Business, Culture, and a Chapman MBA (Scandinavian Experience)

If earning my MBA from Chapman has not been a great experience in itself, Chapman had the nerve to offer a Business in Scandinavia elective course.  For me it was a no brainier. Knowing absolutely nothing about the Scandinavian countries I signed up.

In reasearching and attending the pre-travel courses, my expectations for Scandinavia has shoot through the roof.  In just a few hours the journey begins as I set foot in Sweden for the first time. After spending a few days in Sweden we will move to Denmark, culminating the trip in Norway.  Only 13 days to take it all in!!!  The highlight and major attraction of the trip will be our once in a lifetime opportunity to visit both major and start up Scandinavian businesses.  Although the business trips are the reason I signed up, I am expecting the cultural experiences to be the most fulfilling part of the trip.

This past week we saw how Scandinavia compares to the United States; while the United States ranks exceptionally high overall, you will be surprised to see there are many strengthens amongst the Scandinavian countries that surpasses the United States.  Sweden, Denmark, and Norway train their citizens to embrace equality; the actions the government takes to support the middle class “ordinary people” proves their belief in this value. In those countries college education and graduate school is free; in addition, voter turnout, retirement, and childcare are all stronger than the United States.

Income Inequality Comparison(2011):

Denmark  .253; Norway  .250; Sweden  .273; United States  .389

* the closer to 1, the greater the inequality

Interestingly, unlike Americans, the Swedes take a logom approach to life, meaning not too much and not too little. They follow the Law of Jante, where individual success and achievement is negatively portrayed as unworthy and inappropriate.  With the rising number of entrepreneurial companies in Sweden it will be interesting to see if this concept is still prevalent amongst the upcoming generations.

As I wrap up I cannot express enough how grateful I am for this opportunity to study businesses in Scandinavia.  I guess all there is to say now is …… Watch out Scandinavia! Here we come!!!!!!!