Alumni around the world: Toronto

This week we meet Omar Abbasi, who studied International Marketing & Brand Management (class of 2009) and now lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

Q: You have a Master’s degree in International Marketing & Brand Management from Lund University. What are you working with today, and would you say that your LU education has helped you get to where you are? If yes, in what way(s)?

I am currently the Marketing Manager at Tornado Spectral Systems and responsible for the outbound messaging and positioning of Tornado’s Raman spectrometers and systems. Tornado designs and manufactures Raman spectrometers and process (PAT) systems and I work with a cross-functional team of application scientists and sales reps to create customer-facing collateral, along with various sales and marketing materials.

Lund University has played a vital role in my professional career!

I am grateful for the skills I developed during my MSc. at Lund University and what they enabled me to achieve. Working with colleagues from across the globe gave me a different perspective on how different cultures work within the business world.


Q: What does a typical day at the office look like?

The most interesting part about this job is that there is no ‘typical’ day. One day I can be working on an advertisement for a scientific publication and the next day I can be screening candidates for some of our opening positions (helping to fill the human resources role). Also, because I support our sales team and global distributors, I’m the focal point for all communications and tools that generate brand awareness.


Q: Tornado Spectral Systems manufactures spectrometers and systems for Raman spectroscopy. This sounds like complex chemistry and physics to the ears of a non-scientist. Do you have additional degrees or education in this area? If not, how would you describe the learning curve at such a company where you are now managing their communications?

Raman spectroscopy is a challenging but exciting field to work in. It has taken me a long time to familiarize myself with new concepts and techniques and has been a steep, but very worthwhile, learning curve. During my first six months, it felt like I was continuously walking into a pitch-black room! While I don’t have a science or chemistry background, I am fortunate to be working alongside great colleagues who always take the time to teach me new standard operating procedures or protocols, never mind how busy they are. As a result, I am now part of a team that gets to see a concept or product 1 or 2 years before they are launched in the market.

Q: It’s great to hear that you have been the Team Host for Lund University for the past 3 years as a volunteer at the John Molson MBA International Case Competition. Tell us more about your role as a Team Host?

I had the great opportunity to be a part of the most prestigious MBA case competition in the world and represent Lund University in 2010, 2012, and 2015. The organizers were seeking candidates that had the ability to work within multidisciplinary teams and be exceptional listeners and communicators. I knew this would be a great opportunity to meet current business students who were taking the same professors I had during my academic year (2008-2009). As team host, I was the focal point between LU and the judges and was assigned to provide them with clear instructions on the rules of the competition and assisting them with any requirements during the preparation period. International networking at its finest!

Q: Knowing what you know now, what is one piece of advice you wish you could give to yourself when you were a student?

Nothing is permanent. I can’t stress that enough. We live in a time where we believe every decision we make is super important, and that each choice is life altering. The reality is that you can always change your path. To quote Led Zeppelin:

“Yes, there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on”

Q: What’s your favorite memory from your student days in Lund?

One of my favorite memories from my student days at Lund was at our first sittning. For those that don’t know, a sittning is a dinner party and involves specific traditions and rules that need to be followed. One core element is singing. I’ll always remember our entire class singing various songs (in English and Swedish) and the international students watching in awe. Good times.

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LU Alumni around the world: Reykjavík

In this week’s post we meet Jannika Lövendahl, alumna from the Bachelor’s programme in Service Management, class of 2014, who shares her story about working in a start-up in a fast-moving business, in a city with wildlife just around the corner. Jannika visited the alumni office during a combined business and leisure visit to Skåne.

Q: Welcome back to Lund! How does it feel to be back and what are your plans for the visit?
Thank you very much! Lund is always giving me that calm and “homie” feeling inside. I have so many great memories from this city and every time I am back in Skåne, I try to sneak in a visit to Lund. This visit in Skåne is actually for business; I am currently working for an influencer marketing start-up called Ghostlamp and I am the Country Manager for Sweden.

Q: Today you work with Sales & Marketing at Ghostlamp, a start-up in Reykjavik in Iceland, what does a typical day look like for you?
Actually, there is no typical day for me and that is something I love about my job. I do sales meetings face-to-face, over Skype and over the phone, I help out the other team members with strategy and I have a lot of email-time to connect to colleagues all over the world, current and potential customers. I also plan campaigns and make sure that companies are perfectly matched with influencers that suit their campaign. We have campaigns and influencers all over the world. I am sometimes working from home, sometimes from our office. Sometimes I am even working from our “so-to-say best friend marketing agency” which belongs to the big international network TBWA, located downtown Reykjavík and called Pípar, it means pepper in Icelandic, like the spice!

Q: How would you describe the business culture at an Icelandic start-up?
Wow, that is an interesting one! This is where the biggest challenge is for me in organisational and cultural differences. I want everything to be planned weeks ahead, when it is in my calendar – it is set in stone. This organised (and quite frankly a bit square) Swedish person quickly learned that Icelanders are very good at being organised without really planning. This is for me something of a mystery that I just need to learn and be as awesome at as Icelanders are – true Viking magic! The team I work with is amazing – so good at what they are doing, great at sharing best practice, book meetings, bring home deals and make Ghostlamp everything that it is today. We have the programmers, sales people, chairmen – all sitting in one room. Fantastic!

Q: What inspired you to move to Iceland?
After getting the great opportunity to study one semester abroad in Adelaide, Australia, during my Bachelor in Service Management at Lund University, I knew that I wanted to study my masters in marketing. Marketing sparked my interested when I was “forced” to study a course in marketing during my semester in Adelaide.

When I came back to Sweden, got back into routine again, graduated and worked for a year – I knew I wanted more. What other better way of traveling is there than to study? None! After a while of thinking where I could be closer to home but still get that amazing adventure, I realized that Iceland was the answer. So I searched online for “Master marketing Iceland English” and found Reykjavík University. I got in to the education in May 2015 and moved in August 2015. My Icelandic boyfriend and Icelandic horse might be two of the reasons why I decided to stay after my graduation in June 2017. As you can see in the picture above, even in the center of Reykjavík you only have about 15 minutes driving to the closest mountain where you can clear your head and find new energy to get down to business!

Q: What is your top three advice for tackling homesickness in a new country?
1) Even if it is hard sometimes – get out there, do things, try to be busy and allow yourself to have fun.
2) Make sure you make the most of your new country, explore, and learn new things.
3) Call – It is easier to be away from family and friends if you are still able to be a part of their life even from a distance.

Q: What are your plans for 2018? Any new career or personal life goals?
Be ready for a cliché; My goal in life is to be happy!
I see so many people running after things in order to be the best and when they are the best, they understand that they have neglected everything and everyone around them.

Right now, having time for friends, family, my horse, working out and a career in a good balance is my goal, because I think it is my recipe for happiness. A great friend of mine, a professor in the United States, said that you need to constantly fulfill four parts in your life; something to feed your intellect, do something creative, be physically active and do something spiritual. My hope is that if all of those four parts in my life are fulfilled – the rest will come to me.

 

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TEDx talks, communication mistakes and Studentafton “eftersits”

This week we meet Olle Bergman, a skilled communications consultant with an engineering degree (LTH alumnus, class of 1989) who is giving his next TEDx talk this Saturday in Bremen.

Olle Bergman
Photo: Gustav Bergman

Q: What do you work with today?

I’m a communications consultant, public speaker, educator, freelance writer and author. Since 1998, I have run the company, Bergmans Bokstäver, together with my wife Lotten Bergman (also an LU alumna). The headline of my LinkedIn profile summarises my professional focus in this way: “I help science & tech people reach their goals with clear, effective communication, writing and presentations”. Among my clients are organisations like Cancerfonden, Scania, Karolinska Institutet – and Lund University! During the last years, I’ve been focusing more and more on helping early career scientists develop their communication skills.

Q: What did you study at Lund University? Has your LU education been beneficial in your work? In what way(s)?

I am a ”K82:a” – that is, I started studying chemical engineering at LTH (the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University) in 1982 and graduated in 1989. I am very proud to be a Swedish civil engineer (civilingenjör), i.e. having a M.Sc. in Engineering. Even if I don’t apply the details of my education in my daily profession, it shaped my way of thinking, taught me problem-solving and the value of grit and perseverance. In addition, I have a great respect for my peers from the Swedish tech universities and faculties (tekniska högskolor). In my opinion, the Swedish civil engineer can compete with any engineer in the world, especially when it comes to cooperation and team effort.

What I also carry with me from my time in Lund is my network, my skills and my experience from Akademiska Föreningen, where I worked full time with the Studentaftonutskottet for 16 months, and my role as the editor of Pålsjö Ängsblad – the tech students’ magazine. I learned a lot and I still cooperate with many people from these days. For example, Petter Lönegård and I are on the phone almost every day.

Q: As a communications consultant, your expertise and inspiration could prove helpful to your fellow alumni. In your opinion, what is one of the most common communications mistakes, and how can one best avoid making this mistake?

Haha, I could go on forever here. But let’s pick one.

Educated people have a strong tendency to get lost in the details of their subject, instead of focusing on conveying the main messages.

The best way to avoid this is to work under really harsh limitations. So, try to summarise what you want the recipient to remember in a hundred words (approximately a one minute talk). There you have your core message!

Q: We heard you will be giving a TEDx presentation in Bremen, Germany on 17 March (and this not your first TEDx, is it?). Tell us more about your upcoming presentation and the TEDx experience.

TEDx is a very special format for which you need to discipline and prepare yourself very carefully – a tough task for a speaker like me who likes to improvise a lot. I did a talk in Łódź in Poland last year and it was a really inspiring and fun experience. Although my Bremen talk is different from my Łódź talk, they convey the same main message: the scientific community has to change its conservative communication culture, inject more passion and embrace more methods from professional domains of communication.

Photo: Andjela Grozdanić, Belgrade

Q: What aspect of the Lund University student life do you miss the most?

It was really fun working with the Studentafton activities, especially the dinners afterwards (“eftersitsen”) where we got to hang out in a very relaxed environment with authors, journalists, scholars, politicians and artists.

You can see Olle’s TEDx talk from Łódź here.

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The first alumna from Lund University

Today, on the international women’s day we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. What could be a better time to share an alumni portrait of the first alumna from Lund University, Hedda Andersson?

Hedda Andersson, the second female student at Lund University, was the first woman to graduate from Lund University in 1887. With a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine, Hedda was admitted for an internship at Karolina Institutet in Stockholm where she, in 1892, was awarded licentiate of medical science and became the second female doctor in Swedish history.

After retirement, Hedda moved back to Lund and on her house on Karl XI Street you can find a plaque in honor of her memory. In September 2017 Lund municipality chose to name the new high school in Lund to “Hedda Anderssongymnasiet”, also in memory of the first alumna from Lund University.

Sources:
The Lund University timeline (click here for more information)
Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine (click here for more information)

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Alumni around the world: Stockholm

This week we meet Fiora Cheng, alumna class of 2017 and Global Champion Trainee at Scania.

Fiora Cheng, Scania
Photo: Kjell Olausson 2017

Q: Today you work as Global Champion Trainee at Scania, that sounds very exciting. What does a typical work day look like for you today?

I would say there is no such thing as a “typical work day” for a graduate trainee at Scania. Some days my calendar is completely filled with meetings with different parts of the company and some days I work on my projects. My first rotation was at Corporate HR, where I got the opportunity to learn how the company works at multiple strategic levels and build a great network. My second and current rotation is at a wholly owned subsidiary of Scania, working to create a long-term business development strategy in the Chinese market. I am proud that Scania is part of Volkswagen Truck & Bus, Volkswagen AG and I enjoy working for a company where tradition and innovation are combined in a perfect way!

Q: Something included in your trainee programme is getting a truck driving license, can you tell us a bit more about that experience?

I think this is probably the coolest thing I have ever done in my life! It is so much fun to drive a truck! Almost all the trainees from my year have got the truck driving licenses and we are borrowing several trucks from Scania to drive to Gothenburg in March.

Q: You have two master’s degrees from Lund University, one in European Studies and one in Managing People, Knowledge and Change. How do you feel your education from Lund University has been beneficial in your work?

I would say that my second master programme particularly opened many career doors for me. The School of Economics and Management (LUSEM) is very well known throughout the Nordic countries. I received several trainee offers and all of the companies knew that graduates from LUSEM are educated with high standards.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge in moving from student life in Lund to working life in Stockholm?

To be honest, being in a trainee program is similar to being in a study program in Lund, where you learn a lot every day, meet a lot of people and make a lot of friends. So I haven’t really felt that it is particularly challenging. Stockholm is a beautiful city that has a lot to offer and I really enjoy living by the water in Kungsholmen.

Q: What are your plans for 2018? Any new career or personal life goals?

2018 is such an exciting year! I will have two abroad rotations this year. One of them is at a Scania distributor abroad to learn about how we sell trucks. The other one is a Volkswagen Group rotation, working at another Volkswagen Truck & Bus brand in either Germany or Brazil. I am taking German classes in the evening now, so my biggest goal this year is to become fluent in German before I move to Münich. This year, I am also going to buy an apartment in Stockholm so I’ll be relatively settled when I come back from my abroad rotations.

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6 steps to the perfect CV

It’s career fair season at Lund University and this post is inspired by all the soon-to-be alumni we met at the LundaEkonomerna eee2018 career fair at the School of Economics and Management this week.

Lots of staff, students and climate neutral companies at eee2018

Whether you are a recent graduate or in a senior work position, we at the Alumni and Career Office have gathered some useful advice for when you are about to update your CV for the next step in your career.

1. Every CV is different. Your CV and cover letter need to reflect your individuality, your background, skills and goals. Take the time to adjust your CV for each role that you are applying for. It is easy to send the same CV to many employers, but actually tweaking it to fit each specific position may land you an interview.

2. Correct language and style. Write your application in the same language as the ad. And while design elements, colours and graphics can set you apart, use them wisely. An application to a traditional company may require a traditional-looking CV.

3. Looking for work in Sweden? – Don´t use the Euro pass template! Look for templates that are 1-2 pages. Click here to find examples of CV’s useful for the Swedish labour market.

4. Use reverse chronological order: most recent comes first. E.g. start with your most recent jobs and studies and work your way backwards.

5. Use action verbs when you describe what you have done. If every bullet point in your CV starts with “responsible for” or “managed”, the reader will become bored quickly. Use a variety of action verbs. For example, if you managed employees, show what a great leader you were with words like aligned, enabled or facilitated. Click here for a list of hundreds of useful action verbs.

6. Make it easy for the employer to find what he or she is looking for. A recruiter reads a lot of CV’s, so make their work easier. Create a CV that is easy to skim through. Keep your CV formatting consistent, pick either your roles or your companies to bold and align your dates and locations to the right.

Click here for more advice on how to write the perfect CV.

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Opening of the Love@Lund exhibition

This gallery contains 57 photos.

On Valentine’s Day, we opened the doors of Pelarsalen in the University main building to over 100 alumni for the Love@Lund exhibition 2018. Photos by Sandra Bergholm.  

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The Love@Lund exhibition 2018

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Lund University has not only filled the minds of many students, but it has also filled their hearts. The Love@Lund exhibition introduces you to couples who found love in Lund – in the corridor, the AF building or the classroom, just to name a few places where sparks flew. We’d like to give a special thanks to the couples who … Continue reading

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Alumni around the world: Ulaanbaatar

Q: Hi Zolzaya Shagdar! We are happy to see that you are a part of the team behind the Swedish Alumni Network in Mongolia. How are you?

Zolzaya, LUSEM ’15

First of all, let me introduce myself briefly. I am Zolzaya from Mongolia. From 2014 to 2015, I studied my MSc degree in International Economics with a Focus on China at Lund University with a full-scholarship provided by the Swedish Institute. After graduating from Lund, I have returned to Mongolia and been working here since. Last month, I and one other Swedish Institute alumnus, decided to start an Alumni Network for all Mongolians who have studied in Sweden. I am really happy that my beloved Lund University has taken interest in my initiative and I also would like to thank you for inviting me to share my story on this Alumni Blog.

Q: What made you take the initiative to start the alumni network in Mongolia?
As I have mentioned earlier, it has been more than two years since I started working in Mongolia. During my work experience in Mongolia, I have encountered many Mongolians who have studied abroad and the vast majority of them graduated either in USA, Australia or Japan. Considering the fact that these countries are the most popular study abroad destinations for Mongolians, this comes as no surprise. Consequently, alumni associations of the above countries are the strongest and most active alumni networks in Mongolia.

As you may already know, having an alumni association or being a member of one makes a great difference in one’s life.

There are always these alumni-only events and meetings. Alumni from the same country form a special bond in terms of working and/or personal relationships. This was why, after returning from Sweden, I have tried to find and join an alumni network for Mongolians who studied in Sweden but had no luck finding even a single person who had graduated from a Swedish University. Thus, I have decided to start one and hoped people with similar interests would join in along the way.

At the same time I have also reached out to the Swedish Institute about it and informed them about my willingness to start a Swedish Alumni Network in Mongolia. Finally, about two months ago, the Swedish Institute connected me with another former Swedish Institute Scholarship holder who was interested to have an Alumni Network and that was how our Swedish Alumni Network in Mongolia started. So far, we have been in contact with about ten plus Mongolians who have graduated in Mongolia with help from the Swedish Institute. Unfortunately, only three of them live in Mongolia, thus our work here is limited for now. However, by contacting more people through networking and by reaching out to Swedish universities, I believe our network is already off to a great and promising start.

Ulaanbaatar, capital and largest city in Mongolia

Q: What have you been up to since you graduated from Lund University?
After finishing my studies at Lund university, I was motivated to return to my country because I was convinced that any developing country has a chance to catch-up with developed economies by using its so-called technological backwardness smartly.

After my return to Mongolia, I have joined a successful spin-off company from the leading IT company in Mongolia as the operations manager.

Since my graduation from Lund University, I have revisited Sweden every year for different events and courses. Considering my willingness to reconnect with Sweden as well as my passion in technology and development, in October 2016, I was given a chance to visit Luleå Science Park for the ICT4Development event organized by the Swedish Institute. Also last summer I have also visited my beloved Lund University and my favourite spot in Lund, which is Domkyrkan, while doing a summer course at the University of Oslo.

Q: What do you work with today?
I work as the operations manager at a professional IT service company in Mongolia. As you may have already guessed from the title of my job, I am responsible for all areas of operations related to developing and delivering IT services to various levels of corporate customers. Our company is specialized in delivering professional services in line with international standarts such as ITIL V3, ISO 20000 etc.

Zolzaya works as operations manager at a professional IT service company.

Q: What does a typical work day look like for you today?
My daily responsibility is to lead the service delivery team including the IT support center and to make sure the IT services we provide match the expectations of our customers. As the operations manager, it is my daily job to keep all members motivated and encouraged while holding my team accountable to goals and deadlines. Furthermore, as a member of the management team, I actively engage in strategic decision-making processes in my company and it’s my responsibility to make sure everyone is informed about and on board with local as well as global industry development strategy.

A day at the office

Q: Has your Lund University education been beneficial in your work? In what way(s)?
At Lund, I chose to follow the economic history specialization of my programme, thus the majority of our classes were designed to examine growth dynamics of the developing world, explaining it in a comparative and historical perspective. Therefore, I believe my studies at Lund not only expanded my knowledge but also sharpened my analytical and communication skills. In turn, those skills were the exact skills necessary for succeeding at my job today. Apart from academic excellence, Lund had an exciting campus environment. My experience of being involved in activities organized by the ‘Nations’ made me more active socially and even indirectly played its part in my initiative to start the Swedish Alumni Network in Mongolia. I can proudly say that Lund helped me to grow academically and socially.

Q: What are plans for 2018? Any new career or personal life goals?
In terms of career, my first and the foremost plan for 2018 is to become an internationally recognized IT service professional. I am planning to take an ITIL V3 Foundation exam, the entry level certification which offers a general awareness of the key elements, concepts and terminology used in the IT Service Management. In 2018, personally I have planned to dedicate more time and effort to our Swedish Alumni Network in Mongolia.

As of now, we are planning to hold our second official Alumni fika event on Semladag – 13th Feb.

Swedish Alumni Network in Mongolia meeting for a Semla

Happy Fettisdag!

In addition to these, I am also looking at the possibilities to take part in academic courses and training workshops in Sweden this summer. Hopefully see you guys by then!

Click here to reach the Swedish Alumni Network in Mongolia on Facebook.

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A Friday recap from your Alumni office

The first week in February is coming to an end and after our traditional “Dumplings Friday” here at the office, we are soon ready for the weekend.

Here is a quick recap of the past week.

From the Alumni office

LU Alumni around the world. We continue to collect interesting alumni stories from all around the world. Last week we shared an update from alumnus Morgan M. Broman, who was invited as a distinguished speaker at the IEEE 4th World Forum on Internet of Things. AI and Robotics are two tech trends to keep an eye on and you can read the interview below. In the coming weeks, we will share more alumni stories from Stockholm, Iceland and Mongolia.

Do you want to share your story with the Lund University alumni community? Send an email to us at info@alumni.lu.se or comment on this post.

Our lovely Love@Lund exhibition opens next week on Valentine’s Day. The event is fully booked, but the photos and stories will be shared on our Facebook page as well.

Uppropet!

Did you know that Lundakarnevalen is the second largest volunteer event after the Olympic Games? Uppropet, the roll-call event for student volunteers for this year’s Lundakarnevalen, took place last Sunday and gathered thousands of student volunteers who want to sing, dance, sell tickets, cook food and more between 18-20 May. More about Uppropet in the next edition of Lundensaren, landing in all Alumni Network members inboxes by the end of next week. Something to look forward to!

From Lund University

Visitor centre in the University main building. Vice-Chancellor Torbjörn von Schantz declared this Wednesday that there will be a new visitor center and LU campus store in the University main building. The University Management moves to Kungshuset.

Kungshuset. Photo by Nina Ransmyr.

Unknown language discovered in Southeast Asia by linguists from Lund University. Click here to listen to this unknown language.

New agreements with Lund University. The Novo Nordisk Foundation recently made the announcement to grant DKK 225 million to Lund University for the construction and operation of MicroMAX, a new beamline for the MAX IV research facility in Lund, Sweden. Click here to read more. There was also an agreement on education and research between Lund University and Saab.

How IKEA’s founder exported a certain image of Sweden – from frugality to ‘fika’. Sweden is trending right now, with cultural concepts such as “lagom” (just enough) and “fika” (coffee break) selling everything from books to fashion. The nation is often seen as a social democratic model country, where people are egalitarian, wealthy and happy. 

Fika. Photo by Susanne Wahlström/imagebank.se

As Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of the Swedish multinational furniture retailer IKEA, recently passed away, it is interesting to reflect on how he and IKEA may have contributed to exporting this image. Click here to read the full story.

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