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Francesco Speciale continues on the Swedish job market after graduation


Francesco Speciale Francesco Speciale comes from Messina, a mid-size city in Sicily in the south of Italy. He has graduated from the Master programme in Innovation and Industrial Management as part of a double degree programme between LUISS University in Rome and the University of Gothenburg. The double degree programme is structured so that the student studies one year in each country. Francesco spent the first year of the Master programme in Italy and the second year in Sweden. Then he graduated first in Gothenburg (June 2016) and secondly in Rome (July 2016).

After having graduated Francesco started working at Volvo Cars Corp in Gothenburg, where he began the Global Graduate Programme at the end of August. The purpose of the Global Graduate Programme is to globally recruit and develop top talents with the potential to become leaders who can drive Volvo Cars’ success in the future. It gives great opportunities to develop leading and working skills throughout the course of 18 months fast track programme including functional and international rotations. Francesco will work across Volvo Cars’ business and receive an extensive insight to the company culture and values. His first and “home” rotation is in the Product Definition department where he together with the team will shape Volvo’s product attributes and concepts for the upcoming years.

- This Global Graduate Programme is a great opportunity to learn and improve fast. By doing functional rotations, I have the chance to learn new things every day, but most importantly to develop new skills which can be useful at the end of this experience. At this stage of my life I feel like a sponge, I take in everything that is taught to me, and that’s how it should be at the beginning. It’s a “learning by doing” process, says Francesco.

During the Master programme Francesco has been involved in several group projects which helped him to better understand how leadership is intended in Sweden. The concept of leadership in a Swedish organization isn’t about leading (on its own definition), but it’s about listening, involving and respecting. This was really useful when it came to the assessment day during the selection process. Francesco also had the chance to write his Master Thesis in a small company in Gothenburg, which gave him a lot of credits when it came to job applications.

Why did you choose the Innovation and Industrial Management programme?

My Bachelor thesis analysed the Equity Crowdfunding financing process for tech start-up, so there I realized that innovation isn’t just an abstract concept, but rather a complex field for business management. Especially, I learnt how much strong and deep relationship there’s between innovation and organizational processes. My high interest in this topic made me apply for this programme. In Sweden I also had the opportunity to touch upon all these subjects in a very practical manner including group projects and business cases. Last but not least, I believe innovation is at the core of every organization, especially in today’s ever-changing business scenarios. Innovation makes company activities more efficient in the process of value creation.

What did you like the most about your programme and the school?

Since the very first beginning, I have noticed the friendly approach demonstrated by each professor. They were definitely caring about students’ growth lecture by lecture. They asked for constant feedback on classes and presentations, but on the other side they requested a strong participation during classes. This made it more motivating and demanding at the same time.

In addition, the programme itself was mainly based on group works and business cases, rather than ordinary lectures. Hence, I had the opportunity to test myself into multicultural group dynamics as well as to practically learn about leadership. Another great aspect of the programme was the importance placed on critics and feedbacks useful for both professors and students. During the exam tests we were always asked to make our own statement about a business case (for example), and more specifically to implement what we had learnt from lectures and group works during the course on specific business cases. This eventually finds a real application in the future job career, when we need to keep an analytical and critical mindset at work.

What makes Gothenburg and Sweden a great place to study?

I would just answer to "what makes Gothenburg and Sweden great places” because Sweden it’s not just a wonderful place to study. From all different angles you see Sweden; it’s just beautiful - even when it gets darker.

It’s a place where more than 60% of the country is occupied by forests and lakes. Even when you walk around Gothenburg or Stockholm, and especially in Lapland (must go place), you are surrounded by green areas and huge parks. Environmental thinking and sustainability are a part of all aspects of life here, including education. Studying here will give you the chance to draw on Sweden’s deep environmental experience and apply its sustainable approach to your own chosen field. And it’s not hard to see why Swedes are so keen to protect the environment: nature here is breathtaking, with huge forests, beautiful beaches and snow-capped mountains.

Francesco Speciale på cykelSweden is very welcoming and open to people from other countries and cultures. During my year spent in Gothenburg I met people from all over the world and every time it was really interesting having a chat with them to learn their traditions and ways of behaving. Hence Sweden society is recognized as being very multicultural where inclusiveness and equality stand as core values. The belief that everyone is of equal value contributes to Sweden’s consensus approach (you will hear a lot about that) to getting things done, where everyone takes part in the decision-making process. During your studies, you’ll learn how to balance different interests, needs and ideas to bring out the best in everyone and solve complex issues as a team – vital skills for your global career, where teamwork across cultures is the norm.

Do you have any tips for future students?

I will just say three imperatives which you have to bear in mind throughout your whole experience in Sweden: Learn, discover, enjoy.