Imagine yourself in Times Square. You have a dark suit on, and you are in a hurry. You raise your hand, and a yellow taxi stops and drives you to your next meeting. This sounds like straight out of a movie, but the opportunity to live this dream is closer than you think. Ask Jesper Palmborg and Johan Schneider! Two LUSEM students that through the Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce got the opportunity to travel around the US and gain real business experience. Read their story and learn how you can enrol in the program yourself!
The Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce, SACC-USA, is a non-profit organisation. They are an important facilitator in the creation of investment opportunities and the development of trade relations between Sweden and the US. SACC-USA consists of 19 regional Chambers across the country, where you, as a part of the program, have the chance to live, work, and learn more about the business market in the US. Depending on your interests you can work at different Chambers and learn more about a specific area. The Chamber of Los Angeles, for example, is focused on the entertainment industry.
Jesper and Johan work at SACC-USA’s headquarters in Washington DC. Their main task is to find interns and companies for The Talent Mobility Program. While working, they quickly realised that it is hard to come in contact with American companies regarding the matter. As an intern at SACC-USA, you have much control over your experience and have the chance to start new projects on your own. Jesper and Johan took advantage of this opportunity and came up with the idea of traveling the US and personally reaching out to companies and pitching the concept of Swedish interns at American companies. This was a success and surely created lifelong memories! Here are some of Jesper and Johan’s insights during the project:
Day one in Philadelphia
“The first day of the journey was definitely one I will remember for a long time. Leaving DC and realizing that this little Hyundai we are driving will be our home for the next 30 days was a weird feeling, though perhaps more prevalent than any feelings of uncertainty were those of excitement for the things to come.” – Johan Schneider
Visiting Philadelphia was an amazing experience for Jesper and Johan. They experienced the sets of the TV show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” in real life and went to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. But the first day came with some challenges.
“Our plan was that whoever isn’t driving at any time will be answering emails and having meetings, though we quickly realized that would be almost impossible outside of the big cities due to the lack of internet connection around the country.” – Jesper Palmborg
Day four in New York City
The fourth day was a busy day for Jesper and Johan. In New York, they met the sponsors for the project; Emon Maasho, the CEO of Orrefors and Kosta Boda North America, and Kenneth Ramos, a managing director at an investment firm in New York. Later the same day, they also had a meeting with the company Ericsson. These meetings gave them insight into the business world and experiences in pitching that were very useful along with the project.
“The feeling of walking the streets of Manhattan, not as a tourist, but as someone who needs to be there to do business was a cool experience.” – Johan Schneider
Day seven in Boston, Cleveland, and Ann Arbor
“Boston quickly became one of my favourite cities in the US with its cool bars and history, and the surrounding towns Plymouth and Salem were both beautiful insights into the history of this relatively new country.” – Johan Schneider
The project has been a great opportunity for Jesper and Johan to expand their network. During their stay in Boston, they had dinner with the Ohio chambers’ President and Chairman Jim Hornyak and Christian Bernadotte. And then they were off to the road again.
“We quickly realized that driving on this road trip was nowhere near as bad as we had first thought. The hours flew by, and our theory is that the fact that we know we will be driving for over 100 hours total, so the 12.5 hours we drove that day seemed like nothing in comparison.” – Jesper Palmborg
The project has been an experience of self-growth and filled with exciting new memories for Jesper and Johan. Johan will always remember the jazz bar in Orlando, and Jesper will think of seeing Mount Rushmore for the first time. Jesper and Johan have made a memorable journey and created a unique friendship. The project wouldn’t be able to happen without the support of SACC-USA and they would recommend everyone to take the opportunity to apply for an internship.
You can find all the relevant information to apply for an internship at SACC-USA’s website. The process is like a normal job application, and if accepted, you will get the help you need with the visa process. Jesper and Johan’s best tips in the application process are to emphasize your interests and show your broad knowledge. Johan had a wide international experience which he thinks was an advantage in his application process, and Jesper has an interest in graphic design and business. Overall, be sure to accentuate your creative and academic expertise in your application. Lastly, do not forget to go and meet Jesper and Johan during The eee Days where they will talk about SACC-USA and The Talent Mobility Program.
You can apply here and go follow @sacc_usayp on Instagram!