That’s a wrap!

That’s a wrap! Never did we think that we could learn as much as we did in these last two weeks. We knew that traveling to four different countries and visiting 15 companies would be keeping us busy, but we were able to immerse ourselves into each culture within that time as well; therefore, surpassing our own expectations of this course.

Although we experienced every aspect of this trip with each other, we each had our own personal highlights that we will take with us back to the states.

McKenzie’s Highlight

The was an incredible trip for me because I was able to not only learn about Scandinavia’s culture and business, but I was able to connect with old friends as well. Trying to pick a few highlights seems impossible but I’m going to do my best!

As for business visits, I think my two favorite visits were Ericsson and Sinch. Ericsson was amazing because we were able to learn about a variety of different topics. It was amazing talking to Johanna about her perspective working at such a large company in Sweden and understanding a bit more about Ericsson’s future and goals as they try to scale a “startup mentality” throughout their company. It was also so amazing to experience first hand the new innovations in technology we can be expecting to see over the next few years. However, my favorite part was hearing from the VP of marketing as he shared with us his observations when it comes to the differences between the U.S. and Sweden. It was really interesting to hear about his experiences and his journey since his position is something I would hope to have myself in the future.

As for Sinch, I loved how interactive the meeting was. It was really great being able to grasp a better understanding of what it is they do but I have to say having the opportunity to bounce ideas off of their CMO was a dream come true for me. Branding is one of my biggest passions and have a change to be a part of the process of telling Sinch’s story to the world was incredible!

As for the fun stuff, I would have to say Sweden and Finland are tied for my favorite country. Finland was such an amazing opportunity for me to catch up with old friends and truly experience Finland from a local’s point of view. Our gracious host introduced us to some of his closest friends and gave us the true lowdown of Helsinki. We also got the chance to visit on of Finland’s thousands of islands where we were able to spend the day visiting my friend’s summer how for a relaxing break from the city. I have to say though, our experience at Löyly might take the cake for me. The exhilarating feeling of running from a hot sauna and jumping straight into the freezing cold Baltic Sea is something I’ll never forget.

As for Sweden, it is hands down one of the cleanest and most beautiful cities I’ve been to. I had some of the best food and made some of the best memories on this whole trip there. Getting the chance to see a sunken ship from 1628 in nearly perfect condition at the Vasa museum was something I honestly never thought I would have the chance to do. We also took the opportunity to visit the ABBA museum which was another dream come true for me! We enjoyed the weekend exploring old town, crossing paths with a Swedish military band, stuffing our faces with Swedish meatballs, wandering through the most beautiful gardens and seeing the prettiest metro stations I’ve ever seen.

Overall I couldn’t have dreamed of a better trip. From the old friendships that are stronger than I could’ve ever imagined to the new friendships I would’ve never had otherwise, I could not be more grateful for this opportunity to grow both personally and professionally so I want to say a BIG thank you to my professors Clas and Niklas because without you this trip would’ve never happened. We are truly blessed with the very best in terms of professors!


Liz’s Highlight

As one of the few students who truly hadn’t seen the world before this course, I can happily say that I couldn’t have chosen a better first worldly adventure! Although I have previously taken multiple international business courses learning about how different countries conduct various types of business practices; I now realize that it is hard to truly know how to conduct business in another country without immersing yourself in the country entirely — embracing everything the country has to offer, even beyond the business realm. From learning about how we must avoid taking the easy way out from Conversionista, to needing to find the healthy balance between work and obtaining a social life from Mikkeller, I now realize that there is so much more out there in the world for me to learn. Although there was a lot of bouncing around, being constantly on the go everywhere we went, I absorbed absolutely every second of it. I may have looked the “least interested,” but I can honestly say that my face does not reflect my true feelings (haha). This course helped me realize how much I love exploring and sight seeing, as well as learning from everyone I meet around me as much as I can. There is no specific highlight for me in that my favorite part was simply learning and seeing each country and culture. It is true that we are never done learning, and I plan on continuing my studying through various travels in the future.

As we end this course and our journey, we wanted to take this time to truly express how blessed and thankful we feel to have been on such an incredible adventure. We are happy to say we’ve grown closer to others who were on this excursion with us, while increasing our knowledge of international business practices beyond what we would have been able to learn in a traditional classroom.

Most of all, we wanted to thank the two people who made this all possible: Niklas Myhr and Clas Wihlborg. Our professors were not only intelligent and informational, but kind hearted and free spirited. Even though they had to put up with 20 very different and scattered students, they did it in the most positive way which is a quality we cannot help but respect. We may be ending this course, but the memories will forever live on!

Cheers to an amazing trip!

#ScandiSisters #BizScand #ChapmanU #ArgyrosAdvantage #ChapmanMBA #SocialProfessor

Copenhagen and The End

We visited the very impressive company Maersk in Copenhagen. There, we had the privilege of listening to Jonas Linnebjerg, head of Marketing Management Consulting, Frederik Dage, consultant in Management Consulting, and Thomas Lassen about Strategy Development. All three men were extremely passionate and knowledgeable about the company, and put their full culture on display for us to see. Maersk is a huge company with 80,000 employees and 800 offices in 130 countries. They have activities in logistics, transport and energy sectors. They have been the largest container ship and supply vessel operator in the world since 1996.

In terms of the company culture, we learned about the original owner and founder Moiler Maersk. They say he worked until he passed away, always with a smile on his face. He would take the stairs all the way to the ninth floor, enabling his employees to avoid the elevators and join him. It is clear that his authentic values are still present, including family values. However, after his passing, the company culture shifted as the new generation came to be. Moilers daughter made changes when she joined the board. The old conglomerate structure changed after her father’s death. Thomas Lassen said they have a focus on revenue. Their new leadership broke up the old conglomerate and moved towards working together optimally. They want to bring business units together again. Some specific shifts they want to make in their culture include going from complex to simple, from fragmented to integral, and from product centric to customer centric. They believe that vertical integration as a critical enabler of improved customer experience and industry efficiency, and are working towards making their customers feel part of the company family. Maersk values constant care, looking towards the future and adaption, and entrepeneurialship.

Lastly but certainly the most exciting visit was to Mikkeller Brewing Company. Not only did we get a taste for what Copenhagen has to offer, but we got to experience the culture of a company we can relate to. They are a simple start up with simple roots. Their founder originally sold beer without a license, and sure enough, it got popular. They have stuck to their initial vision of creating boundary pushing beer that makes consumers think something thought-provoking. They stick to their method of creating 450 unique beers a year, as one united brand/family.


This culture of a “family” is shown through the fact that each person in the office has access to their social media pages. This way, the customer is always engaging with someone real that can share feelings and opinions. They see this as a way to cultivate their identity. We find it so interesting that they have spent $0 on traditional advertisement, and just a few thousand on social media advertising. They pride themselves on being a small brand with a big awareness.

Extending their culture to their bars, they maintain a different aesthetic in all of their locations. However, they really play-up the family aspect by having a communal lunch in the office everyday around their long rectangle table. Additionally, there is a fully stocked bar and beers on tap right when you enter, creating a social environment for people to catch up and cultivate relationships. Different from American company culture, they are very much so into “turning off” when they leave the office and not taking their work home with them. They believe it gives them the ability to be creative and re-set their values and time. They want their employees to be healthier and mentally clear.

Lastly, they give each employee a staff card that gets them discounts at all of their bards and 5 cases of beer a month on the company orders. If that isn’t employee love, we don’t know what is.


WRAP UP

All in all, we discovered a big difference between work-life balance in Scandinavia as opposed to the United States. The concept of “Jantelov” that we discussed in our first post was ever present in the companies we visited. Scandinavian companies emphasize flat leadership, a more casual environment, and mental health breaks. We are so grateful for the opportunity to learn from these industry professionals firsthand, and highly recommend the trip for anyone interested! 🙂

Malmo, Sweden

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Stockholm Syndrome

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Skål Denmark! Skål Mikkeller!

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Sinch: Enriching Engagement

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The Differing Themes of Finland’s Business Landscape

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Goodbye Scandinavia

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So Long, Farewell!

We have had an amazing time in Scandinavia and are a little sad to see this adventure end. We have learned a lot throughout these business visits and were lucky enough to have some great cultural experiences. In all we have noticed 3 major themes … [Continue reading]