Read about SwedChams scholar Elias Johanssons highlights and insights from his year as an intern at the Swedish Chamber in Hong Kong. Elias stay in Hong Kong has been made possible thanks to a stipend from the Scholarship Fund For Swedish Youth Abroad awarded to a Swedish graduate. During the year Elias has been working with marketing, communications, events as well as spearheadeding some larger SwedCham projects.
What are the greatest memories from your time here in Hong Kong?
Jobwise, being an integral part of producing the Business Climate Survey (BCS) 2022 is one of my greatest memories from the past year. The BCS in itself was such a big project, that I started working with while still in my 21-day arrival quarantine. Being a part of the project team gave me firsthand insight into the business climate in Hong Kong at large as well as valuable knowledge on how companies tackled the pandemic - which in turn gave me perspective on the Hong Kong (and the southeast Asian) market and what the future might hold. While I will never forget the excellent teamwork with the Consulate, Business Sweden and the Chamber together with Carrie Chan and Kim Ekdahl du Rietz, my greatest memory is when Carrie and I got the opportunity to present the findings to a selected group of prominent business leaders at a breakfast meeting. I will not forget that morning with the vibrant discussion that followed our presentation at the unique and lovely venue Ocean Table.
Another great personal memory is when I hiked the Peak via the Morning Trail and had breakfast at sunrise overlooking the Hong Kong skyline. That view is hard, if even possible, to beat.
What have you learned from the internship? In what ways have you developed?
Wow these types of questions are so deep, and I could probably talk forever about personal development, but I’ll try to keep my answer concise and direct.
First of all, the work that I’ve been doing is mainly marketing and events, with the exception of some special projects (such as the BCS). While working with marketing and communication at the Chamber, I believe I’ve developed an ability to be more precise in my writing. A key takeaway is what our general manager Gabriella told me early on during the year; “When it comes to communication, if you write long and complicated texts you most probably are not one hundred procent confident in the topic and it will be harder to understand what you want to convey whereas if you know the materia you can make your texts short and precise and more accessible to the readers”. That is something that I will bring with me for future challenges, both in my professional life as well as in my private life.
By working with events and a few special projects, I would say that I’ve learned more about project management and teamwork. Arranging an event is in a way similar to managing a project, you have to keep track of what needs to be done, who needs to do what, create a timeline, review/evaluate the progress continuously, and the list just goes on. Even though I previously arranged some events for my student union in Sweden, this is a different ballgame. At the Chamber I have been given more responsibility than I had in the past, which has helped me develop my leadership skills as well. The special projects that I have been part of helped me develop my ability to work in cross-organizational teams, which is a great skill that will help me in my career.
Another important thing to mention is that since the Chamber is a very small team of only 4 people, you get responsibilities and deliverables that you might not get while doing an internship in a large corporation. This in turn enables for a steep learning curve where you are learning by doing rather than by observing. I can highly recommend the internship for people who are curious about the Hong Kong market and who wants to get to know representatives of Swedish companies present in the area while practicing things you learnt during your academic studies. And on top of that its a very energetic and fun environment!
What will you do next? What does your plan for the future look like?
I’m continuing my studies towards an MBA at Peking University in Mainland China. But that’s not all, I have a lot of other exciting plans in my schedule for 2023… In a few weeks I’ll go skiing, which is what I enjoy the most during wintertime. During the summer I will hopefully be back in Hong Kong if I can find a summer internship (still applying for that if any of our member companies need an intern 😉). Then to finish 2023 off in style I will ride a tuk-tuk from the south of India to the Himalayas in a race called Rickshaw Run, something I’m both excited and frightened about…