Biz Sch News 26 March 2019

NOC Stockholm: Spending time in Sweden

NOC (NUS Overseas Colleges) Stockholm is based in a city known for its dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem. The capital has the most billion-dollar start-ups in Europe and is home to firms such as SoundCloud and Spotify. Sweden is also one of the most livable countries in the world with its high standard of living and beautiful landscape.

The combination of start-up culture and healthy lifestyle was the reason why Jolyn Moh (NUS BBA Year 4) chose NOC Stockholm for the one-year programme.

Jolyn in Stockholm

In the 12 months she spent there, she interned at a technology start-up, studied at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, joined a choir group, went island hopping and visited the country’s saunas. She also co-founded Keyframe, an app start-up.

Outside-In sat down with Jolyn to find out more about her experiences in Sweden.

1) Why did you choose NOC Stockholm and what did you do there?

I chose the Scandinavian lifestyle as I wanted to be a healthier, better, and happier version of myself.

I was there from August 2017. At KTH, I studied Strategic Management, Digital Marketing, Business Model Innovation and Innovation & Entrepreneurship. The tech start-up I interned at is Codebuilders AB, a mobile app development agency. I was involved in digital marketing, web development and video editing.

Aerial shot of Jolyn and her choir mates during a summer retreat

I joined the Swedish Choir and sang in 12 different languages at three concerts. It was my most precious memory because it is such a rare opportunity to be integrated with a community abroad. I even joined them for the Choir’s summer retreats in the countryside. It was an excellent opportunity to make friends outside of my social circle.

Once, my choir mates and I visited a sauna. It is a ritual to jump into a freezing lake, where the water is at negative 12 degrees Celsius, before dashing back into the sauna for warmth.

Sweden is an archipelago with thousands of islands. My favourite is Vaxholm, where my friends and I visited the local market and cafes while enjoying the view of the pristine blue waters.

2) How did NUS Business School prepare you for the NOC and doing so much there?

I was exposed to a diverse range of roles, including helping to organise the Bizad Charity Run, spearheading projects for my hostel Sheares Hall and representing the School in case competitions.

Jolyn and her teammates at a case competition in Sweden

These experiences helped develop my time management, adaptability and resilience, which turned out to be useful when I was in Stockholm. At NOC, I had to manage expectations from different stakeholders in a time-starved environment.

3) How did you deal with the cold when you were there?

Everyone talks about the weather, but for me, it was the lack of sunlight. When the sun is only up for four hours a day, it makes one lazy especially when you are in the office. When I first started working, I found myself nodding off until caffeine came to the rescue.

4) Besides working, studying and singing, we understand you even managed to establish a tech start-up?

I would get very frustrated scrolling through posts that I am not interested in on my feed. I had this idea to improve the overall experience of sharing one’s post. With Keyframe, individuals can record, segment and share important moments of their life in categories with personalised privacy settings.

It was just nice that I had to, as part of the curriculum, submit an idea for a start-up grant. Together with my co-founders whom I met during NOC, we met every week for seven months to work on the concept, which eventually got a $10,000 grant from NUS Enterprise.

Jolyn with her co-founders at Keyframe

5) What advice would you give to your juniors/peers who are looking to do NOC?

Understand NOC’s objective, as well as what you want to get out of the programme. For me, I wanted to break out of my comfort zone. I learned Swedish and to cook meals for myself while I was there. I volunteered at large events such as TEDxStockholm and the Stockholm Tech Fest to learn how they are executed.

Understand that you will have to make lifestyle changes; this helps with assimilation. Be adaptable and make sure you pick up a few life skills before going over, such as cooking or language skills. If you intend to travel, it will be good to do some planning first.

Reflect and record your progress because before you know it, you have already passed the halfway mark of your programme. And lastly, enjoy yourself!

For more information on the NUS BBA programme, please visit http://bba.nus.edu.