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Sophie Lam left her marketing career in Ho Chi Minh City for a Entrepreneurship programme in Gothenburg

When presented with the options of either staying in her professional marketing career or studying abroad in Sweden, Sophie Lam did not hesitate to choose the latter. She is now pursuing a Master’s Science in Knowledge-based Entrepreneurship at the University of Gothenburg to further her new-found interests in start-ups and education.

Why did you choose to study in Gothenburg?

I was searching for programmes related to entrepreneurship and innovation, which not many universities offer. I was also researching about Sweden, and I felt like Sweden was not a region that I interacted much with in my professional life earlier, but I had quite good impressions when I went to the educational fair that Sweden organized in Ho Chi Minh City. Because I was working as a marketing professional, I was not comfortable with seeing universities trying to compete in the rankings. However, this was not what I experienced in the fair. I was impressed by how humble they were. The Swedish people there advised me to think about the place I wanted to study and live in Sweden, because the quality is quite equal across Swedish universities. The good impressions I got from the fair about equality, quality, and the humble ways of the Swedish people, plus my interest in the programme, made me decide to come to Gothenburg.

Could you briefly explain what your program is about?

Our programme is focused on entrepreneurship and innovation, and that can be applied to either start-ups or well-established companies. Many people might think that they need to have some ideas about starting their own company in mind to join the program, but it is not a must. The programme is also for people who want to be the game changers, to bring new innovations and launch them successfully in well established companies.

What do you like about your program?

The class size is quite small, which makes it easier to get along with my classmates. The programme is also well-structured, and the teachers always try to design the assignments to help you apply learned theories on a project basis through groupwork. I am currently working with real projects with the support of senior teachers, advisors, and GU Ventures. This is something I had expected before starting the programme. I am also impressed by the hard work of our teachers, especially our programme coordinator who really pays attention to our opinions and suggestions even though he is very busy. Finally, studying in this programme has taught me a lot about sustainability, which was not something I thought much about before. I feel that sustainable development and sustainability awareness are being injected across our learning from different companies and from the way that Sweden works to contribute to the sustainability of society.

What do you think of Gothenburg’s entrepreneur environment?

I think there is a big community for start-ups in Sweden in general. I have participated in several events where you could come to meet start-up associations and get advice about the procedure to form a company in Sweden, as well as feedback on your business ideas. There are also some ventures interested in supporting good ideas from the very early phase, not only when you start to call for investors, but also when you need to validate your own ideas. There are many activities, but it requires you to be active. Gothenburg itself is located in a position that offers you a lot of opportunities for the marine industry, Medtech, and technology, especially the application of AI technology and machine learning, from what I have seen. The Swedish government also has a new policy to encourage entrepreneurship in the country, which is in line with what the European region is doing. 

What is your plan after graduation?

I hope to build a start-up in Sweden – an establishment that can stimulate international education. The mission behind this is to help students in underdeveloped and developing countries to have more chances to study in developed countries, such as Sweden or the Nordic region. I feel that Nordic countries might be too humble to advertise loudly about themselves, but I believe they have a unique approach to education. It would be a good opportunity for people who like the Nordic style to come, experience, and open their eyes to the world.

What do you enjoy doing in Gothenburg?

I like discovering the nature in Gothenburg, either alone or with my friend. For example, the Botanical Garden is a nice place to visit and work in on the weekend. Another must-do activity for me twice a week is going to the swimming pool and having a sauna after that. Doing a sauna is very typical in Sweden and I really enjoy that.

Written by Hannie, Student Content Team