start-ups.
2010 – Karin Bergström
The GELS scholarship has given me a challenging practical application of my business education, through extensive market and business analysis, as well as project management and entrepreneurial experiences. As a direct result of the project I have initiated a concept for the Nordic market, based on one of the business models I studied during my project. Altogether, the experience has given me confidence and skills that will be invaluable assets for me in the future.
2009 – Charlotte Staf
The scholarship has guided me in my strive to identify a career path where I can achieve the highest possible impact. Most of all, it has meant tremendously for my personal development and I have really learnt the importance of time management and prioritization in very ambiguous environments. I am currently finalizing my studies at the Stockholm School of Economics specializing in finance. The GELS scholarship has encouraged me to further contribute to explore possibilities in emerging markets and I am thus returning to Africa this summer to intern with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Swaziland. Thereafter I am going to India, where I previously have studied at Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, to conduct research on small business expansion capital for my master's thesis. Parallel to my studies I am managing and working with the expansion of the international student organization 180 Degrees Consulting, aiming to help non-profits and small businesses achieve a greater social impact. I have previously also worked at Hennes & Mauritz International accounts and finance office as well as with HIV prevention projects in Kaliningrad, Russia, as sustainable development and emerging market solutions have been longstanding interests of mine. I hope to continue working with these questions after graduation, and the GELS Scholarship has truly made me believe it is possible.
2008 – David Risselborn
Aside from improving my analytical ability, to break down and structure a problem and adress the crucial points, project management skills and lots of intercultural communication practice, GELS also gave me a new perspective on the world and the global economy. You can use your cellphone at Mt. Everest but don't have electricity in the capital for more than half the day, for example! Upon graduating from SSE I will start working as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company where I hope to put some of the experiences from GELS to good use.
2008 – Jian Kang
Receiving the GELS-scholarship and going through with mine and my friend David Risselborn's project was a very natural step for me in my journey into the world where I could learn more about both the worlds I have visited and about myself. I will never forget how happy I was, in an internet-café in the Playa del Carmen when I found out that we would be leaving for Nepal, I had to scream out my joy silently to myself surrounded by all Internet-café customers. I can honestly say that the period in Nepal was among the best in my life. It gave me insight in the local conditions and in micro-finance as well as it offered me an incredible environment to reflect and gain new perspectives on life at home. It is an experience that I wish to all and a challenge worth fighting for.
I now study my last year at SSE with the specialization of International Economics. These days I prepare for yet another exciting journey, alone and in other forms; for four months I will be bicycling in continental Asia, from Istanbul to China, along the historic silk route.
2007 – Malin Ivarsson
As a direct consequence of my GELS project, I got accepted to the 10 month EU-China Managers Exchange and Training Program (www.metp.net.cn) in the spring of 2008. The program was co-organized by the Chinese Ministry of Finance and Commerce (MOFCOM) and the EU, aiming at training Chinese and European managers in management and intercultural understanding. Having had the opportunity to live in China and interact with Chinese on a daily basis has been invaluable to gain a better understanding for the cultural differences that so deeply influence the business environment, as well as improving my business Chinese skills to HSK level 8 (highest intermediate level). After finishing the program I am now working as a management consultant at the global firm Bain & Company in Stockholm. GELS has truly been a door opener and invaluable learning experience, both in terms of the findings the project brought but also the process itself of designing and running a project of you own in China. Both these aspects have enabled me to start my career one step ahead in a world which eyes increasingly focus on China.
After graduating I have worked as an intern at at Atlas Copco Compressor Technique in Shanghai, Goldman Sachs in London and Bain & Company in Stockholm. In 2008 to 2009 I participant in the EU-China Managers Exchange and Training Program (METP 2). From 2009 I am back at Bain & Company in Stockholm, working as a management consultant,
2006 – Lisa Sjöblom
The GELS-project was one of the major projects I implemented during my studies. It was an amazing opportunity for personal development where I learnt about my strengths and weaknesses in a way I never could have done simply by studying. I was able to take the tools that I had received at SSE and use them in practice. Having experienced the uncertainty and frustration that is almost inevitable in new and exciting projects, before starting my professional career, has been an invaluable experience.
After graduating from SSE in 2007 I have participated in the process of developing the equivalent of the Swedish Code of Corporate Governance for fundraising organisations, worked as a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers with a focus on not-for-profit organisations, published the book "Partner or inspector. A study of the follow-up of Sida" and been the project manager for a Swedish microfinance initiative. My current role is as operations controller for the child rights organisation Plan Sweden.
2005 – Victor Sundén
The scholarship gave me early on the challenging opportunity to get ownership of a project engaging several organizations and institutions, and consequently a boost in confidence and "professional maturity". Johan Bergström and I worked primarily with the Japanese fast-food chain Yoshinoya but also had close cooperation with Invest in Sweden Agency and a consulting agency in food retail. Stepping out of the role of a second-year student at SSE into the shoes of an expert on our topic, was a challenging but very educational experience and an important preparation for the position I now have as a management consultant, often working with top managers with 20-30 years experience in their field. Of course, the scholarship project also gave me a memory for life, a great time in Tokyo and many unforgettable 'Lost in translation'-moments.
After my GELS project, I worked as a consultant in Paris in biotechnology, with marketing at Procter & Gamble in Stockholm and with business development for Nova 100 and the Universum Group in New York City. I am currently with Bain & Company in Stockholm.
2005 – Johan Bergström
In hindsight, I have realized that the project that me and Victor carried out as recipients of the GELS-scholarship, has been the most important step for me from the perspectives of personal and career development. As young students with limited experience from projects of this magnitude, we were faced with the steep learning curve of new challenges and more responsibility than ever before. By planning and carrying out our project, we gained invaluable lessons in project management, intercultural interaction, and creative problem-solving. These lessons, together with a nothing-is-impossible attitude that we developed during this project, have benefitted me and Victor in our subsequent joint and individual endeavors.
The GELS-project was the starting point for a series of intercultural and entrepreneurial projects for me. Towards the end of my time at SSE, I gained some experience from the management consulting industry, before commencing my studies at the Royal Institute of Arts in Stockholm. I am working predominately with film and sculpture, and have produced a large number of exhibitions. During fall 2010, I will return to McKinsey & Company, where I will work as a management consultant, parallel to my art studies.
2004 – Carl-Johan Westring
The GELS scholarship gave me a unique opportunity to focus on one of the most pressing questions for humanity – sustainable development. The project made me realize the tools and solutions available to organizations and whole countries, but also the challenges associated with implementing a sustainable development strategy on all levels of society. I was fortunate enough to get to interact with several leading scholars and professionals in the sphere, both in Europe and in the US. These contacts have already proven to be invaluable for my career.
When I graduated from the SSE in 2005, I accepted an offer to join the management consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. During my 4 years at McKinsey I worked on several assignments related to my findings during my GELS project, and I could also leverage some of the contacts from my project. In 2009, I joined EF Education First as Country Manager in Russia, and the contacts from the GELS project in the academic sector have continued to be an asset for my career.
I am thus deeply grateful to GELS for the opportunities given to me. Therefore, it is my pleasure to recommend all students interested in applying for the scholarship to do so – you all have the chance to plan and execute your own dream project that can change your life and have significant positive impact on others!
2002 – Johan Söör
GELS gave me the opportunity to deepen my knowledge in an area which interested me a lot, to drive a major project entirely on my own at the age of 21, and visit a large number of highly regarded universities in the US and UK. After the project was completed, it became clear to me what this had meant for my personal development.
Today I also appreciate the fantastic professional network that GELS has given me, and I am always looking forward to the annual dinner with the GELS alumni and Board. Since graduating from the SSE in 2005, I have spent the first five years of my career working as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company, with projects in Scandinavia, US and the UK.
2001 – Johan de Geer
From my point of view the GELS scholarship has had a rather significant impact on my career and my personal development. I started learning Russian language and received my first job - as a Marketing Director in Ukraine - much thanks to the performed study in St. Petersburg.
Also in my following job at The Boston Consulting group and in my current position as a Country Director for Oriflame in the CIS&Baltics region I have benefited enormously from the things I learned there. This knowledge that would not have been possible to obtain without the support from the GELS scholarship.
It is important to stress that over the years the following contacts and experiences with the GELS alumni have been equally valuable to me.
2000 – David Bejker
The GELS Scholarship experience have provided me with invaluable lessons for life that I have found particularly useful in the bad times that always follow the good in the business cycle.
I have experience from the biotech industry both as an investor and as a business developer. Currently, I am working as the CEO of Affibody, a Swedish biotech company. Prior to that I worked at HealthCap, a family of multi stage venture capital funds.
I hold a M.Sc. in Business and Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics, where I was awarded the Karl-Adam Bonnier Scholarship to Darden Graduate Business School, Charlottesville, Virginia, and the GELS Scholarship.
2000 – Fredrik Cornell
Setting out to California with a clear task of what we wanted to achieve on studying the effects on the need to "touch and feel" products vs. only viewing them on Internet before a purchase. Arriving spring 2000 with meetings booked with a number of start up internet based retailers, the Internet bubble basically burst as we arrived and "all doors were closed". We then decided to try the other angle and hit the physical retailers and ask their point of view on Internet sales vs. store sales - and by that we managed to reach our set out goals - but from another angle.
A key learning is to never give up - there is usually more than one way to reach your goals.
After graduating from SSE in 2001, I joined first Ernst & Young Management Consulting (later bought by Cap Gemini). In 2004 I joined Securitas, where I held roles as Country Product Manager Aviation Security in Sweden, and later as Strategic Development Director. As from 2014 I am a partner in IPSIAC, a small Advisory firm focused on risk management.
1999 – Hussein Kanber Agha
My "project" was not typical for the projects that the GELS ideally would prefer to select for its scholarships. Nevertheless as the recipient first GELS scholarship I have a lot be grateful for. The Global Village opened many doors for me and provided me with many cherished friendships and memories. GELS is not merely a scholarship awarded to high achieving SSE students to conduct a business project in a foreign country; GELS is also a lifetime membership in it alumni club. It is the combination of the prospect of conducting one's own project, and the privilege of being member of the GELS alumni and the opportunity to being useful for future SEE students that makes GELS such a unique and valuable scholarship.