Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Half through what the Swedes call sensommar, the period between summer and autumn, I thought it's about time to write a transition-post. Let me talk about the past 3 summer months and close this blog with my plans for the future...

StudentLund Nations.

Since midsummer, I have been working at BrandProx, in Lund, Southern Sweden. BrandProx is a very young start-up created by two graduates from the Master Program in Entrepreneurship of Lund University. They developed a platform, BrandProx.com allowing Facebook users to merge their profile pictures with a brand's logo and get rewarded from the corresponding brand in exchange. I was in charge of business development and marketing operations.

Ideon Gateway, Lund.
Daily-life in a start-up is fun! There is always something happening and stuff to be taken care of: whether it is a meeting with business angels, potential partners or future customers; a fika or a ping-pong game with colleagues at BlackPearl; the design of a logo, poster, presentation or website; applying for funds and grants; writing web content, getting involved in other projects, etc.

This 3 months experience was really beneficial for me. I learned a lot about entrepreneurship and I extended my professional network.

Eventually, it granted me access to the European conference Innovation in Mind which, for the 5th time in Lund, hosts diverse keynotes and workshops (Sept. 18th-20th).

Living in Lund was quite enjoyable too during the summer. There were less students than usual, the weather was particularly nice and warm, and there were a handful of great events in the region. My weeks were punctuated with good week-ends among friends in the city, but also in Copenhagen, Malmö or even Lomma Beach! I thought that a few pictures are worth more than words here...

Christiania, Copenhagen.
Usual evening in Lund...

Nyhavn, Copenhagen.

Smørrebrød, Copenhagen.

Best Restaurant in Lund.

Malmö Festivalen

Moving-in, Moving-out. 

Way Out West, Göteborg.

I managed to get away one week-end to Berlin, Germany and two weeks back to France. It's been 6 months since I didn't go back home. Thus, I was pulled apart in between family dinners, friends' reunions, events and so on. I had a great time :)



Sunset, Île-Tudy, France.


My thirst for learning new things seems unquenchable and I am constantly looking for opportunities to develop my thinking skills. I wanted to continue doing research and that is why I applied for doctoral studies at the Department of Management and Engineering of Linköping University. I enjoyed writing my Master Thesis but one semester was too short to conduct an in-depth study. I want to be able to holistically investigate a phenomena, profoundly analyze practices and use more insightful methods, which require more time.  

I got accepted as a Ph.D. student in marketing at FEK — the division of Business Administration. I will start on October 1, 2013 and my supervisor is Lars Witell.

I am really happy about it. I will be moving back to Linköping, where I have a few good friends. I will have my office in the same corridor as my former-professors-slash-my-new-colleagues. I will be able to continue learning Swedish. A new chapter of my life is about to begin and I am looking forward to it!!

During the last 2 years, I was writing about my daily-life experiences as a French expat in Scandinavia, as an Erasmus student in Belgium or as a student of a MSc. program. Half of it in French, the rest in English. 

50.000 views is quite rewarding for such a blog and I thank you all for reading my blogposts. This audience allowed me to put my ideas together, share information and practice my thinking and synthesizing skills. 
Now it's time for me to move on something differentSee you next time!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This is the end

A lot happened during the last 2-3 weeks. Long story short: I graduated, I visited Stockholm and its archipelago and I celebrated Midsummer. That's how this long article is divided :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Master Thesis (6)

Thesis Defense
After several months of hard work on the Master Thesis, the final seminar represents the last step of the semester, and thus, of these 2 years within the SMIO program. As discussants, the aim of the final seminar is to critically scrutinize a thesis and bring out both strengths and weaknesses through dialogue a dialogue with its authors. The authors should have the opportunity to shine and show off their great knowledge by answering both intelligent and tricky questions.

A usual thesis is 70 to 100 page-long, which gives enough room for questions and comments from the opponents to the authors.

The final seminar was structured as the following:
  1. The authors have 2 min. to point out critical mistakes they have discovered after printing the thesis (as forgetting a 'not' in a sentence which completely changes the message).
  2. The opponents hold a 10 min. presentation of the authors' thesis. As the audience is supposed to have read the thesis as well, it is basically a concise summary to show how it has been understood. It is customary to ask the authors if the presentation did their work justice or if they would like to add something (approx. 2 min.).
  3. Then, the discussion/defense begins and lasts 45 min. The discussants lead the seminar, ask questions (big and important issues, first; small details come if there is time left), initiate discussions, point-out strengths and weaknesses in the thesis, and invite comments from the audience. The authors should answer the questions, explain their reasoning, and show extensive understanding. The discussants normally end their section by giving some sort of judgment of the qualities of the author's thesis.
  4. The advisor and co-examiner have the word for 15 min. to give an overall judgment of the thesis as well as the defense and they can ask some final questions if needed.
  5. The opponents give to the authors a 5 pages-long hand-out with all their comments and questions. Additionally, the opponents can also provide the authors with the annotated manuscript if desired. 
  6. Once all the defenses are held (over two and a half days), all advisors will convene and discuss the quality of the theses and decide upon the final grades.

This 1h15 final seminar is the place to shine for the authors. It is a final test of explanation. Discussions can even go beyond the thesis' borders. Although some of the groups exchanged their questions beforehand, including the audience in the discussion bring criticism and make the discussions more alive.

I personally enjoyed defending my thesis. Mario and I had the chance to show our understanding of the concepts we used, the reasons behind it and to open-up for further research as well as implications for the existing theories. We received really good feedback from the supervisor Marie Bengtsson and co-examiner Jonas Söderlund, thus we are expecting a decent grade reflecting their opinions :)



Overall, this Master Thesis was a good experience. Quite stressful when nothing work out as planned, of course, but it helped us to understand the situation that expert engineers encounter in their daily project work! I very much enjoyed the process of research and discovery. I learned a lot during these four months, included myself. I am also very grateful to Mario, he is a dedicated hard worker with the ability to combine different abstract concepts and think them through. It was definitely a good partnership and I sincerely hope that we have more opportunities to work together in the future.

Next on the agenda is June 12thLinköping University's Farewell Ceremony AND the SMIO Diploma Ceremony. A busy day, which I am really looking forward to!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Master Thesis (5)

Week end? What's that!?
The last 3 weeks have been insane. Every damn day was spent in a library room (think: cold and without window) to significantly boost our thesis from the feedback received during the Pre-Final seminar. Now, we submitted our final version a few days ago and we are satisfied with it! You cannot imagine the mix feelings of proudness and relieve when we eventually have the printed version in hands. 

Giving birth after 4 months of hard labor, it's called: Knowledge Integration under Uncertainty.

Our study takes a sensemaking perspective on how do expert engineers communicate within a New Product Development (NPD) project team when they integrate their individual knowledge and overcome the environmental uncertainty—which should paralyze the team instead.

Through the belief-driven process of Karl Weick's sensemaking concept, we analyze the verbal communication during a meeting of experts from a NPD project aiming to design a new steam turbine.

The meeting's structure was the following: informing each other, discussing and planning. Taking a deeper look at how do the experts discuss, we identify punctuated forms of expectations and frequent arguments.

Eventually, arguing itself is characterized by elements of questioning, rewording and summarizing. Hence, we see arguing as a facilitator of knowledge integration under uncertainty.

What's next?
The next step is the thesis defense, publicly taking place on June 3rd-5th at Linköping University (1h15 for each thesis). Next to their own defense, each pair of authors is required to make an opposition on one other thesis and actively participate in four other thesis defenses.
Afterwards (and only then), we all will be able to enjoy the great spring weather in Linköping!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Villa Bråviken

Last year, for an assignment from the course Advanced Customer Marketing, my group and I visited a renovated villa near Norrköping, on the Baltic Sea, in an area called Bråviken. It is an example of a fjard, a drowned shallow glacial valley. The current owners of the Villa Bråviken bought it 5 years ago, renovated it and now can welcome 30 guests in their bedrooms as well as host business conferences.

Villa Bråviken

Winter pictures

One of our marketing recommendation for them was to be more present online, using pictures to attract more customers to their cosy villa. That's why I took a few images to serve as an example. It turned out they have been using them since then. However, these pictures were taken during the winter and thus, reflecting neither Spring nor Summer atmospheres. That's why I went back there to take a new set of pictures, suiting better the current season.

My parents will actually stay there for 3 nights in June so I will probably go back to this great area :)