LU Alumni around the world: Seoul

This week we meet Katherine Son, alumna from the master’s degree programme Managing People, Knowledge and Change (class of 2010), who gives a glimpse of her life as Human Resource business partner at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in Seoul, in South Korea.

Katherine with her thesis partner, Na, who recently visited Seoul

Q: You have a master’s degree in business with specialisation in Managing People, Knowledge and Change from 2010. What have you been up to since your graduation?
I am very happy to share my stories in the Lund Alumni Network. I cannot believe that it’s been almost 8 yrs since my graduation! After my graduation, I returned to South Korea and joined P&G (Procter & Gamble) Korea as a HR manager in October 2010.

I started my HR career as a recruiting and training manager where I set up a talent attraction and development strategy for the company and moved to HR business partner role supporting various commercial functions.

From this May, I will be on expatriate assignment to Singapore and work as a plant HR manager.

Personally, I met my husband from P&G and I started my second master program in organization counseling at part-time graduate last year. Also, I became a certified ‘Lego serious play’ facilitator and have been utilizing the skills at work.

Q: What does a typical work day look like for you today?
It’s difficult to define a typical work day at P&G. Let me share what I did last Thursday.

Here we have flexible working time arrangement so people come to work between 8am to 10am. I usually come to office around 8am and spend 1~2hrs undisrupted time working on something drafting the proposal, mid to long term projects. Since last week, I was assigned to design motivation boost program for a certain group so I was drafting initial plan for the program.

On a weekly basis, there are 3~5 international call meetings or trainings (usually with Singapore where P&G APAC HQ is located) and 7~10 face to face meetings. Last Thursday, from 10am, I had a call which is the part of the coaching certification program, me and one of program participants who is based in Singapore were practicing coaching skills based on what we’ve learned in the previous week. After the call, I went out for lunch with the finance leader and we discussed recent organization issues and next steps, especially focusing on assignment planning and organization action plan status. He is a newly promoted leader and I’ve tried to spend quality time with him on organizational matters so that he becomes more respected leader.

After lunch, I spent some time to read and process emails and joined another call meeting with HR new hire college organizing team. Me and 3 other colleagues, also based in Singapore, had designed and led HR new hire college last month and we discussed post college session execution details during the call.

Before I went home, I bumped into one employee expecting to talk 5-10mins but it ended up 40mins. As HR, it frequently happens and I value unplanned meetings with employees, like this, as they are more open vs. planned, formal meeting with HR.

The pond in the palace

Q: How would you describe the business culture when working in a global company such as P&G in South Korea?

It is very interesting to work in P&G, a American consumer goods company in South Korea. Compared to many organizations in Korea, P&G Korea has ‘P&G’s strong and unique culture’ which you may find it from any P&G office in the world but not in Korean companies’ offices.

Though I haven’t experienced Korean local company culture, I think P&G Korea culture is less hierarchical and flexible. Company encourages ‘speak up’ culture and programs to support employee’s flexible working environment (e.g. flexible working time, work from home, reduced work hour).

There are 7 foreigners working in P&G Korea but many Korean P&G’ers have experienced living outside of Korea when they were young or as an expat and we use English as an official language in the office. This also helps P&G Korea to keep its unique culture while many other foreign company subsidiaries cultures in Korea is quite closer to local Korean company culture.

Fika in Seoul

Q: Has your Lund University education been beneficial in your work? In what ways?
Definitely. It especially helped me to sharpen critical thinking and do practical applications of methodologies when it comes to a real problem solving in the business context.

Culture, leadership, change management have always been the hot topics in P&G and these were the main subjects in the ‘Managing people, knowledge and change’ program. So, I was able to easily participate and lead org. related discussion.
And the variety of students/professors’ backgrounds I met in the program also broadened my perspectives on different thinking and leadership styles, this has helped me to have a better understanding of human dynamics and effective communications according to those.

Not only about the education, but also living in a very different culture vs. home country transformed my point of view towards the world. I can confidently say that I became a more rounded person after I studied in Sweden.

Q: If you could visit any place in the world, where would you choose to go and why?
If I may choose among the places I have been to, I would like to visit Lund in May. I really miss Botaniska trädgården, my corridor – Sparta, small ally ways, Gerdahallen. I would like to introduce Lund to my family how awesome it is. I seriously planned to visit Lund this May but due to unexpected relocation to Singapore, I postponed the plan to next year.

If I choose somewhere new, I would like to go to Tulip festival either in Ottawa, Canada or in Netherland. Tulip became my favorite flower in Lund. Cannot forget the scenery of Botaniska trädgården in April/May. After I returned to South Korea, whenever I found tulip, I took pictures of it anyhow.

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When having a good LinkedIn profile is not enough…

… and you wish to continue polishing your LinkedIn and networking skills, you have come to right post! You might recall my previous post about how to become a LinkedIn Pro. This post is also about LinkedIn, but one step further. It will emphasise the importance of networking on LinkedIn and the job opportunities that exist on LinkedIn. Students at Lund University were able to attend a free seminar Wednesday the 23rd of May about just this!

Successful LinkedIn Networking

Anna Persson, the Guest Speaker, is a LinkedIn enthusiast and has a background in HR and recruitment and as a Career Advisor. Here are her tips on how to network successfully on LinkedIn and how to, perhaps, find your next job on the website.

  • Research your contacts

Before you reach out to the people you want to connect with on LinkedIn, do your research! Pay attention to the changes in their profile, their status updates that they are posting, connections or groups that you have in common, if their company is on LinkedIn, perhaps give them a follow. This will show interest on your part, and can be a good networking asset.

  • Engage with your new contacts

When you have connected with someone – engage with them to network further. This means staying in touch with them, comment on their updates, write personalised messages, and so on. A tip is to go through your new contacts once per week and see who you have yet to engage with.

  • Networking with added value

Be smart when networking. Share content that is relevant for the people in your network. Ask questions and encourage discussion. Engage with your audience. Share relevant and valuable content regularly. Position yourself as the go-to-person in your area of expertis. When sharing other people’s content, credit them by tagging their name [at] [their name]. Compliment people and flatter them. This is another networking tip.

Those were three tips about networking on LinkedIn from Anna Persson. But what about jobs then? How can you find the job of your dreams? During the seminar, Anna guided us in the topic.

Successful LinkedIn Networking

  • Research and follow companies

When following companies of your interest, you will receive relevant updates, news, links and job opportunities. If you present yourself well on LinkedIn and have shown interest in the company (perhaps by reaching out on LinkedIn to people working in the company, or by being engaged in the company’s page on LinkedIn) you may have a shot at the job opportunities the company may present.

Be sure you have done your research about the company. Do you feel a connection to the company? What is the company’s mission, their products or services? How is the company’s culture and what are their skills? What are the tasks of the job? Search for members of the company holding the role, or similar roles and ask them!

  • Create your job search

Create your job search and narrow down your interests by using filters, advance searches and adding the area code of your interest. Save job advertisements you think are interesting. It can also be a good idea to take a look at the alumni from your alma mater, and connect with alumni working in the area you are interested in. Lucky for you, Lund University has over 100 000 alumni on LinkedIn! If that number should not be enough, there are over 480 million members on LinkedIn to connect with! However, remember that there is a limit on how many contacts you can have on LinkedIn.

Career advice/Updates 0

A quick hello from the Alumni office

May and June are hectic months at Lund University. Lundakarnevalen, the exam and thesis period, the doctoral conferment, graduations and the hottest month of May since the 1940’s, have kept everyone involved in the academic life in Lund very busy.

Greetings from the Alumni Office

At the Alumni Office, Karen and I have been busy setting up the semester’s last activities, welcoming all new alumni into the network and planning ahead for an exciting programme of events for the autumn.

On the 29th of May, we had the pleasure of meeting over 220 international students at the international summer reception. Not only did we get hear speeches from Deputy Vice Chancellor Sylvia Schwaag Serger about the importance of the UN Global Goals and from alumna Ana Devdariani about the privilege of education, but we also announced the happy winner of the My Lund University Experience Photo Contest 2018 – new alumna Tuba Kabasakal, with her lovely photo of tulips in front of the Palaestra building in Lundagård. That same week we were also delighted to meet up with 30 alumni and their children or grandchildren (and, hopefully, future students) for a creative afternoon at Skissernas Museum (Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art).

International Student Summer Reception

We are about to finalise the plans for next semester’s exciting programme for alumni living abroad. Our global alumni events offer opportunities to reconnect (and make new connections) with fellow alumni around the world and below are some of the highlights from our programme of international alumni events this autumn 2018:

  • London – In a corporation with the Swedish Chamber of Commerce and the Swedish Embassy we meet and mingle with our London-based alumni in the beginning of October.
  • Tokyo – In connection to the 150th anniversary of Japan-Sweden diplomatic relations and the MIRAI project we organise an alumni event in Tokyo in mid-October, together with several Swedish universities.
  • Berlin – Living in or close to Berlin? Then you are welcome to join our alumni meet-up in Berlin in the beginning of November.
  • The Hague – A joint alumni event with other members of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) in October.

and more…

Make sure you get your invitation – update your alumni profile with your current city and country of residence in order to receive invitations to all events near you!

We are, of course, also setting up an interesting programme for local alumni! Stay tuned for more updates about happenings in Lund. 🙂

Alumni Events/Updates 0

LU Alumni around the world: Kyiv

This week, we meet Hanna Yanova. She is a law alumna, class of 2016, who gives us a glimpse of her life as a human rights lawyer in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

Q: You graduated with a Master’s degree in International Human Rights Law, class of 2016. Can you tell us a bit more about what you’re working with today?

Hanna talking about human rights violations in eastern Ukraine (Geneva, 2017)

I am a human rights lawyer at the NGO, which documents violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in the east of Ukraine. I work with such topics as conflict-related sexual violence, illegal detention, torture, involvement of children in armed groups etc. As a part of my job, I interview victims and witnesses of conflict-related human rights violations, prepare thematic reports, submissions and communications for international institutions and Ukrainian authorities.


UN Headquarter, Geneva 2017

Q: What does your typical work day look like?

I guess there are no such thing as a typical work day at my NGO. There are days when I read and analyze interviews all day long in the office and there are days full of meetings and presentations somewhere in Luhansk or Donetsk regions (eastern Ukraine). Also my work involves quite a lot of travelling. I can travel to eastern Ukraine, close to the contact line, to conduct interviews as well as to Geneva for advocacy meetings and presentations.

Field work in the east of Ukraine

66th session CEDAW in Geneva

Q: Has your Lund University education been beneficial in your work? In what ways?

I can say that without the education and vision I got in Sweden, I would not be the person I am today. The whole experience of living and studying in Sweden was life-changing. I grew a lot professionally and personally. The work I do today reflects the ideas, principles and knowledge I obtained during my studies.

I believe Lund University gave me a great platform for further growth, unforgettable memories and great friends.

OSCE HDIM meeting in Warsaw 2017

Q: You recently visited Stockholm for The Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality as one of 18 Swedish Institute alumni from around the world. We are keen to hear about your experiences; what are your top 3 takeaways from the forum?

At the Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality

Swedish dedication to gender equality on different levels is inspiring and worth learning from. It was a couple of really fascinating days with fruitful discussions and food for thought. The Forum was an opportunity to meet with likeminded people, look at my own work from another perspective and plan further activities back home. I learned a lot about the situation with women’s rights all over the world.

And no matter the country it was obvious that gender equality isn’t only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do everywhere.

Q: What is one of your best memories from your student days in Lund?

This is a hard question, because there are so many good memories. It is really difficult to pick one. Lund has a truly magical atmosphere. It combines great things – one of the best universities in the world, incredible people and long-lasting student traditions. Once a student there, you most likely will fall in love with this city and university. I definitely did.

I still miss that feeling when you bike to the Law faculty and it is one of those rarely warm, sunny days or when you smell fresh coffee at the Juridicum and you have 10 minutes before lecture for fika. Every time I am in Lund, it feels like home.

Inspiring alumni/LU Alumni around the World 0

The Imaginal Carnival takes over Lund

At last the cold winter has left Lund and hot violet winds are now sweeping through the streets. The wind draws the smell of sawdust from the parade preparations in the north and tones of song from Stora Nöjens preparations. There are but a few in Lund who could have missed the fact that the Lund Carnival is taking place next month. The town is bustling with over 5500 students who are working to make Lund Sweden’s most imaginary place on 18-20 May. It will be a weekend with imaginative shows, comedy shows and delicious food. Regardless of age, humor or dreams, there is no limit to the fantasy of the Imaginal Carnival.

It’s time for Imaginalkarneval!

What does the Imaginal Carnival have to offer?

On 18-20 May, the Lund Carnival takes over Lundagård. The parade will roam the cobblestone streets and spread carnival joy. Within the carnival area in Lundagård, you will be able to try your luck in the tombola booth, eat until you’re happily stuffed and visit Smånöjen (minor entertainments). In the evenings, well-known artists will take the main stage.

There will be 8 “Stora Nöjen” (major entertainments) during the carnival, with performances all 3 days. These include Barnevalen, Spexet, Cirkusen, Filmen, Kabarén, Revyn, Operan and Showen.

Latest news

A few weeks ago, Imaginal Carnival’s very own magazine was sent to the press. Imaginal Journal is a full-fledged magazine and printed copies are available for purchase at Stortorget.

You can now order Lund Carnival drinks – carnival beer and cider (“karnevölen”, “karnevAlen” and “karneciders”) – from Systembolaget. And why not go out and get yourself a unique piece Carnival merchandise?

And finally, in the northern part of town we are building the parade floats and these creations will not resemble anything we have previously seen.

Carnival floats in the making!

Performance schedule for the Main Stage

Every Lundakarneval needs music!

At the center of the karneval area, in front of Universitetshuset, you can find the main stage. This is where artists like The Hives, Den Svenska Björnstammen och Silvana Imam will perform! In the northern corner of the karneval area you’ll find tavern Södersken and our smaller, second stage! This is where you can take a break and just relax between trees and string lights while listening to artists who’re yet to be announced.

All visitors of Lundakarnevalen can see the artists on the main and second stage!

On Friday, performances begin at 17:00 with Louisiana Avenue feat. Gunhild Carling, followed by Kamferdrops, Den Svenska Björnstammen and Räfven. Saturday’s lineup starts at 15:00 with Verklighetens Folk, Beatrice Eli, Panetoz, Sabina Ddumba and Kaliffa. Sunday’s lineup starts at 17:00 with Billie the Vision and the Dancers, Maxida Märak, The Hives and Silvana Imam.


Tickets for Stora Nöjen (the major entertainments) are available for purchase online on the Lund Carnival homepage as well as at Stortget in Lund. More information about ticket sales and times can be found here.

General admission tickets for the carnival area can be purchased at the entrance during the carnival weekend or online in advance.

The Parade (“Tåget”)

Don’t miss the parade!

You do not need tickets to watch the parade. For this unforgettable experience, just make sure to grab a good curbside spot along the streets in Lund. The parade (a.k.a. the train) starts in Lundagård at 13:00 on Saturday and Sunday. For the first time, the parade is taking a new path due to all the roadwork and construction. This year the parade will go from Allehelgonakyrkan to Bredgatan and Sankt Petri Kyrkogatan down to Clemenstorget, instead of going along Sankt Laurentiigatan.


More than 30 different items are now available for purchase including some old classics, such as the metal trash bin, and some new items, such as a coffee tin. Make sure you grab your favourites because there is a limited supply of the Imaginal Carnival merchandise! Items are currently sold in the Lund Carnival sales booth at Stortorget on Monday-Saturday, 11:30-18:30.

Get some unique carnival merchandise!

With warm, violet and carnivalesque greetings! We wish you a lovely carnival weekend!

For more information:

#lundakarnevalen #imaginalkarneval

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How to become a LinkedIn Pro

LinkedIn is a business, social and employment network that has taken the employment market by storm. Whether you are new to the network or if you have had a profile for a while, you might know that becoming a LinkedIn Pro does not happen overnight. But how does one become a LinkedIn Pro, you may wonder? I interviewed Stina Vikingson, career adviser at the Faculty of Economics and Management to find out her foremost advice regarding LinkedIn and how to become a LinkedIn Pro.

Stina Vikingson, career advisor at the School of Economics and Management

1. Keep your profile updated

This is the first thing you should do! Make sure you have an updated profile. That means that you should post updates regarding your job situation, make sure your profile contains all jobs you find relevant, as well as what your tasks and responsibilities were within these. Also, don’t forget your education, volunteer work, skills and accomplishments!

What is most important is your headline and description of yourself. Keep these updated and interesting – this is your chance to stand out from the crowd! The headline could include information on what you are doing right now and your main interests. The description of yourself should be a short summary, a few sentences, of who you are. What have you been doing, what are you currently doing and what do you wish to be doing?

2. Have a good profile picture

Have a profile picture where you look professional and happy. The photo is important for recognition and shows that you are more than your resumé, and it is also the first step to start branding yourself on LinkedIn. Wear clothes that you think you could wear at your next workplace, but your face should be the focus of the photo.

3. Start networking

When you are satisfied with your profile, it is time to start networking. Add people you know, whether it is friends or former colleagues, and do not forget to write a personalised message to the person you are adding. This makes the request more personal and could increase your chances of becoming accepted into that person’s network. You can also add people you have not met, that you perhaps wish to work with or that you share similar interests with.

A personal message can be the following: “Hi, my name is XX and we met at YY last Thursday. I would like to add you as a contact and stay in touch with you.

Regards, XX”.

Become a LinkedIn pro!

4. Endorse and recommend

When you are pleased with the number of contacts you have on LinkedIn, it is time to endorse your contacts’ skills. That means going to their profiles and endorse the skills you know the other person has. Add recommendations to people you have been working with or for. Recommendations are good, because in them you have to specify what, how or why you would recommend the other. Write with your own words, to show genuineness. By endorsing and recommending others, you will (probably) become endorsed and recommended back. Remember, be honest at all times, whether it is with an endorsement or a recommendation.

5. Be active

When you have a profile you are pleased with, both with a profile picture, contacts and endorsements, it is time to follow organisations, companies and people on LinkedIn. When they publish information, you can share or like their posts. This shows that you are active and interested in that specific organisation, company or person. It is also a way in which you could use LinkedIn to get knowledge in the field you are interested in and to keep updated in your area.

Extra advice

  • If you have a smartphone, download the LinkedIn app. It is free and allows you to work on LinkedIn when on the bus, waiting for a friend or while having a coffee break. Working on your profile a little every day improves it and can help you increase your chances of getting your dream job.
  • When working on your profile, make sure your visibility settings are turned off for these. This is because you do not want all your contacts to receive information when you have updated your description, headline, profile picture, et cetera. However, when you are finished polishing your LinkedIn profile, you should turn these settings on again. Thus, when you, for instance, have started a new educational program or a new job, this will become visible for your contacts.
  • Different recruiters look for different things in your profile. It depends on what and who you are recruiting. However, common aspects of your profile that recruiters look for are the following: how you present yourself, endorsements and recommendations, your activity, as well as skills such as communication, collaboration and IT.

When you have followed these steps, starting with the first one and ending with the last, you can call yourself a LinkedIn Pro.

Happy Networking!

Career advice 0

New Student Worker: Dancing Daniela

Hello dear readers!

My name is Daniela Dolenec and I am a student worker at Alumni & Career at External Relations until Midsummer. As a student worker I conduct interviews, write posts on this blog and participate in activities related to Alumni and the University. In this post I intend to introduce myself briefly.

Where are you from? Born and raised, and still living in, Malmö, Sweden.

What are you studying? The Behavioural Science Program at Lund University.

What is your main interest? Learning new things. Also, dancing and traveling.

What is your favorite dish? Tacos.

What could you give a 30-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation? My dad’s homeland, Croatia.

Tea or coffee? Tea.

What is your dream travel destination? Bora Bora. Or Australia. Or The Maldives. Difficult to answer, all countries have their own unique charm.

If you could wake up tomorrow speaking another language fluently, which one would you choose? The answer for this question ranges from time to time, currently it is Spanish.

When I am not studying, working or learning new curiosa, I enjoy spending my time reading books, whether it is science fiction or historical novels, listening to music and dancing. I try to stay active in the student life in Lund by being engaged as an international mentor, being active in the Social Science Student Union and by attending different activities arranged by the University.

Stay tuned for more blog posts by me!

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Open lectures by 2018 Honorary Doctors

It’s soon time for the doctoral degree conferment ceremony on 25 May. Several Honorary Doctors will be in town and giving lectures open to the public between 22-24 May. If you’re also in town, you’re welcome to attend! See details below.

Honorary Doctors at the Faculty of Medicine

Professor John Chalmers – ADVANCE, a factorial trial of blood pressure lowering and glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Results over ten years.

Professor Jeffrey Krischer – Predicting islet cell autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes in the TEDDY study: What we thought we knew and what we know now.

When: 23 May, 10:00-12:00
Where: Agardhsalen, CRC, Malmö
More info here.

Honorary Doctors at the School of Economics and Management

Dorothy Elliot Leidner – Information Technology and the Democratization of Dignity

When: 22 May, 13:00-14:00
Where: EC3:108, Holger Crafoords Ekonomicentrum EC3, Tycho Brahes väg 1
More info here.

Annika Winsth
– Har penningpolitiken spelat ut sin roll? Har verkligheten sprungit ifrån teoriboken?

When: 24 May, 13:00-14:00
Where: Crafoordsalen, Holger Crafoords Ekonomicentrum EC1, Tycho Brahes väg 1
More info here.

Honorary Doctors of Theology

Professor Elias Bongmba – Eschatology and Otherness: Imagining and Anticipating the Future in Africa

Robert D. Resnick – Voices from the Holocaust: The Story of the Ravensbrück Archive

When: 24 May, 09:00-11:30
Where: LUX:C126, LUX, Helgonavägen 3

Honorary Doctors of Philosophy at the Faculty of Science

Professor Anne Borg – From MAX-lab to MAX IV, research opportunities and research policy – a Norwegian perspective

Peder Cederström – From MAX-lab to MAX IV, rYou will never walk alone – glimpses from my research on living and fossil animalssearch opportunities and research policy – a Norwegian perspective

When: 24 May, 10:00-13:00
Where: Lundmarksalen lecture hall, Astronomihuset, Sölvegatan 27
More info here.

Honorary Doctor at the Faculty of Social Science

Jack Halberstam – Trans*: A Quick Guide to Gender Variability

When: 24 May, 10:00-12:00
Where: Kulturens Auditorium, Tegnérsplatsen 6
More info here.

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LU Alumni around the world: Victoria

In this week’s post we go to Canada to meet Jordan Perrault, alumnus from the Bachelor’s programme in Development Studies, class of 2012, who shares his story on working with today’s youth and some advice for his own teenage self.

Q: You graduated from the Bachelor’s programme in Development studies in 2012. What have you been up to since your graduation?

After I graduated I stayed in Sweden a short while before returning to Canada. While it was difficult to leave, there were a few things I needed to come back for. I took all of my experiences and education and leapt head first in to a job as a carpenter. While it wasn’t related to my degree in Development Studies, it did remind me how important having a diverse set of skills can be. I eventually found a job closer to what I was looking to apply my degree to. I led a youth engagement and community development project for a number of years, and then was asked to help out on a research project that grew into my current job as a Project Manager on an initiative to help young people prepare for their transition from high school to work. I’m working for a charity currently that works a lot with applied learning and the construction industry (amongst others).

Along the way I’ve done a number of random jobs, travelled a bit, volunteered in my community – including coaching youth ultimate frisbee – and started a family.

Q: What does a typical work day look for you today?

With my current job there really isn’t a typical day – which is something that I love. I have the privilege in working in a place that lets me create my job and grow often based on my own interest and energy. A lot of what I do is develop proposals, grant applications and programs. However, I’m heavily involved in project development and implementation. Typically, I’m either in the office writing reports, working on project plans, or tracking progress, or travelling around the province of British Columbia to meet employers in the construction sector, high school teachers, students or Indigenous communities.

“This is my office on a good day (Lax Kw’alaams, Canada)” – Jordan

“This is my office the other half of the time (Victoria, BC, Canada)” – Jordan

Q: What are the challenges, and what’s the best part, of working with today’s youth?

What?!?! I don’t count as youth anymore? Oh, I guess not…

The challenge is often my ability as an employer to foster an environment and a team where young people want to invest their energy and time. A big part of doing that is creating space for failure and learning. This challenges me to be really clear in my expectations, and then to find the time to mentor and support someone who may be learning something for the first time. The ingenuity and learning that comes from that process can be great for both of us.

As well, many young people I work with want to see the connection between what they’re doing and what the impact will be before they invest their energy into the task. Often the impact is a personal thing: “what will I get out of it?” If I’m not fostering personal growth maybe I’m not allowing someone’s potential to be realized. And if I can’t connect the reason for doing something to the intended outcome, then maybe there is a better way to do things (or a different way). I try never to say, “because it’s always been done that way,” which encourages some really productive dialogue (even when it is annoyingly challenging).

I guess the best and most challenging parts of working with young people is growth. Creating a space where someone can contribute based on who they are now, and growing with them as they learn more.

The process is always exciting and dynamic – even when I want to pull my hair out.

Q: Has your Lund University education been beneficial in your work? In what way(s)?

Yes! For a whole bunch of reasons.

On the schooling side, the amount of independent study and freedom to explore what I was curious about taught me the discipline to manage a lot of information in a limited amount of time. I didn’t do that well for the first 3 years of my 3-year degree.

As a lot of my degree was about research, it challenged me to think about not only what I know, but why I know what I know.

In my work this enables me to challenge a lot of conventional thinking. The program taught me to approach things methodically, each activity becomes a mini-research project with a hypothesis, some research, a test and an analysis resulting in a better theory.

I also think that Lund university creates a really supportive educational environment, which enabled me to learn good habits about collaboration, collective problem solving, and working positively to create a space for equity.

On the social side, Lund is fun. There was a sense of community and support there that reminded me to enjoy life and to celebrate! There was a diversity of people and viewpoints that enriched that experience, and having to learn to navigate a new social and political system was a wonderful lesson in surviving in the world. Being in Sweden gave me the confidence to take on challenging roles in work and the community.

Q: If you met yourself when you were a teenager, what advice would you give your teenage self?

Try many things, but don’t be too dumb.

Inspiring alumni/LU Alumni around the World/Q&A with alumni 0

Alumni around the world: Bern

This week we meet Anand David, alumnus class of 2013, who is sharing his experiences from his research career and life in Switzerland.

Q: You have a master’s degree in Molecular Biology from 2013, what have you been up to since you graduated from Lund University?
I moved to Fraunhofer Institute (Germany) to pursue my master’s thesis with support of Erasmus+ mobility programme offered by Lund University. After completion of my dissertation, I continued working at same Institute and lived in Germany for about a year. Later I moved to Switzerland to start a PhD, since the research topic was very interesting.

Q: What does a typical work day look like for you today?
I am about to complete my PhD in Biomedical Science. My project was focused on deriving viral vector for application in ocular gene therapy. A typical work day looks good when experiments are working fine. Otherwise, it can be quite stressful. I perform molecular cloning, cell culturing, viral vector production and microscopic imaging experiments. At times I worked for 14 – 16 hours at a stretch. Since cell culturing was involved in the project, I often had to work over weekends. After spending so much time in the lab, it’s such a strong addiction that I feel the lab to be my first-home. While writing my PhD thesis in the last 6 months, as expected I had to experience many sleepless nights.

Q: Within your field of research, what are the biggest challenges you meet?
To be successful within the field of biological research it’s important to be creative, innovative, persistent, patient and a quick learner to adapt to different techniques. Not all experiments work at first go, when they fail I have to go to the core of the topic and find the solution i.e. ‘Re-search’. It is also very important to have healthy hobbies.

The solutions to problems often did not occur when I was sitting and brainstorming at my desk, rather the ideas came when I was walking in nature. It was really important to let the brain wander and to find the way.

The key to success was to be proficient, develop my skill-set and to keep evolving. Good time management and multitasking was important to be more productive. I had to put work as top-priority to survive in research and learnt not be disappointed by failure. A PhD is just a training phase for a research career. Taking up post-doctoral projects or working in Industry will also require more commitment, presentation skills, fine balance between technical and soft skills.

Q: Has your Lund University education been beneficial in your work? In what ways?
I owe a lot to my education at Lund University. I could create a strong foundation from the well-designed curriculum that also integrated lot of lab exposure. It is very important to have such hands-on experience to feel confident about performing experiment. The professors and tutors maintained high standard of education. My tutor used to spend lot of time with me in the lab, during my applied project work. This inspired me to become like him and stay focused on work.

Likewise, excellent infrastructure was provided at Lund University and we had the opportunity to learn the latest technologies.

We had visits to different industries and research institutes that helped in networking. We had lectures from eminent scientists that motivated me to consider research as a career goal. I got to meet students from different parts of the world. Further the fame and recognition of Lund University helped me to find research opportunities in good research labs in different countries. Since I belonged to this prestigious institution, I was expected to deliver best performance. That was instrumental in bringing out the best in me. I would be very happy to find a post-doctoral research position at Lund University.

Q: What is your best travel advice for someone planning to visit Switzerland?
I would say, carry little more than you intend to spend. Eating outside will be most expensive of all. The water from fountains that you find in major cities is drinkable, so carry a refillable water bottle. Your experiences will be different based on season, so decide what you actually want to explore. Cheese lovers must try fondue and raclette. Buy Swiss chocolates from the supermarket, not from souvenir shops. By planning your trip well and booking in advance, you can save a lot. For instance flying to Zurich and then taking train to Bern will save you more than 60 Euros as compared to flying directly to Bern. Do carry your rain-wear in summer. Make use of one-day travel pass, it’s very economic to see multiple destinations with different modes of transportation. Lastly, think twice before taking a taxi.

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