I am studying a one year Masters in Information Systems in Sweden at Lund University. It is a unique course because unlike a majority of Master programs that run for 2 years, it runs for 1 year. It feels like I started the course yesterday, however, in 2 months time, I will be submitting a Master thesis topic :). The appeal of a one-year Masters programme for me was the chance to fast-track my education at (almost) half the price. It also means that my effort doubles making it a beautiful whirlwind for me – rapid, intensive, rigorous, challenging and eye-opening.
This is a course that takes a more theoretical than practical approach of merging business and technology and is part of Lund’s School of Economics. This means that we read a lot of articles, research and analyse rather than make actual artefacts or in this case, actual computer tools. If I was to summarise this course in one sentence it would be “A melting pot of IT and business”. To let you in more on the courses we do apart from the official courseline, these are some of the major questions a Master’s degree in Information System seeks to answer:
- How can we use IT to make more sustainable solutions, in our cities, at work and at home?
- How can IT support organizations’ strategies for their business and organization strategies?
- When and how to carry out Research in IT academically and in a work setting?
- Is the mobile industry evolving over time and what are some of the trends we are noticing?
- Can IT support business processes and mapping?
- What ways can we use data to make smarter decisions?
- What ways can we make IT tools more useful, practical and easily adaptable for the users?
- How best can we introduce digital tools in organizations?
I would say, busy, up to now that is. We have 2 semesters ( August through January and February through June). In each semester we have 4 subjects where we handle 2 concurrently. Some courses are mandatory while some are elective to allow us to specialise in different areas of interest. A normal week would either have lots of classes and fewer assignments or fewer classes and more assignments – a good balance that allows for research and learning at the same pace. The thesis, in this case, lasts for 3 months (instead of 6) and may not necessarily warrant you to be stationed at a specific company.
Now that you know more about the course, I will go ahead to describe the people I share my classes with. One of our lectures pulled up the world map and highlighted the continents we came from and its safe to say most of the continents were represented (Australia sadly isn’t. This is your cue!). Their backgrounds are in business and IT and they mostly have an interest in adding skills that are not in their current portfolio to increase their marketability. To list just but a few, the class has IT and Business consultants, programmers, IT Project Managers, IT Designers and Information System Bachelor graduates. The class gender ratio is also well balanced and this eclectic mix ensures interesting discussions with different points of view during class discussions.
Lucky for us, we do not have to sit for exams but have to do research and take-home assignments. The major assessment tools include individual assignments, group assignments and seminar attendance and participation. Of course, this structure may slightly vary from one lecturer to the other. I personally prefer this method of assessment because it makes education more interesting, and allows for research and inquisitiveness which is more practical later on when it comes to a work set-up
The Swedish education system is one that insists on creativity, independence and openness. It is, therefore, the norm to address your lecturer on a first name basis. I have found it that you are encouraged to question and analyse – important skills in any profession. The education is also highly personalised as you get to have one on one meetings with lecturers who are accessible. The school has an online library search that gives you access to tonnes of scholarly articles that make research interesting.
One of the initial mandatory courses we did was dissecting the role of IT in innovation and sustainability. It was intriguing to discover what a massive role IT has to play when it comes to sustainability. Just by looking at the different ways smart cities all over the world are employing IT to help them deal with congestion in urban centres and how organizations can choose to innovate sustainable solutions has given me a deep realisation of the immense role IT has. Being conscious about our resources, coming up with sustainable solutions that are kind to the environment and its resources are concepts engraved in my thinking process going forward.
The first thing any Swede tells me when I tell them that I am doing a Master in Information Systems is ” That’s a hot course! You will get a job before you graduate”…How true this is, well we are about to find out 🙂 However, statistics from the school show that graduates from this course are highly sought after. This is because of the rise of tech in recent years.
2019 applications are currently open until the end of January. More about the course details can be found on Lund’s official website. Other courses that are in line with Information Systems include Strategic Information Systems Management (Stockholm University), IT Management (Umea) and Information technology and learning (Gothenburg)