21st October 2020 – It is that time of the year again where students are busy applying to a number of best universities across the globe. I remember being occupied the whole season while I applied to more than 10 universities. The whole process was exhausting, considering that different universities required different kinds of documents and tests. It was overwhelming.
Fortunately, applying to Sweden was relatively simple and cost-efficient considering that we could apply to four different Swedish universities with the same application fee under the same portal. In this blog, I take you through my experience of applying to KTH.
CHAPTER 1 – THE PRELUDE
Two years into working as a Mechanical engineer in an international company, I felt the urge and need to pursue a Master’s program to specialize in a specific field. The professional experience exposed me to a wide range of domains and I figured out that I enjoyed a blend of management and engineering. I started looking for courses and universities that offered a mix of technical depth while having management related subjects included in it. The number of such courses where limited globally.
CHAPTER 2 – THE FIND
This is when I chanced upon Master’s in Innovation Management and Product Development course at KTH. I found this program to be matching my personal goals and the career that I would enjoy. I immediately started reading about student life and studies at KTH, Stockholm and Sweden. Since studying in Sweden cannot be considered any less than expensive, I was required to conduct a thorough research about it before making a decision. I called up few of my friends who were studying at KTH and flooded them with questions. I stalked (connected with) students on Linkedin and messaged them my queries. I mailed the student ambassador for the program and understood the offerings of the course. And now, I was ready to apply to the course.
CHAPTER 3 – THE SWEAT AND WORK
The next step was to apply. Usually, I found the application process to be energy and money draining. But I was happy when I found that the application procedure for Sweden can be done under a common portal i.e universityadmission.se and there is just one application fee. This relieved a lot of mental stress and I applied to four Swedish universities few days before the deadline.
CHAPTER 4 – THE END or THE NEW BEGINNING
4th April 2019 – I get a mail that I have been offered admissions at KTH and there would be a student ambassador who would guide me with the further process. There was also regular mailers and webinars that prepared us for the travel ahead. Finally on August 18th 2019, we land on the Sweden soil to begin a new adventure.
It was September 2019 when I saw a random poster that caught my attention among the hundreds of other advertisements in the THS student union building. It said something about a program to “bringing ideas to life”. I was aware of KTH Innovation and that was one of the reasons to apply to KTH. The poster was about KTH Innovation Preincubation Program – one-year structured support to students, researchers at KTH to develop ideas into startups. I was excited and had just four days left to send my application to KTH Innovation. There were two rounds of the selection process and I was happy that the application was brief and to straight to the point.
The idea finally made it to the pre-incubation program and I named my brainchild idea – PLabs. At PLabs, we engineer sustainable materials with high damping properties that can be readily plugged into any machine tool structure, converting them into high-speed monsters.
I remember the induction day when I met 14 other teams with amazing ideas and I realized that I belong here and the community including the staff, mentors, alumni, and teams together come together to create a nurturing environment for entrepreneurs. The journey started with weekly batch meetings where the teams are trained on developing their ideas, engaging customers, and various skills and knowledge needed to run a startup. We were also assigned a personal coach who mentored us for the last year with great insights, feedback and critical networks.
We were also supported with a legal counsel, coworking spaces, networking, funding. The energy in the coworking space was contagious.
Starting a company is associated with uncertainty and we have had our share of setbacks and breakthroughs. BUT
The experiential learning at KTH Innovation was much more than what the four walls in the academic classroom had to offer.
This week was the demo day which marks the graduation of the teams from the program. Every team got an opportunity to pitch their ideas and talk about their journey in front of a digital crowd of 300 people which included, investors, advisors, students and many others. I could see every team including PLabs come a long way from starting as a basic idea to creating prototypes, talking to key stakeholders, realizing the ideas won’t work and pivoting, getting inputs from other teams and mentors, feeling dejected, feeling elated, and finally reaching a stage where we are proud of the journey.
If you are interested in applying for the batch 12 of the preincubation program, do check out their website. If you have any questions, do comment in the section below.
The one question that I get asked more often is “If working part-time is possible at KTH or Stockholm?”. I would answer the question in this blog and take you through a number of opportunities that are available in Stockholm that can help you with balancing the living expenses here.
The resident permit allows students to work part-time with no limit on the number of hours. However, it is required that the students invest a minimum of 40 hours per week on studies. Other than this, there are no restrictions on the number of hours that you work. Although, it is pretty hard to find a student part-time job here that can cover your entire living costs. Sometimes, it would be important to be fluent in Swedish to be able to secure a part-time job. Here I make a list of such opportunities that students usually lookout for.
The is the best option for a student is to find a part-time job that is within their domain of study. This adds value to the resume too. There are various consulting companies that offer spring and fall internships. And other companies require extensive networking to land an internship.
There is a better opportunity to find yourself a summer job. A number of companies offer summer jobs over the months of June, July and August. These can be converted into part-time jobs based on your skills.
Teaching/ Research Assistant
Various departments at KTH offer RA/TA opportunities to students depending on the funding available. My department (Integrated product development) recruits at least one TA to overlook the course operations, collecting feedback from students and connecting students with alumni. A number of other departments offer research assistantships based on the projects running at the departments.
A lot of my friends and students work part-time as delivery operators. They pay around 140kr/hour which is the average of what is hourly paid in Sweden. Some of these jobs don’t demand Swedish and the working hours are flexible.
Babysitting/ Dog walking/ Tutoring
These are a few jobs that are away from the academic domains. Students enroll with the contracting companies who refer them to the clients. The jobs are flexible and paid hourly.
International Student Blogger/ Ambassador
Every year the KTH International relations office recruits student bloggers to handle the blogging site and Instagram account. Each department also recruits students ambassadors for the respective Master course. The role of the ambassadors is to attend to the questions of the prospective students who aspire to join KTH.
My final comment would be that since your purpose of Sweden is to study, it is important that you focus on the studies, assignments, and examinations. However, we also need to work on building professional networks during our time at KTH that can help us is in securing a job after graduation.
When I moved to Stockholm, apart from everything I was wondering how expensive would watching a movie in one of the theaters would be. I am a huge movie buff and would like to watch any good technical movie on the big screen and appreciate the storytelling, cinematography, background score and acting.
I was glad to know that I could continue watching movies with the same vigor in Stockholm too. Thanks to the free tickets issued by Karolinska Insititute (KI).
KI organizes a number of research studies that require volunteers as subjects. And as a payment, volunteers get free movie tickets that can be used in any Filmstaden theaters in Stockholm. Since then I have watched a great number of movies like Star Wars: The rise of skywalkers, Joker, Tenet, Radioactive and many more.
The theatres in Stockholm are under the banner of Filmstaden and you can book your tickets on their website. Some theaters have retained the old look architecture yet have new screens and audio systems. There are few theaters that are 500 seaters resembling a huge hall and few which are 8 seaters giving the feel of a private screening. The movies are run in English with Swedish subtitles.
I am happy that I can continue my movie streak in Stockholm too. Tell us in the comment section below which movie you are waiting for in 2020.
Cinnamon bun is synonymous with Swedish Fika. Every fika I have been part of always has a plate full of cinnamon buns along with coffee. The love for cinnamon bun has led to an annual secular holiday in Sweden on the 4th of October celebrated as Kanelbullens dag (Cinnamon bun/roll day).
History has it that in 1999, the Home Baking Council (Hembakningsrådet) marked the 4th October as cinnamon bun day on the occasion of its 40th anniversary. Although cinnamon isn’t a native of Sweden, it has found a new home here with statistics saying that an average Swede eats around 316 cinnamon buns a year.
I was fortunate to have witnessed the traditional making of the cinnamon bun and more fortunate to have eaten it fresh out of the oven during the Christmas market at Skansen. It was one of the best cinnamon buns I have ever tasted! There are few bakeries around KTH such as Mr. Cake which I would recommend you to try out.
This being said, Cinnamon bun is available throughout the year. Watch out for more such interesting traditional days in Sweden dedicated to food such as Semla day (Fettisdagen) on 16th February, 25th of March as waffles day (Våffledagen), and many more.
Previously, more than hundreds of students who aspired to join KTH would show up on the campus for a guided tour. They would be taken around campus with a tour of different schools at KTH, the library, KTH accommodation facilities, laboratories, and the Student Union house. KTH students would share their personal experiences about life in Stockholm and at KTH. The tour would expose aspiring students a glimpse of everyday life on campus.
But with strict COVID restrictions, conducting such a tour might be difficult. Well… Not really! We did not want aspiring students to miss out on getting to know our campus better. Because we are proud of it! 😀
Aspiring students will be able to experience KTH through the new virtual campus tour. The virtual tour takes you through the KTH campus introducing you to student life at KTH, studies at KTH, five different schools and various student accommodation facilities spread across Stockholm city.
You start the tour with KTH student, Nikolas, who shows you around the campus. Followed up by Celine who gives you a tour of the student life. Keep a watch on the various student organizations which you can be part of from sustainability to LGBTQ. Vijay gives you a glimpse of what it feels like to study and pursue a Master’s degree at KTH.
You will then drive through Stockholm to check out the accomodation in Sweden. You will get to experience Malvinas, Lappis, Kungshamra. You also have the option of virtually visiting the five schools of KTH which are Engineering sciences, Architecture and built environment, Industrial engineering and management, Engineering sciences in chemistry, biotechnology and health and finally Electrical engineering and computer science.
The tour finally concludes with walk around the campus with information about possible opportunities after graduating from KTH.
Check out this new virtual tour and let us know your views in the comments below.