By Alec Albright
Situated in the heart of Stockholm’s historic financial district is Investor AB, my internship home for the summer and the place from which a considerable amount of Sweden’s world-class industrial prowess is managed. I was immediately welcomed by my internship hosts, shown my desk, on which a large bouquet stood, and introduced to the history of the Wallenberg family’s important role in Sweden’s economic development, and how this legacy continues to guide Investor’s current business model. By the end of my first week, I quickly realized the importance of organizational culture and the role it plays across the decision making process. Later, after numerous conversations about careers with my colleagues regarding their own experiences, I began to get a better idea of what specific aspects of a given organization’s culture best allow me to thrive, and the importance of seeking new opportunities and challenges that allow one to become familiar with a wide variety of working environments.
Notwithstanding the continued importance of these types of lessons in the context of my own professional and academic life, the most enduring aspect of my summer in Stockholm will remain the people with whom I interacted. My colleagues at Investor were helpful, kind, and sincerely interested in tailoring my summer internship to my specific needs whenever possible. Our fellowship hosts were also exceedingly generous, providing us with social, cultural, and professional opportunities that provided an excellent foundation for further exploration of the city, while allowing us to engage in what our peers were accomplishing at their respective internship assignments. Lastly, and most importantly, our six-member cohort has bonded and learned from one another in ways that will remain transformative as we move ahead, together in our lives.
On my last evening in Stockholm, I sat on a bench facing Carl Eldh’s statue to August Strindberg, taking in the last of the sun, which decided to appear with more vivacity in the closing portion of our trip. As I sat, I reflected on the proximate lessons and opportunities this fellowship provided me, such as the importance of team dynamics, work-life balance, and the ability to utilize both one’s own problem-solving skills, as well as, team creative capacity to meet new challenges directly. More importantly, however, I came to realize the profound impact that my summer in Sweden will have on the remainder of my professional, academic, and personal life. And for that I am very grateful.