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Sana Pahlavani

With the ability to be true intrapreneur in her role, given the leeway to make her owns decisions but also the accountability, MSc alum and Expansion Manager at Lendo Sana Pahlavani's advice is to take time to find your true passions while studying.

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

I work as an Expansion Manager for the fintech company Lendo. In my role, I establish our busines in new markets and head up new business areas. During the last 1.5 years, I have established a new business area in Sweden, mortgage loans, and been involved with the acquisition and integration of a competitor. A regular day can consist of a commercial meeting with one of our partner banks, followed by a consultation with our local law firm, to an internal meeting with the tech team discussing a feature or the road map ahead.


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

I love that I get to be a true intrapreneur in my role, with the leeway to make my owns decisions but also the accountability. If you’re driven by impact, it’s very satisfying to forge an idea into a fully-fledged business.

Also, it is rewarding gaining experience and knowledge in so many aspects of founding and operating a business: leadership, sales, contract negotiation, recruitment, product development etc.


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

I studied Marketing and Strategy as my major. It was surprisingly a hard decision to make, compared to choosing SSE and studying business, which was a given for me. I can easily get passionate about various subjects but ended up choosing Marketing because I thought it was a useful skill to attain: how to sell and market products and services.


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

Strangely, a lot and not at all. SSE equipped me with valuable fundamental frameworks and the ability to approach complex problems, that have helped me throughout my professional life. The School’s strong brand opened doors to many opportunities but in the end, I had to figure out myself what sparks joy and motivates me, and where my talents lie. I did it by trying different professions and industries to get to know myself.


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

  • Business developer, FMCG company, Shanghai.
  • Management trainee, magazine publicist, Sweden.
  • Brand strategy consultant, creative agency, Sweden.
  • Merchandise planner, high-street fashion retailer, Singapore.
  • Product Owner, high-street fashion retailer, Singapore.
  • Product Manager, media group, Sweden
  • Expansion Manager, fintech company, Sweden


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

Get to know yourself as soon as possible and try to avoid being distracted by what everyone else tells you about cooler professions, wealth and status. 
Instead, spend some time discovering what your passions and interests really are and let that guide you to the correct career for you- the one that brings you purpose and joy, and that you would happily spend a lot of time on mastering.
This will help to prevent you from going down a career path that will eventually make you feel unfulfilled and empty. I’ve experienced this myself and seen this happen to many of my fellow alumni. Also, remember that you can’t plan everything in life so live in the present, trust that things will fall into place and you will find your way.


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

Fun. Challenging. Vital.