Interview with a team member: Yelena Ivanova

By January 24, 2020Interviews

Yelena Ivanova - 1

Yelena is our newest addition to the Swedish for Professionals team. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Aalto University in Finland and finished her combined Master’s in International Management and Marketing & Media Management at Stockholm School of Economics. Originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, Yelena has lived in 7 different countries in the past 7 years and considers herself a citizen of the world.


This has been your first month working with us! I hope it’s been fun so far.

– It definitely has! Personally, I love the feeling or building something valuable together with a highly dedicated team. Working with a growing company is a great way to test one’s limits in a dynamic and fast-paced environment. The learning curve is steep and one can make a difference already from day 1.

What’s your working experience?
– I have completed internships in media and PR and absolutely love the world of creative and value-adding communications! Also, I have been working with a number of strategy and business development projects during my studies and internships.

How come you chose Sweden and SSE to do your master’s?
– I was very motivated to continue studying business in an international environment after completing my bachelor’s and, therefore, applied to several universities across Europe. I am very happy with my choice (SSE) as we had some amazing professors and many interesting team projects with diverse companies.

What do you think of life in Stockholm?
– Studying in Stockholm for my master’s has been an amazing experience and this city is very dear to my heart. Therefore, I am very excited to be able to stay and work here. Exploring new countries and cultures is always very exciting. There is so much to explore in terms of language, places, traditions, values and food!

I understand that you’ve travelled quite a bit, as you’ve lived in 7 different countries in the past 7 years?
– I got to travel a lot during my business studies and internships. Wherever I went, I have been very lucky to meet amazing people who joined me in exploring new cultures or were incredible welcoming guides. Being an expat is a lot about communication, friendships and discoveries.

Then it’s great that you chose Stockholm! To you, what makes Sweden special compared to other countries you’ve lived in?
– Sweden combines the benefits of big cities and vast natural reserves. I appreciate the diversity! On a weekend you may choose to attend a tech start-up weekend workshop in Stockholm, the Silicon Valley of Europe, or to go on an overnight hike far away from the buzzing city.

Do you have any favorite places here that you’d like to tell the readers about?
– My Stockholm “smultronställe” is Gamla Stan (Old town). Even though the locals find it too touristy, I love its vibe and the cozy shops, cafes and restaurants. I also love the beautiful cherry blossoms at Kungsträdgården in spring.

You’re also learning Swedish right now?
– Yes, and I really feel that learning a language is a long journey that requires patience and persistence. I learn something new every day. Everything is known in comparison, and after trying to learn Finnish I find learning Swedish very manageable.  Naturally, learning the local language helps to unveil the hidden cultural treasures! As an expat in Sweden you quickly learn about ‘lagom’ and ‘fika’ as distinct concepts that are so important in the Swedish culture.

Do you have any tips for fellow expats living in Sweden?
– I believe that one of the best ways to experience a culture is to get to know the local traditions. I really enjoyed discovering the local ways of celebrating big holidays like Christmas, Midsummer and Easter. However, looking for more discrete traditions like Fredagsmys or Kanelbullens Dag is highly rewarding as well.

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