Åsa Löfgren and Carl Hammer.
Åsa Löfgren is researcher in economics and Carl Hammer is Head of Macro & FICC Research at SEB. They both participate in the Executive Faculty programme, where experienced professionals from the School’s Senior Partners are matched with researchers from the School.
Photo: Gustav Haglund

Interaction for development and exchange


A larger network, new perspectives and not least a new acquaintances. Through the Executive Faculty programme, Åsa Löfgren and Carl Hammer, who work in two completely different sectors, have created collaborations that are enriching on several levels.

Åsa Löfgren and Carl Hammer work in two quite different worlds. Despite that, they have been meeting about once a month for the past year. They both participate in the Executive Faculty at the School of Business, Economics and Law, where experienced professionals from the School’s Senior Partners are matched with researchers from the School. The aim is to create professional exchange, development and long-term relationships. The format of the meetings is flexible and the people who participate decide for themselves how and when they will see each other.

— We mostly spent the first meetings trying to find out what we are interested in talking about. For example, I come from microeconomics, while Carl works with macroeconomics. It has been interesting to talk to someone who has a different perspective, says Åsa, who is Associate Professor at the Department of Economics.

— For me, it has felt very luxurious to delve into bigger issues. Usually, I sit in an environment where I have to focus on many different tasks at once, continues Carl, who is Head of Macro & FICC Research at SEB.

Saw potential in collaborations
Carl's work is largely about producing various types of financial forecasts, which are provided to the bank's customers. Climate and sustainability are one of the big issues that in the long run will permeate basically everything the bank does, Carl says. When he got the opportunity to join the Executive Faculty, his wish was therefore to be matched with a researcher who works specifically with climate-related issues. Among other things, Åsa conducts research on policy instruments that create incentives for companies to switch to green technology, and works in several research programmes with a focus on climate change.

— At the beginning, I thought that we might not have much in common, professionally. But along the way, we have discovered that we have many similar tasks and areas of interest, she says.

They soon discovered that there was great potential benefit in creating platforms for dialogue between academia and the bank. Relatively quickly, they therefore brought together researchers from the research programmes that Åsa is involved in, with employees at Carl's research unit for discussions and knowledge exchange. They also invited each other to seminars and events.

Over time, the collaboration has deepened and the opportunity to establish contacts and contribute to each other's activities has continued to increase. For example, Åsa has had the opportunity to provide training for employees at SEB about Swedish climate policy and carbon dioxide pricing, and has also presented the outcome of the climate summit COP26 in Glasgow. Carl is, since recently, one of the members of the Corporate Advisory Board for the Master’s Programme in Economics, and his experiences of what the labor market demands of new graduates have been useful to the School.

Has provided information on methods and issues
In addition to that type of exchange, they have continued the in-depth conversation. A recurring theme has been the financing of climate investments.

— We have started writing an article on the subject, where we combine our knowledge and learn from each other. We don't really know what it will lead to yet, maybe it will be a debate article, says Carl and continues:

— For me, who works at the research department at SEB, it is enriching to get a contact into the world of scientific research. It has given me access to methods as well as processes and ideas.

Åsa also places great value on the conversations. She has recently started a number of projects with a focus on the financial sector and thinks that the big challenge is to ask the right questions. Carl is a valuable sounding board and a knowledge resource.

— It is very useful to meet someone who can give an insight into what the reality in my research area actually looks like. In this way, the programme is a fantastic opportunity, she says.

They have also had a lot of fun along the way.

- We see no reason why the conversation should end just because the programme does, concludes Carl.

Text: Maria Bard

About Executive Faculty

The Executive Faculty is part of the School of Business, Economics and Law’s Partner Programme. A selected person working for a Senior Partner is matched with a researcher at the School for 18 months.

Together with their chosen partner, the participants create a plan that should be developmental, fun and mutually beneficial. The process is facilitated by a certified coach assisting the couple in setting common goals.

Each cohort consists of up to eight pairs. A total of up to 70 people from various industries and disciplines have joined the network since its inception in 2010. Programme Manager is Mette Anthonsen, PhD, coach (PCC),