Abraham works with developing new products at Sweden’s leading telecommunications operator
Abraham Setiawan graduated from the master’s programme in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management in 2015. He now works as a Product Development Manager and Innovation Coach at Telia in Stockholm.
Hi Abraham, what have you been doing since leaving KTH?
I currently work at Telia, the leading telecommunications operator in Sweden, as a Product Development Manager and Innovation Coach. In my role as Product Development Manager, I work with generating new ideas and bringing them into concrete concepts, and conducting prototypes and proof of concept with our customers. I have been working in different areas such as Virtual Reality, Smart Identity, Cloud Gaming, but now I’m spending most of my time in the Drones area. Many people only think of mobile phones and broadband when they think about Telia, but it’s actually much more than that and I’m very grateful to be able to work in these areas. Furthermore, in my capacity as Innovation Coach, I spread the knowledge and tools for an agile way of working through workshops and events throughout the company. When I combine these two roles, I apply agile methodology to customer workshops to develop customer-driven innovation.
What can a regular day look like at your job?
My day varies a lot so I can’t really say that there is a regular day. On some days I have customer and internal meetings, other days I facilitate workshops, and the rest of the time I work at my desk creating business cases. It varies a lot depending on which phase I’m currently on.
Have you worked with anything else since you graduated?
After I graduated, I was accepted at Telia as a DareTrainee, which is Telia’s Management Trainee programme. I spent about a year in the Strategy team before switching to my current role. The projects I was involved in were mostly in business development, innovation and merger and acquisition.
Moreover, I also spent some time volunteering in IT For Children, a Swedish NGO operating in Ghana providing IT education for children. As an Engagement Strategist, I find the network and events where we can increase our visibility that leads to more donors and partners. It’s an amazing feeling to see new opportunities open up for these children and their IT skills.
Finally, I’m also a KTH Alumni Advisory Board member. As a board member, we strive to make KTH even better and discuss how we can get more alumni involvement. We also select KTH Alumni of the Year as well as the projects that will be funded by the KTH Opportunities Funds. It’s great to be able to give back to my alma mater, especially because I have received so much from KTH.
Why did you choose this programme at KTH?
I studied Information Technology for my bachelor’s degree back in Indonesia. During my study period, I realized that I didn’t want to become a programmer but rather wanted to work in the business and innovation part of the tech sector. When I was planning to pursue my master’s, I was actually planning to go to the UK, but my aunt told me about the Nordic countries having a great quality of life and education. I started my research and decided that I wanted to apply to the Nordic universities, with KTH being my top choice. KTH is one of the best technical universities in the world and Stockholm is one of the best places in the world if you want to work with start-ups, second only to Silicon Valley. I never regretted my decision to study at KTH.
Are there any specific insights from your studies that have been useful in your career?
Yes, much of the knowledge I gained at KTH is very applicable in my daily work, especially from the Ideation and Business Model Innovation courses. Many people were pleased when I introduced the agile tools and way-of-working in the meetings.
What were the best aspects of your studies at KTH?
Apart from the amazing classmates that I had, I think the best aspect was the opportunities that came with it. KTH is part of Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship (SSES) and some courses are actually taught there. Moreover, SSES has many workshops, courses, and events that students can apply for, and most of them are free. KTH is also located in vibrant Stockholm with so many activities happening all year round. It was definitely a packed year.
What is your best memory from your time at the university?
I became a student blogger for KTH and was sponsored to attend the International Student Festival in Trondheim (ISFiT) in 2015 for two weeks. Furthermore, I was a committee member for the Student Nobel NightCap, an afterparty for the Nobel laureates that is very exclusive. I was assigned to manage the sound and lighting for the two main dance floors, and I was happy to see the guests having a good time.
What are your plans for the future?
For now, I’m enjoying my daily routines and the challenges I get to work with. I don’t know what opportunities lies ahead in the future, but whatever it is, I look forward to that. Who knows? Perhaps one day I get to run my own business.
What would you say to a student thinking of applying for this programme?
I’m not going to sugar coat it - it’s going to be a hectic year. But, if you put in a lot of effort, you’re going to receive a lot in return. KTH is a great university and Stockholm is a very nice place to live in (with necessary preparations, of course). Good luck on your application and enjoy the journey!