In November 1984 the first eee-days were held. The committee realised, though, that it would suit better to host the fair in the spring instead so they arranged the next fair just a couple of months later, in February 1985 and every since it’s been held at that time of the year. Since EC wasn’t built until 1988 the fair was held in AF-borgen the first years. This I learned by my father when I asked him if he perhaps had participated in the fair as a company representative since he until recently worked at one of the big accounting firms. He didn’t answer my question but asked me instead, if I even knew what eee stood for and then explained before I even had the chance to reply. eee, he said, stands for Efsilekonomernas ekonomidagar which is translated as “the economy days of the economists of Efsil” (Efsil was one of the precursors of LundaEkonomerna). He also told me that he actually was very active within eee. At first in 1986, he was a staffer. Then, the next year, he was one of the members in the eee-committee and the third year he attended the fair in the position of a student looking for a job.
1987, my father was one of six members in the committee. Today the committee alone consists of fifteen. For their help they have a task force team of seventeen people. And for their help, eee2017 has recruited 159 staffers. In the top of all these people stands Jonna Lindell, the project leader, and Nico Huovilainen, the vice project leader. After what feels like one hundred emails back and forth, we finally found a time that suited us all for a cop of coffee (or coffeee, as they have marked their coffee at Skånis).
So now I sit here, with the radar pair (you basically never see one of them without the other one). Jonna’s voice is pretty much non-existing after the preeeparty in the weekend.
How are you guys doing?
Nico: I’m fine. It’s Monday morning so things couldn’t be better, right? New week, new possibilities. And also, it’s barely three weeks left!
Jonna: Yeah, we’re very satisfied after the preeeparty. It really feels as if everybody is one big unit.
Nico: I agree, there’s lots of positive energy from all ways. Everyone who is involved is ready for the fair.
Good to hear! When did you start preparing for eee2017?
Jonna: We got elected in the end of March last year. First we celebrated but then we got started right away. In the beginning it was mostly transitioning and budgets. We had to round off contacts and then reload. Then in September we recruited 13 people for the committee, and it’s been full speed ever since. One month later, in October, we recruited the task force of 17 making us a total of 32 people. We have, though, put a lot of effort in reducing the “hierarchy” within the project.
Nico: Making everyone feel equally included makes a lot of difference as it increases everyones dedication.
Did you know each other from before?
Nico: Yes, we worked together in the committee last year, eee2016. Jonna was events coordinator and I was communications coordinator. We complement each other very well since we’re very different but also alike.
Which were you goals and ambitions from the start? And how long have you come in achieving them?
Jonna: We wanted to develop the project since we’re under a lot of competition. It’s a lot of hard work to get the companies here so we needed to stand out. We’ve for example put much effort in making strategic choices that will ease the work for coming committees.
Nico: It’s not only about getting the companies here, but also making them want to come back. We have put much effort in creating relationships and not just selling.
Jonna: We have also been working a lot on sustainability to which there has been little focus before. Fairs are in general very environmentally unfriendly. But this year we have staffers working on collecting data concerning sustainability so we know what we can improve, and the goal is to make this position bigger in the future. And for example, the 500 lunches we serve are vegetarian this year.
Nico: Yeah, there has not been much focus on it earlier but now you notice that you actually can make a difference, and that feels great.
Jonna: We are also happy to have a sustainable approach to gender equality, we have been working extra hard to get inspiring female speakers to fair this year since that has been a challenge previous years.
“This year we actually have more female speakers than male speakers!”
Wow, that’s cool! What else makes eee2017 different from previous years?
Jonna: Apart from the sustainability-focus we have implemented a new IT-system, which makes it easier for communication and the companies to process information. It’ll make us more competitive in the long term, and is also a part of or process of creating relationships with the companies.
And what makes eee different from fairs at other big business schools?
Jonna: Above all, it’s that the union, LundaEkonomerna, stands behind the fair. And we are one of the best student unions in Sweden. The companies say that it’s the service and the outgoing students that make them want to return. Some fairs, for instance the one at CBS, are built buy the schools, but in our case it’s visible that it’s student-built which indicates the very important engagement in the union. We also have the coolest ending, Pytten with 450 sitting guests.
Nico: Also, our different concepts, eeeConnect for instance, distinguish us from others. It gives the companies more than just a stand location at the fair!
The theme for eee2017 is breaking barriers. What is the intention behind it?
Nico: Well, it’s always a bit struggles with themes and what they’re supposed to mean. From the beginning, we’ve been thinking much about the purpose of the fair: having the companies coming here and get as much as possible from the students and vice versa, and how we can help with that. But we cannot do everything, which means that whoever you are, you must dare to take for yourself.
Jonna: You can see it as a handoff to both the companies and the students. eee works to build a platform between the students and the companies:
“We have done our job, now it’s up to you! You’ve got every possibility to get out of your comfort zone.”
What are been your biggest concerns considering the fair?
Jonna: Many students come to us and say that they’re afraid that the fair isn’t anything “for me”. That is definitely not true.
Nico: I think it’s about confidence. People know they are good but don’t think they are good compared to others. We need to make the students trust themselves.
Jonna: Our motto for the year is a bit of a cliché but still true: “two days, countless opportunities”. Our biggest fear is definitely that the students won’t take advantage of these opportunities. Our job isn’t that everyone is going to have internships and summer jobs after the fair, but people to have taken contact and gained inspiration. Otherwise it’s all in vain.
How can I, as a student, best prepare myself for the fair?
Nico: I would recommend eeeBoost, where we have CV-reviews, free haircuts, mock-interviews with PWC and SEB and the possibility to bounce ideas with other students.
Jonna: Besides that, you ought to check which companies who’re going to attend the fair and what things you are interested in. Read about the companies, then dare go to them and talk. Ask things like “What are you doing at this company?”, “Why are you working here?”. Don’t believe that they are going to chase you – you are the one that have to show interest.
Nico: But don’t be afraid of going to other companies as well. Perhaps they are as interesting for you. All the companies have something to offer in different ways.
“Don’t forget that it’s two completely unique fair-days with 30 new companies every day!”
What has, this far, been the best thing about being project leaders of eee2017?
Nico: It’s been very exiting. But the best thing I must say, with the risk of sounding like a total cliché, is personal development. I have learned so much from Jonna and the rest of the team.
Jonna: I see it from two sides. One is personal development as Nico said. But also, to follow people in their development, from day one until today. And their development is not because of Nico and me but of everybody’s engagement! Also, it’s fun to work with the long-term strategic decisions. And of course, it’s not just eee that is fun but also being part of our union.
How much time do you put each week? How does it affect school and other things?
Nico: We get this question a lot, it’s a pity we haven’t counted. So I can only tell approximately, but it’s almost full work-weeks.
Jonna: It’s definitely more than full-time. We have promised each other one evening off every week, though. But it’s hard since it’s so fun. Also, it’s difficult since you know everyone else is working and perhaps they have questions and need your help.
Nico’s girlfriend even caught him sleep talking about the fair.
Jonna: Above all, I have definitely had to lower my demands on myself regarding grades. Top priority is not getting As, it’s getting an A in the eee-project. But of course, it’s important that everyone can handle school and are feeling well.
Nico: I believe it’s about having to plan everything. You can’t do other things, like workout much and take weekend-trips. But this we knew from the beginning. eee is not work, it’s our leisure. You also know that you’ll have more time afterwards. Another thing is that you become way more efficient when you have a lot to do.
Jonna: The entire team is your family. You may miss some social activities but this is also a social activity.
How will it feel when you wake up the morning after Pytten?
Jonna: Totally amazing and very empty.
Nico: Very empty, indeed. But we have a lot of after work, which is good. I think I’ll feel empty in the morning but the real emptiness won’t come until a month after when realising that we won’t have weekly meetings and won’t see the personal development continue with everyone.
Jonna: I think that everyone will feel proud, satisfied and happy. Amazed but at the same time frightened of the emptiness. eee has been our life for two years now, basically since we started at LUSEM, so we haven’t done anything else.
Is there anything else you want to tell our readers?
Jonna: One thing! It’s important to note that we are not an isolated project but a part of LundaEkonomerna. We don’t just want to contribute with business opportunities, we also inspire people to engage within the union. If there is something that gives future opportunities, it’s being engaged in LundaEkonomerna.
Nico: And something that’s good with the fair, is that since it’s such a huge project, you can engage in all different levels, project leader, committee member, task force, staffer, hero for Sexmästeriet. All these possibilities make me happy!
Jonna: Many believe that you only get into the union if you know someone but that’s false. For example six people in the committee was studying their first semester when they were recruited. You get in if you want to achieve something. You have to dare and have the will.
Nico: LundaEkonomerna is of course not for everybody but we really encourage it. I don’t know what I would have done if I weren’t engaged. After all, this is what I will remember.
Thank you guys! I’m really looking forward to the fair (especially Pytten)!
What? The eee-days is the largest career fair for business, economics and IT-students in the Nordic region.
When? Feburary 22nd – 23rd 2017
What can I do?
eeeFair: 22nd and 23rd at EC with 75 participating companies.
eeeBoost: 16th. To boost the student’s opportunities to gain as much as possible from the fair.
eeeConnect: 22nd. The evening after the first day. A possibility to meet some companies during more relaxed circumstances, mingle combined with challenges. The students are chosen in advance but there are some golden tickets which the participating companies can hand out to suiting students they meet during the fair.
eeeLectures: Both during eeeBoost and both of the fair-days. Additional ways for students to broaden their horizons and be inspired. Totally it’s six lectures and three workshops. Application is required.
Career interviews: About 400 interviews during the two fair-days. A unique chance for the students and companies the meet on a personal meeting. Application is closed but some companies may offer spontaneous interviews.
Pytten: 23rd. The final banquet and our biggest tradition. It’s “pytt-i-panna” for dinner which, according to Jonna and Nico, surprisingly few people understand. The purpose is to celebrate two days of possibilities with 450 guests, half of them company representatives, half students. There is possibility to buy tickets for both the dinner and the after party.