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Bensam Solomon

Meet Bensam Solomon – Chief Strategy & Operations Officer (CSO) at Pet Media Group. Bensam is a graduate from the BSc program in Business & Economics and MSc program in Economics.

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

My role is Chief Strategy & Operations Officer (CSO) at Pet Media Group. My day-to-day activities include:

  1. Strategy development & follow up: Defining our corporate strategy and setting quarterly targets and following up on our performance vs. target
  2. Expansion, incl. M&A: We have grown 100% per year the last couple of years, and want to continue to grow at that pace. A key driver of that is successful acquisitions of leading pet marketplace sites - which I drive together of with our co-founders 
  3. Product development: Equally important to use buying leading platforms is making them even better. We do that by building features and solutions that meet user needs. I help define our tech roadmap: a way to help translate solutions to user pain points to actionable products for the tech team to build and the 'business logic'

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

Pet Media Group aims to modernise the pet industry, making it safer, easier, and more fun to rehome and care for your pet. Everyone that has experienced firsthand the joy a pet can bring to life understands why we would like to make that experience accessible to all responsible potential pet parents.

I became interested, because I saw how difficult it was for many of my friends to get a puppy here in Sweden. It's a very intransparent process, where if you do not have a friend or a friend of a friend that knows a breeder you will have a hard time getting a dog. 

I felt passionate about the mission, I really liked my role and clicked with the co-founders and my future colleagues so it just felt right. It’s also fun because we are constantly growing, not just in revenues, but also our team. We are always looking for passionate and intelligent people to add to the team.

Combined: Why did you choose to study your subject area at SSE? How did your time/education at SSE help guide you to the career journey you have embarked on?

I studied the BSc program in Business and Economics followed by the MSc program in Economics. I did an exchange semester at the National University of Singapore during my Bachelor's and Georgetown University during my Master's.

When I started at SSE, I was sure I was going to do a PhD in Economics. But in the course of my Bachelor's and then especially during my Master's, I realized I enjoy the toolkit you get as an economist, but didn't necessarily want to be an academic. Then it was great to have the business background and especially studying at SSE, it helped me get internships in a variety of fields (see below) that helped me decide what I wanted to do next

What path did you take from graduation to where you are now?

During my time at SSE and right after, I had the chance to do internships in several interesting fields, from impacting investing, to working at the World Bank to management consulting and private equity. In the end, I started at Boston Consulting Group in Stockholm. I worked there for 2 years and then did a transfer and worked in the BCG Los Angeles office for a year, which was a lot of fun. When I came home, I felt ready to move on to a new adventure and was very lucky Pet Media Group was recruiting at the same time.

Following your time studying and living in Stockholm, do you have any words of wisdom or advice you would like to share with our current students?

The most important learning for me is that it's important to genuinely enjoy what you do on a day-to-day basis. You should not do something you dislike or don't enjoy because it's what you're supposed to do or because it has the highest status/ compensation/ benefits. The most precious thing you have is your time, you can't buy back time, you don't know how much of it you have, so 'spend' it wisely. This seems obvious perhaps, but we don't often act like it.

Another important learning for me is that being a generalist is not a bad thing, and can often be a very good thing. With increasing requirements of depth of knowledge in society, I always worried I was too interested in too many things and I wasn't especially good at anything in particular. But I found that being a generalist was actually very useful in many contexts. For example, in my job now where I have to quickly understand many things at surface level to act as the glue between our tech team and our business team for example, or to be able to understand the needs and concerns of company founders whose company we want to acquire. In a world of specialists, it actually helps you standout to be a generalist

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

This one is hard. Unexpected. Friendship. Learning.