What did you study before you come here? I studied my Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics program at BI, Norwegian Business School in Oslo for three years before I came back to study my masters here in Umeå.
How did you find housing? Unfortunately, housing can be very difficult to find in Umeå. I had the advantage with connections in order to find a room in an apartment. Other friends of mine had to search online and register on a waiting list at "Bostaden" (which is a municipal housing agency) for quite a while, or were fortunate to get a room in a student corridor. In addition, there are Facebook groups where you can search for available apartments or rooms around campus or in the city. However, there is an emergency housing possibility for students who are in desperate need of a temporary place to stay in the beginning of the semester whilst looking for other solutions.
How do you like Umeå? What is best with Umeå? Umeå is a small city as such, but is considered a large student city in Sweden. There are many activities for students both during daytime and night-time, which makes the life as a student become more exciting in Umeå. The best thing with Umeå, according to me, is that you can easily get around in the city, especially by bike. Almost nothing is on a far distance and you can go from the university, to the city centre or out in the nature, in just a few minutes. There are many advantages being a student in Umeå, such as better prices at many stores, cafés, entertainments and so forth. Furthermore, if you want to spend your spare time away from the student life, there are many cultural activities happening around in Umeå with special events on a weekly basis. Restaurants have some specials, there are quizzes at pubs many days a week, and it is not unusual that some of the bars have live music performances every now and then.
How do you like your program? Master in Management is a program where you learn a lot about what to expect when working within managerial positions in the future. Most of the literature is based on theories and articles about conducted research, but we are challenged continuously trying to understand how we could implement theory to practice further on. I am pleased with the program and would recommend it to students who are interested in the human aspect of organisations, and how one should potentially lead in the future in order to be successful.
What is best? The best about the program is that we have assignments that both need to be solved in groups in addition to an individual examination. We often have seminars discussing different issues or challenges that could be solved within organisations, and how you as a manager should address them. It is not always one correct answer, which can result in many interesting discussions and thoughts, especially in consideration of that we are many international students with different cultural backgrounds. Additionally, we have the possibility to specialize by choosing many elective courses both in the second semester and the third, which makes us more in charge over the time we are spending at Umeå University.
What has been the hardest? The most challenging part for me with the program, and my studies in general at Umeå University, was to understand the way you study here. I was used to study many courses at the same time with the final exams in the end of the semester. Here in Umeå, we are focusing on one course at a time with presentations, seminars, group work and individual work, which was very unfamiliar to me. Furthermore, one is challenged to think outside the box and to combine your own thoughts with the literature, which has been difficult sometimes when you are introduced to something new. However, when you have studied for a while it all becomes much easier to comprehend, and I believe that I have grown as a student working according to this system.
Which modules have been most interesting? We had a very interesting course during our last module in the first semester, where we had the opportunity to act like management consultants solving a strategic issue for a company in Umeå. This was our chance to implement our gained knowledge over the semester into practice, which I believe was very encouraging. However, the previous modules that we had passed were all needed in order to develop a strategic plan that would be the most appropriate for the given company.
How does the contact with the teachers work? The teachers are very open for discussion and there are no issues to get in contact with them. You can either visit them during visiting hours at their offices or simply write an email, which often are very quickly responded to. If there are any concerns or thoughts about the courses, you can talk to the student representatives in the class who have meetings both during and after each course with the responsible teachers.
Have you done an internship? I have just started my advanced internship course in Copenhagen, where I have the opportunity to gain more knowledge about how it is to work as a management consultant, and how the company is working with making Swedish companies more attractive in the international context. Previous courses have taught me how I should be working as a consultant and prepared me of what is important to take into consideration in theory, and now I can finally try to implement it in practice. I definitely recommend this course to everyone who has the opportunity to apply for it, it is a great experience where you have to challenge yourself before you are finished with your studies. Who knows, maybe you meet your future employer during the internship!
What do you like to do in your spare time? In my spare time I like to spend as much time as I can with friends, maybe for a coffee in town or trying to plan something fun in the weekends. Additionally, I like to visit my family who lives in the beautiful countryside south of Umeå where it is nice and peaceful. I have always enjoyed being out in the nature, and what I appreciate the most with it must be the northern lights on cold winter days brightening up the sky. Or in the summers, when the sun never sets and it is nice and bright during night. Those are a few of the many reasons why I love my hometown.
What would be your dream job? I do not have a clear vision of what I would like to work with in the future. However, I have, through my studies and my internship, become more interested in consulting and working with projects. It is challenging and you never become bored, which I find very satisfying. You never know how each day/week/month will be like and you need to be prepared for changes continuously. I will find out sooner or later what the future will bring, hopefully with some adventures down the road. I wouldn't mind working abroad for some time in order to gain greater understanding about different cultures and so forth, I think that would make me grow as both a person and as a potential manager.
Do you have any advice to students thinking about coming here to study? For all you students who are considering applying to Umeå University, I would recommend you to sign up at different housing waiting lists for an apartment straight away. It can take some time to find somewhere to live, hence you will have an advantage if you already started to have a look before everyone is enrolled. No need to worry if you haven't done so already, there is always a solution but it can be nice not having to stress the same day as you arrive. Otherwise, I wish you all the luck and I do recommend you to study up here in northern Sweden, I definitely don't regret my choice coming back home!