Strive for Change

Learnings from my MBA-year

Alumnus Victor Norberg left his comfortable life in Stockholm to study at the Collège. He ended up living in a city where he basically knew no one, working and studying in a language that he is not comfortable with and travelling like a maniac across all of Europe. The result? An incredible experience! Here are some of his personal learnings from his MBA-year.

In January 2019, I left my comfortable life in Stockholm for “the continent”, as my grandma always used to say, to study an MBA at Collège des Ingénieurs together with amazing people from all over Europe. The year was going to be full of seminars in Paris, Munich and Turin with interesting and inspiring business-related topics from well-reputed professors and business representatives from France, Germany and Italy. On top of that, I ended up living in Hannover where I got the possibility to integrate sustainability deeper into the corporate strategy of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. All this implied living in a city where I basically knew no one working and sometimes studying in a language that I am not 100 % comfortable with, traveling like a maniac across all of Europe (of course as much as possible by train) and encountering endless situations of cultural clashes. This was an incredibly stressful life, which also involved lots of fun together with amazing people. Here are some of my personal key takeaways from this year:

 

#1 - Time to reflect

Looking back, what I experienced in 2019 was incredible, despite the stress. However, when you are in the midst of it, you somehow tend to forget what you are experiencing and what you actually can learn from it. Before I returned to my normal life back in Sweden again, I took a month off just with the purpose to set personal goals for the future, to process what I will take with me from 2019 as well as how these takeaways can help me reach those goals.

 

#2 - Perspectives

Wherever you are, you always tend to see your closest reality as the one and only reality. You always tend to forget that the world works in a completely different way in another place or in another context. To not be aware of those differences and other peoples’ perspectives can easily cause misunderstandings, conflicts and simultaneously lose great possibilities. What surprises me is the speed in which you tend to forget the perspectives that you just acquired. Therefore, I find it so important to take the time to reflect and ask myself: do I only see this from one perspective? Who can I ask to get a completely different view of it?

 

#3 – Stakeholders

You have different stakeholders that all have completely different perspectives and that you in one way or another are dependent on in order to succeed. In a hard way, I have learned that you must identify and truly understand the perspectives of these stakeholders before you can choose the right way of communication to deliver your message. What people say, what people mean and what the recipient understands are completely different things.

 

#4 – Strive for change together

Some people think it is always the top management that needs to make a change within a company, but I do definitely not agree with that anymore. I believe it is all about finding those individuals who share the same passion as you, manager or not. I have spent way too much time trying to convince people who do not want to be convinced. Especially during my year at Volkswagen, I identified so many people who genuinely shared the same passion and priorities as myself. I wished that I would have focused more on those great people already from the start and used that leverage to foster change together.

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