This week we had the most talked about event at KTH, The Armada! THS Armada is Scandinavia’s largest career fair organized by the student union of KTH, Tekniska Högskolans Studentkår. This 2-day career festival brings together 171 companies at one place and attracts about 12000 students every year from across Sweden.
A unique opportunity for students to interact with the companies regarding their summer jobs, internships, master thesis, part-time jobs and even full-time jobs after graduation. I wanted to write about Armada earlier but I decided to experience it in the first place. So, today, I’m going to be sharing my experience with you.
Know Your Companies
Coming from a different country, most of us do not know the companies that operate here in Sweden. I personally felt that Armada was an extremely good opportunity to get a list of all those companies that were of my interest.
For example, I study Electric Power Engineering, while my interests lie in electric vehicles. A simple google search would list out so many companies that belong to the power industry, but at Armada, I was able to meet those companies that were exclusively dealing with making something or the other for Electric vehicles in particular. I was able to know the details about their projects which helped me understand the company and also the opportunity for me in that company.
Apart from knowing the list, I also got to know how to apply to them, the deadlines and the entire process. Most of the companies had internship and summer job opportunities, while many had student training programmes where you can do your summer job, get guidance from a dedicated mentor, master thesis opportunity and also a possibility of ending up in a job. Such student programmes give you a long affiliation with the company, an opportunity to learn about them, their projects and work culture while still at school, makes things so much easier at the end.
The Networking Opportunity
As an Indian, I am used to the concept of the placement process, where the companies visit the university to hire people directly. But, things are way different in Sweden. It didn’t take me long to realize that Job hunts here mostly work on your networking skills. Of course, you can apply directly to the company’s career page but networking make things easy I would say because you get to understand how things roll in the company and can prepare yourself accordingly.
Such networking opportunities are not an everyday thing. It is only at career fairs like this you get to meet the representatives of the companies that present you with the opportunity to expand your contact list. With 171 companies in one place, Armada definitely gave me a good list of contacts.
I do feel that one must build on the contacts we get at Armada. In a student’s perspective, it was 171 companies in 2 days but for them, it was 12000 students in 2 days. So it is important as to how we take things forward.
While networking and job hunt is on one side, freebie hunt is definitely another good reason to be at Armada. There was an eternal supply of candies throughout the time! 😄 😋 Not to mention pens. I collected pens that would go for the entire year! Did I tell you about the pen drives and power banks? Yes, they also gave away such tech goodies! Notebooks, notepads, reflectors, t-shirts, highlighters, water bottles and even toothbrushes!
I was at Armada only for 3 hours because of my clashing schedule and those three hours were truly significant. I would recommend everyone to visit each company’s stall to at least know what they are doing and to find if there would be anything relevant to your area of interest. You never know until you talk to them! But, if you know that it is not your place, don’t be there just for the goodies, instead use the time to network with relevant companies and give the space to some other student who would benefit. This was something I saw across Armada that students would flock around the stall just to play games and win goodies which meant one opportunity less for someone else. Such small acts can make a big difference.
Armada wasn’t only about the career fair. There were many more events that were immensely useful to students searching for summer jobs or full-time jobs, like Armada talks, lunch lectures, where representatives gave an hour presentation about their company, internship pitches, a banquet night, Armada innovation night and even Armada run. Such events undoubtedly open doors to a great beginning.
Sweden is a land of opportunities. And, KTH will make sure you have all the opportunity right on the campus premises. It will be wise to make use of them the best. I met students at Armada who had come all the way from Gothenburg and Uppsala, and that is how much Armada is being valued. I hope you made the best out of Armada. If you didn’t, don’t worry, there is another one coming up next year! Now, I’m feeling very positive about the job prospects in Sweden, I hope you do too.
Wish you the best!