Every six months (intake in January and June) the Chamber welcomes two to three individuals to spend six months working alongside the Secretariat and the Scholars. Here, they man the reception, take care of the day to day running of the office, help out with preparation for Events as well as other Chamber activities and services. Traditionally they are also given an area of responsibility (Communications, Events, Membership) and each one will work closely with a manager, assisting and learning the necessary skills for that department.
In June 2015, Paulina Lundin and Elsa Wallgren joined the team. Almost at the end of their internship they are now crucial cogs in the Chamber machinery and have made themselves invaluable to the permanent staff and scholars. But what do they think that they have learned along the way?
“The three most important things that I have learned while at the Chamber is the importance of networking, the necessity of collaborating in a team and how to strategically communicate a message to a wide audience. It is truly inspirational to work with great colleagues at the Chamber who are very talented and have many years of experience within different businesses, says Paulina.
Prior to joining the Chamber, Paulina studied and worked in New York, Paris and Exeter and most recently she was at the University of Sydney for an exchange term while studying at Lund University, in southern Sweden. There she had the opportunity to specialise in Marketing and Brand Management. In the autumn 2016, she aims to start her Master studies in International Marketing and Management.
“For me it is the importance of straightforward communication when working in a group, how paying attention to details is vital and how to plan and execute tasks in an efficient and practical way, “ says Elsa.
Elsa joined the Chamber straight from high school, having graduated from Viktor Rydbergs Gymnasium in Stockholm in June 2015. While studying she was involved in the Model European Parliament and attended conferences in Stockholm, Vienna and Luxembourg City. This involvement sparked an interest in the global arena and is one of the reasons she applied for an internship with the Swedish Chamber of Commerce. She says that she is passionate about leadership and communication and aims to pursue studies combining finance and engineering in the autumn of 2016.
Both had heard about the positions by word of mouth: through previous interns and through family friends. The application process was pretty straightforward. They sent in a letter of interest and a CV and then were called to do a telephone interview, leading to a positive response. Expectations were high before moving over to London. But has it lived up to their expectations?
“I was expecting to come to a small but efficient organisation working with big actors and large companies and that’s exactly what I HAVE done. As far as the particulars go, there were of course details I did not expect and things I DID expect but got wrong, but when looking at my internship from a bigger perspective I believe I came with correct expectations,“ says Elsa.
“I would say it is slightly different than to what I expected – but different in a good way. Overall, taking this position as an Intern is one of the best decisions I have ever taken and I am truly satisfied with my time at the Chamber!,” says Paulina.
Learning by doing
Both mention networking as a key element within what they have learned while at the Chamber. Working with the Secretariat does give young people a platform to extend their network and get a foot in the door in many of the most prominent Anglo-Swedish businesses in the UK. Both Elsa and Paulina agree that they have learned a lot during their time here.
“The most important things I have got out of this internship is understanding the importance of networking, real life experience of the UK business climate, great knowledge about Swedish companies in the UK, and overall inspiration what I want to work with in the future. I have also met friends for life, which I am truly grateful for,“ says Paulina.
“I believe taking responsibility for something, big or small, makes you grow in your work as you are not reliant on anyone else and hence have to work on paying attention to both the bigger picture as well as the details. Working at the Swedish Chamber I have been able to take responsibility for my own assignments whilst working in a team, and the combination of individual tasks and teamwork has truly been a great”, says Elsa.
A good fit
But who should apply for the role? Does it take a special person to take on both the opportunities and the responsibilities of working at the Chamber?
“I think it is very important to be positive and to take on every task with a great mindset. It is also a great asset to be outgoing and to be keen to meet new people as well as being ready for a new challenge in your life. It is also very importance to be alert and always have your eyes for new opportunities how the Chamber can further expand to new markets and strengthen the ties between Sweden and the UK, “ says Paulina.
“I would recommend you to apply for an internship here at the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK if you are social and excited about meeting new people, possess strong communicational skills – both written and oral, in both Swedish and English – and comfortable both taking initiative as well as following directives, “ says Elsa.
The Chamber welcomes interns for a six month internship twice a year, in January and in June. If you – or someone you know – might be interested in applying to join the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK as an intern, send your covering letter and CV in the first instance to firstname.lastname@example.org.