Summer is well and truly underway. Far from the quiet business school campuses and empty classrooms though, many students are using this time to supplement their study experience with a stint in the workforce.
Among them are three Master’s in Strategy and International Management (SIM) students from the University of St Gallen. Salim Bugglé, Elsa Nordstroem, and Morten Lybaek are all making the most of their off-campus time, embarking on summer internships around the world as part of the program.
Working on three different continents, in three different industries, these jet-setting students have dispersed far and wide, making for a truly international study experience.
BusinessBecause caught up with the trio to find out more.
Name: Salim Bugglé
Industry: Venture Capital
Salim Bugglé was always skeptical about how classroom learning could prepare him for the demands of a professional role.
Through the SIM program, however, his opinion began to change.
“We did loads of company trips,” he explains. “We also had a lot of projects working with professionals, for example from McKinsey and AMG Mercedes.”
This summer, Salim is working in Singapore with Antler— a venture capital fund with an unusual business model.
“What Antler does is not only invest in companies,” he explains, “it also builds up companies from scratch.”
Every six months, the firm recruits a cohort of 100 entrepreneurs, puts them through a training program, and helps them to create their own companies. At the end of the training, Antler invests in the most promising new organizations.
“It’s super interesting, because I don’t only get the exposure from the Antler side,” Salim notes. “I’ve also had the opportunity to work with these founders, who have amazing track records.”
Salim’s summer role has also encouraged his own entrepreneurial impulses.
“I know my end goal is to be running my own business in a few years,” he notes, “so it’s just a question of growing enough knowledge and experience to get there."
Name: Elsa Nordstroem
Location: Brussels and Zurich
Elsa Nordstroem is using her summer to complete an internship with Bain & Company, one of the ‘big three’ management consultancies.
“I’ve been interning in Brussels for six weeks, and now I’m going to Zurich for nine weeks,” she explains.
“In Brussels, I was put on a case right away—I feel like I was really brought along, like I was part of the team.”
Although she acknowledges that switching from study to work is a big change of pace, Elsa believes that the SIM experience helped her prepare.
“In SIM we did a lot of group work, and that’s also how you work in consulting,” she reflects, “I think there’s a lot of overlap.”
With a Bain and Co. internship under her belt, Elsa is keen to pursue a career in strategy consulting when she graduates—a popular choice for SIM alumni.
Despite this, Elsa says, the SIM program encourages students to keep their options open.
“Throughout the program, staff have made it clear that you do have other options besides consulting,” she notes.
“I think that I’m still trying to keep an open mind.”
Name: Morten Lybaek
Industry: Private Equity/Venture Capital
Almost 5,000 miles away, Morten Lybaek is spending his summer in Zambia.
Working with Kukula Capital—the country’s first private equity and venture capital fund—Morten is putting his SIM knowledge into practice.
“The whole business part of the curriculum is very much in play,” he explains, “but also, learning to be aware of the cultural context you’re in.”
The SIM program at St Gallen brings together around 30 nationalities, giving students the opportunity to network with people from very different backgrounds.
For Morten, this diverse classroom experience has been useful. He has learned to work alongside people with different preconceptions, he says.
Equally important has been the SIM program’s emphasis on social impact.
“During the SIM course, students participate in the ‘SIMagination challenge' course, planning and executing a social impact project. Morten feels that he can draw from this experience today.
In Zambia, his firm hopes to impact the national economy by creating jobs and fostering economic inclusion.
“It’s a very interesting place to be,” he reflects, “It’s fun to see how the private sector and the development sector are working together here.”
When his time in Zambia is over, Morten, Like Elsa, plans to begin his career by applying for consulting positions.
“Who knows about the future,” he says, “I’ll take it as it comes.”
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