Ask Diana questions about KTH and read more about her decision to study at KTH, thoughts about Sweden, advice to prospective students and her plans for the future.
Hi, my name is Diana. I have dual citizenship, both Brazilian and German, and I am 28 years old. I am a master’s student at KTH in Real Estate and Construction Management but I originally graduated as an architect at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. I like running long distances and I am now committed to learning a new language: Swedish!
Why did you choose this master’s programme at KTH?
After my graduation at the architecture school, I had the opportunity to work more closely in the execution of projects I had been working on early in the design phase. This gave me the chance to realise I was more interested in project management processes than design. However, stepping into such a complex business world was also a challenge for me. I gained some experience but this master’s programme was perfectly suited to what I was looking for, not only for its broad coverage of the skills I was lacking but also how its approach to Real Estate would add to my learning process.
What are the best aspects of your programme?
To start with, the fact that the programme is RICS accredited is an important aspect to be considered when considering the high standards of quality education. Besides this, I personally think that guest lectures from prestigious companies are an excellent way of complementing the theoretical approach, giving us the opportunity to broaden our network and deal with real-life cases. Also, the multi-cultural background of students from all over the world and the opportunity to work in a group for most of the time provide really rich discussions with different perspectives and experiences.
Have you chosen a specialisation track within the programme? If Yes, which track and why?
The Real Estate and Construction Management programme offers three main tracks: Construction Project Management, Building and Real Estate Economics and Real Estate Development and Land Law (which is taught in Swedish). So, considering the first two options, my specialisation profile is more focused on Construction Project Management. It was always my main target when I first started due to my background preferences, but I am happy to say that since the programme is considerably flexible, I can also take advantage of some of the other track courses. There are some really interesting courses on the economics track that are really suitable for my studies.
What are your favourite courses thus far?
As an architect, I would be inclined to say that Project Development, Architectural Concepts and Building Informatics Logistics were my favourite thus far. But ironically, the courses I liked the most were the ones that had no direct connection to what I have previously studied and consequently were the courses that were more challenging. For instance, Advanced Valuation and Real Estate Market Analysis. These courses cover aspects of general economic that were unusual and gave me new knowledge in this field.
How do studies at KTH differ from your previous studies?
Studies at KTH are really positively influenced by the energetic atmosphere on the campus. There are plenty of different places to study – from quiet places to more vibrant places – so you can easily grab a cup of coffee and comfortably spend as much time as you want on your studies. It is an atmosphere that makes you feel welcomed and encouraged to get along – with your books, computer or in group meetings. Likewise, the time designated for self and group studies is very important. So, in comparison to my previous studies, the time can be better managed between classes and self-study hours.
In practical terms, the school calendar is completely different. This is something that I also experienced when I studied in the UK for a year during my graduation. Having a long, sunny break in the middle of the year is something else. And I personally love how the summer arrives after a usually cold and dark winter.
How is student life in Stockholm?
Stockholm is an absolutely beautiful and well-organised city. As an important capital, it is very international: there are many students, tourists and expatriates, so the first impression is that basically everyone speaks really good English and communication is not an issue. It is certainly not the cheapest city in which to live on a student budget. However, there are some really good student discounts offered by the public transport system, as well as basic essentials for living.
Walking around is the best way to discover the city, and there are lots of activities in which to engage and socialise. I can say Swedish life passes through different phases through the year. Winter can be hard if you’re not used to the cold and that is why making good friends when you are far from your family is extremely important.
How would you describe your time at KTH so far?
It has been an incredible experience. My first time on the KTH campus was in 2013 when my brother was a student here. I was impressed and could picture myself studying and living in Stockholm. And now here I am, some years later. I have met some really interesting people, made good friends, had a lot of fikas, contacted some large companies through the university fairs and have had a really great time.
What do you want to do after graduating?
My initial plan is to stay in Sweden and work in the construction management field. This is why I’m really focused on learning Swedish now and widening my network here. I would really like to combine my thesis with a company; that would be my ideal goal. My intention is to gain more experience and then work in a more global market.
What would you like to say to students thinking of choosing KTH for their master’s studies?
I know everyone has a unique story to tell and faces different challenges to achieving their goals. I personally had to make a difficult choice in my professional life and leave my beloved home country to be here. Sometimes we just need to make decisions to reach higher objectives, and I have no regrets about coming to Sweden and choosing KTH. If you are in doubt or if you need further information, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll be more than happy to share my experience with you and hopefully grab a coffee.