From Stockholm to Silicon Valley: 'This was an absolute blast'

The Local has been following the journeys of students on the Executive MBA degree at Stockholm School of Economics, one of the world’s best business schools.

Published: Tue 29 Oct 2019 05:00 CEST
From Stockholm to Silicon Valley: 'This was an absolute blast'
Photo: Juan Colmenares and his fellow SSE MBA course mates
This time, SSE MBA student Juan Colmenares shares his diary following the week-long study trip to Silicon Valley. Find out what it's like to be an MBA student at Stockholm School of Economics and decide whether the rigorous degree will help you take the next step in your career.


Juan Colmenares, Senior Field Application Engineer at Infineon Technologies


Juan is originally from Venezuela. He moved to Sweden as an exchange student in 2010

‘Most days were extremely packed, with a schedule from 9am to 9pm. Some days we were having lunch while working, making it really tiring. However, this was an absolute blast. Stanford is the perfect place to close our value creation module and the perspective we have received are unique.’


Day One


Our first day in the Silicon Valley, started as usual with a group activity in order to reflect the outcomes and takeaways from our previous week. Only this time we were located in the wonderful campus of Stanford in Palo Alto. In the morning, our course in international marketing started, where we focused in topics such as market research and the current consequences of social media. After lunch, we had a visiting lecturer that touched in topics such as storytelling, how to be persuasive telling the truth, and how to approach innovation by maintaining purpose at the core. During the afternoon, we visited the technology center called Plug and Play, where companies such as Dropbox and PayPal started. Finally, the day finished sharing between our colleagues visiting the Fogarty Winery.


Day Two


The second day started with the course of strategic management. Topics such as business models, and competitive advantages were deeply discussed. During lunch, we received a guest speaker that talked about fear, how to tackle it by being graceful and using it as motivation. After lunch, we continued with the course of strategic management, now putting into practice the theory by analyzing a real firm case. The day was completed with a marketing panel discussion in cooperation with the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce with entrepreneurs. The main theme being: Why go to SV? How networking is about learning from each other.


Day Three


We continue with strategic management during the morning of the third day. In this case, we cover questions such as how to formulate strategy? And how communication is key. Based on our discussions, we proceeded to analyze another real firm case. It is always interesting to hear the different points of view not only from the professor but also from all the colleagues. After lunch, we received a guest lecturer from Stanford, where we discussed how the Silicon Valley emerged as an innovation hub and which ingredients and process catalyzed it. Moreover, we also argued on where do novel idea come from? During the evening, we divided ourselves into our working groups and started working on our projects.




Day Four


Our fourth day, my favorite, started with a workshop on how to execute your strategy. We discussed the importance of not only doing the project right but also doing the right projects. Likewise, how strategy should fit culture, structure, goals and metrics so as to be more successful. During the afternoon we had the opportunity to visit a company of our choosing. In my case together with some colleagues, we visited the Ericsson D-15 Labs team. In there, we were shown a glimpsed into the innovation potential through Ericsson’s 5G platform. It is a state-of-the-art campus in the center of Silicon Valley, where Ericsson collaborates with its partners. At the end of the day, we went for an American Football game where Stanford was facing UCLA. It was the perfect environment to start relaxing and face the last day of the week. 


Day Five


During our last day we share a received feedback from our peers of the course regarding our Marketing project. This was actually very interesting since the feedback from our peers always gave a different perspective one is not typically considering. Also, we received a visit from the Silicon Valley Bank that gave us a corporate overview about the VC relationships. Finally, we also received a personal perspective from An SSE EMBA Alumna, whom is currently located in the SV. Her point of view is really valuable for people considering moving to SV like myself. On the other hand, during this day I had the pleasing opportunity to expand my own technical network by sharing my research with the power electronics group in Stanford.

This content was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Stockholm School of Economics.


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