When I researched about my program and SSE in general as I was thinking of applying to Sweden, I read about how this program was practical and closely knit with the business community. There would be 4 live cases where we would have to solve a real business challenge that a company was facing. We also had to do our master thesis, which was like a consulting project, at a company. It would be a 5 month long project where we would have to implement something meaningful at the company.
Last week, I got to meet 3 CEOs in a span of 2 days during classes at SSE. It got me thinking about how lucky I was that I got to meet so many inspiring and influential people, almost on a weekly basis, just because I was studying at SSE. So, I am doing this Venture Captial elective where we have guest lecturers. Some of them are entrepreneurs and last week 2 people who started companies came around to tell us stories about their start up and how they negotiated with Venture Capital firms. They were from Fishbrain and Flic. In another class, which is about Innovative Operations, we had a guest lecturer who was the CEO of Houdini, an outdoor clothing manufacturer. It was such an impressive company! They were making these clothes using mostly recycled materials and had a very holistic vision about sustainability. They also were open about their innovations and were sharing their inventions to allow any other company to use them to make their own fabric from recycled materials. It was really cool.
We are also working on project for Telge Energi, an electricity retailer from Sodertalje. This was also part of the innovation course. So we have been working on it for like 3 weeks and are going to present our findings to the company later this week. The challenge was to increase their customers and profits in 5 years or so. The company itself is small but its vision is long-term and quite big. The CEO was a SSE alum and the company has been really open about sharing information and guiding and supporting us in the process. The cool thing is that they are serious about implementing ideas which we come up with.
I thought I would get to work with 4-5 companies in 2 years. I think the number is already 6 and we have many, many guest lecturers. Guest lecturers open up the class to the real world and make us step out of the theories and models. It also helps us network and get a glimpse of the company culture. Some companies are hip, some competitive, some environmentally focussed etc.
We worked on a case for Microsoft, Sweden, for example. They took us on a tour around the office and gave us really good feedback on the work. Seeing the things on which they emphasized and how they pitched their case to us, left most of my class impressed when the case was over.
It is so easy to take such opportunities for granted, which is one of the things I like about maintaining a blog. It helps me pause and think about stuff that I do not usually think about.
To be honest, each guest lecturer and every case at a company is a huge opportunity for a person like me. While most students do not talk to the lecturer or explore how they could add value to the company, or be of some service, I think it’s a really good idea to go up and talk to them. Most of them are influential people and their recommendation can be invaluable. At the same time, one has nothing much to lose. However, I believe, that these conversations should be genuine to really be meaningful in the long run. Another thing to keep in mind is that guest lecturers come to SSE for a reason as well. It might be open themselves to newer ideas or to be challenged by students or just to browse the quality and enthusiasm of students. Thus, interacting in the class and asking thoughtful questions during the lecture is also a good idea!
Professors at SSE are also to super connected and embedded in the business world. Most of them are more than willing to help students out in the job hunt. It’s always a good idea to be known by the teacher by participating in class. Sometimes, companies talk to professors while making a background check, and it’s nice if the teacher knows you can vouch for you.
It would take me a really long time to write in detail about all the companies I have had the opportunity to interact with through my classes at SSE so I am just going to list them here:
(Does not include companies we meet through company presentations and other mingles)
Electrolux – Guest Lecture
Uber – Guest Lecture
L’oreal – Live Case
Microsoft – Live Case
Telge – Live Case
Flic – Guest Lecture
Fishbrain – Guest Lecture
Arvid Nordquist – Live Case
Competition Authority – Guest Lecture
SearchIndie – Live Case
Houdini – Guest Lecture
Veryday – Guest Lecture
Jane Walerud – Guest Lecture
Northzone – Guest Lecture
Load Impact – Guest Lecture
SpringFellow International – Guest Lecture
Elite Hotels – Guest Lecture
FundedByMe – Guest Lecture
Creandum – Guest Lecture
Tyba – Guest Lecture