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Josefina formed close ties with Southeast Asia through KAB-IFP

June 5, 2023

Gaining an international perspective along with the opportunity to study at two of the world’s leading business schools prompted Josefina Hagberg to apply for the K-A Bonnier International Fellows Program (KAB-IFP) five years ago. She concludes that the program influenced her both as a person and in her career choice.

Together with three other distinguished students from Sweden and Southeast Asia, Josefina was selected for the first batch of KAB-IFP scholarship holders in 2017. She spent two impressive years divided between studies at the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) and the National University of Singapore (NUS).

– I saw it as a unique opportunity to get both an international perspective and the best possible education. And I really did! The program has meant a great deal to me as a person and in my working life, says Josefina.

Many student exchanges only last one semester, but through KAB-IFP, Josefina got to spend a whole year in Singapore, which allowed her to form a strong bond with the country and the region.

– Being able to study an entire master’s degree and not just a course abroad was extremely valuable. When you’re away for a whole year, it becomes real, and you get to know both the culture and everyday life. We also had the privilege of doing an internship in Singapore, which meant that I also gained an understanding of the work culture, says Josefina.

Both the master’s education at SSE and NUS maintained a very high level, but the differences were decisive. SSE offered a solid academic education where the lecturers were researchers, and the focus was on theory and academic articles. NUS, on the other hand, worked more case-based and the students had to solve challenges as well as present and argue their opinions. Josefina had thought that the year in Singapore would be characterized by rules, structure and a lot of exams, but came home with a completely different picture.

– I loved the education at NUS. They incorporated business life perspectives into the daily education in a fantastic way. Several of the lecturers came from the world of business and the courses were forward-looking and focused on highly topical subjects. When I started working, I had read a lot about what was being talked about in the business world, thanks to the year in Singapore.

During the year in Singapore, she came across the Swedish company Lynxeye. When she finished her studies, she was intrigued by working for an international company with operations in Southeast Asia, and her choice fell on Lynxeye. For four years now, she has been one of their strategy consultants and is now a project manager.

– My first project at Lynxeye was actually in Southeast Asia, so it was very valuable to have a grasp of the culture and an understanding of what it’s like to work with people from the region. Since then, I have worked in many different projects and helped Swedish and international companies with growth- and branding issues.

There is no doubt that Josefina developed a strong relationship with Southeast Asia, and had it not been for Covid, she would have already stayed for six months in Bangkok.

– Southeast Asia holds a special place in my heart, and I miss Singapore daily. I absolutely want to live and work abroad again soon, concludes Josefina.

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