What a Wild Ride!

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As we end our journey across the Nordic countries, each of us have decided to reflect on our trip and what we took away as most valuable.

Kyla:

I write this as I sit in the airplane flying over the United States, just hours from home. While I am ready to go back to the states and see my family I am also sad to say goodbye to one of the best experiences of my Chapman career.

After 14 days, 4 cities, 3 counties, and 16 company visits, I can honestly say that I have learned many things about international business and have found that there are many different avenues of careers within the job market.

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Conversionista! was by far has to be my favorite company visited in the entire trip. They specialize in e-commerce conversion rates and getting the consumer to “click and purchase”. I found their office space in Stockholm cozy and somewhere that encouraged a steady, productive, and creative work flow. I found it most interesting when John Eckman (CEO) said that the brand managers of the companies they help do not like them and that their ideals often clash. As someone who is looking to work in branding, I found that Conversionista would only help brad image as they reflect simplicity and anything that makes the consumers life easy is a win for the company and will most likely end with retention. This definitely the type of company culture I will look for when applying to jobs in my field.

The startup scene in both Tallinn and Helsinki is definitely more than on the rise. I was very impressed by how pro-active each company was and how accepting the industry culture was of what startups have to offer. Normally, startups are slow to market and do not have a strong following within months of launch. It seemed that every startup we visited launching only months ago and had thousands of buyers/users behind them. It I refreshing to see each of these cities adapt and welcome these companies with open arms and encourage young minds to put  their dreams into reality.

At our departure dinner we had the pleasure of sitting down with Peter Carlsson, who has a decorated background in the Scandinavian market and currently invests in the startup scene. He left us with some advice as we go back home and there was one point that really stuck with me:

“It’s always more fun working in a business that is growing compared to one that is stale or stagnant”

I will always remember this as stability sometimes does no always mean happiness and that we should remember to follow our hearts sometimes.

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After all is said and done, I would like to give a final thanks to our professors Niklas Myhr, Clas Wihlborg, and Debra Gonda for planning this once in a lifetime opportunity. The trip will be one I will never forget and the friendships formed will be ones that last a lifetime.

SKOL!

Victoria:

What a trip to Sweden, Estonia and Finland! Our group had our fair share of adventures. Overall it was quite an amazing trip and I am so happy to have been a part of this experience.

Culturally, there were so many differences and similarities-each of which were surprising in and of themselves. Overall, the main difference that I found between American and Scandinavian corporate culture had to do with openness, trust and transparency. My experience growing up within the States has been not to trust large entities. This doubting nature has followed me to my accounting profession. We as auditors are taught to have a high degree of professional skepticism when it comes to trust. What struck me most about the various countries we visited was the high level of trust with regards to government and their involvement in everyday life. There is a high level of trust and transparency within the governments, which seems to set the tone for how the business arena is run.

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I want to just share a quick recap of a couple of our visits and what I took away from each of them:

The Lindholm Science Park: Not only is this place an architectural beauty, but it also has the ability to facilitate various functions (government, business and school) ingeniously under one umbrella. This was a new concept to me, one that I think will be more common in the future. This open environment is welcoming to new ideas and breaks down traditional business barriers. This idea of pulling others up with you as opposed to stepping on others in order to get to the top is something that will stick with me within my business career.

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We had previously mentioned that American Bank culture and Riksbank seemed no different. While I do still agree that these two banks share a stiff and protective nature, common within the banking industry, upon further reflection, the level of transparency incorporated within Riksbanks culture is a notable difference. The fact that Riksbank publishes their meeting notes and minutes for the public to see, enforces this endeavor towards transparency.  Most companies, let alone banks, would never do this in America because of “security reasons” or maintaining a competitive advantage. As mentioned earlier, in the U.S. there is a lack of trust for many institutions including and not limited to government and banks. I was amazed to see that a free and open exchange within the banking industry is possible. I am curious if the U.S. will ever be able to adopt this idea or if the lack of trust will forever hinder this?

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Thank you all for making this such an incredible journey!

Team 16-1

 

 

Goodbye Scandinavia

Hi everyone, first and foremost, we want to tell you that our trip was absolutely incredible and something that we will never forget! Seeing different parts of the world makes you cherish all the of great things we have at home, as well as take back information that can benefit our lives and businesses in years to come. Lexy4

It was amazing to see how different countries conduct business and how the Scandinavian design was seen throughout all of the companies we visited. As we travel back to the states we wanted to take some time to reflect on our last two weeks in Scandinavia and the different marketing techniques between Scandinavia and the US that we learned about.

We started off our journey in Gothenburg and the most interesting companies we visited there were Volvo and Saab Aerospace and Defense. Something both of these companies had in common was that they had offices within the United States that used different marketing strategies compared to Scandinavia. Volvo for example has been redesigning there marketing campaign and vehicles to attract US consumers, while holding onto their loyal Scandinavian and worldwide customers. One way in which they have been doing this is adding new technology to the vehicles such as a large touch screen and high tech safety features like Sensus. Americans want cars that not only look fancy with nice finishings on the inside and outside of the car, but we also like cars that are high tech and known for their safety. Volvo’s new line-up of cars now has all of the features Americans will be interested in. With great marketing campaigns that highlight all of these features, Volvo knows that their cars will be desired all of the world while gaining more American customers.Lexy3

Saab has unique requirements it must meet in order to sell to the U.S. military. While Saab builds its radar units in Gothenburg they are then shipped to Saab U.S. where only U.S citizens can work. At the Saab U.S. factory, the radar units are outfitted with classified technology before being brought out to the field. This allows the U.S. to have top-of-the-line military technology, while putting their own spin onto the products.

After Gothenburg, we traveled to Stockholm where we were extremely intrigued with Sqore and Keolis. Sqore is an employee recruiting app that can be used throughout the world to recruit talented employees. We found the app to be extremely intriguing because it allows potential employers to test employees before they come in for an interview. Because Sqore is a mobile application it allows employers to have a wide range of options from anywhere in the world. This app is marketed to companies all of the world who are in search of recruiting amazing employees. Since this company is fairly new, many companies come to Sqore and asks to partner with them.

Another innovative company we saw on the trip was Keolis. Keolis is one of the largest private sector transport groups that operates and manages passenger railways, tramways, bus networks, cableways, trolley buses, and airport services all over the world. Its office headquarters are in Paris, France, but its office in Gothenburg had a unique office layout that resembled a bus station. Keolis allows employees to sit anywhere they want with an open office layout. There are quiet rooms for employees that want to get away from noise and work stations where employees can collaborate with each other. The coolest thing about this layout is not even the managing director of the company has his own office. This structure is very different from many U.S. companies. Keolis markets to cities and countries all over the world. The cities could already have the infrastructure in place or Keolis will come in and set up the transportation system that works throughout the city and then they will monitor it, making sure everything is running smoothly and on time for their passengers.  They sign multi-year contracts once a country/city accepts their bid. The company can easily enter the U.S market depending whether a city accepts there competitive bid.

Next we visited Tallinn, Estonia were we learned about the countries emerging technology with online government systems. This system is all connected through the X-Road, where everything interacts with one another so information is easily accessed for each citizen with highly secure protection. We all found it fascinating that Estonian citizens can vote, fill out prescriptions, and check medical records all from online. The Estonian’s have a PKI identification card that allows them 256 bit encryption to access these sites. We found it disappointing that the United States has not adopted such a system for its citizens and seem to be behind on the times when it comes to technology. At the same time though, some Estonians we spoke to said the system was flawed and rarely worked. This is a great vision that Estonia has for its citizens, but clearly some kinks need to be worked out. Lexy5

Our last stop was in Helsinki Finland where we visited Rovio the makers of Angry Birds. Rovio was an amazing company with a very Google like office atmosphere; employees could play games such as pool and air hockey or get food from the companies private cafeteria. Rovio has games worldwide that have taken off in popularity, their most famous being Angry Birds. The company continues to develop and market a variety of games that are popular in all countries.

This trip was such an incredible learning experience that showed us how different countries conduct business and market themselves, while still staying true to their culture. It was evident that many start-up companies had small marketing budgets, but they still were bringing in a lot of business to help them grow. The larger companies that we saw all were so large with big budgets, but they were not spending outrageously on marketing due to their size and relevance in their industry.lexy1

This trip was a once in a lifetime experience and we could not thank everyone enough for making this trip possible! We hope you enjoyed our blogs as we traveled throughout Scandinavia!

 

 

 

Final Thoughts: The “Americanization” of Scandinavia Part 5

Final Thoughts

Gothenburg, Stockholm, Tallinn, and Helsinki all afforded us a unique look at international business culture. Scandinavia is naturally cold, and that does not just refer to the weather. Our initial impression of the population in the majority of the … [Continue reading]

Free Tuition Is The Future!

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During our visit to the city of Tallinn, we had the opportunity for a tour of Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia. Tallinn University of Technology was founded in 1918 with around 12,000 students of which about 1,400 are international … [Continue reading]

Helsinki: The “Americanization” of Scandinavia Part 4

Helsinki

The final stop of our investigative visit with Scandinavian business culture happened to be in Helsinki, Finland. As parts 1 - 3 have explained, the "Americanization" of this region which we have studied refers not simply to popular culture, but … [Continue reading]

The Finnish

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Can't believe the trip for the broads abroad has come to an end. We loved our trip, and we hope you enjoy our last blog. After our time in Estonia we were ready to see what Finland had to offer. We took a 2 hour cruise ship ride to Helsinki. … [Continue reading]

Tallinn Adventure!

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After our evening on the cruise we arrived in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Estonia joined the European Union in 2004. Previously, the country had been occupied by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany during the war. The country has been through a … [Continue reading]

Tis the end!

As we wrap up this blog series, we would first like to thank our fearless leaders, Niklas, Clas, and Debra for setting up and coordinating this large group of students and navigating us through 4 cities in 3 different countries.  Also, we would like … [Continue reading]

We’ve arrived in Finland!!!!

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  We have arrived to the beautiful country of Finland! After a day of exploring, we took an exciting trip to the Rovio Corporation. Which most will know as the “Angry Birds” Headquarters. Rovio, which translates to bonfire, was created in 2003 by … [Continue reading]

The FINal Expedition

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Sadly, we have arrived at our final destination, Helsinki, Finland and these business visits have not disappointed us or our peers. We had an opportunity to visit the Rovio Headquarters.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with that name, we are … [Continue reading]