Nine business students are in the conference room at LTU this morning in May. It's almost time to present the last months of work with the examination thesis, to classmates, teachers and examiners. Magnus Johansson Jänkänpää, student of international economics, has done his thesis at a distance and is on a direct link from the United States.
After the opposition I contact him for an interview. I want to know more about his thesis, and how he ended up in the U.S.
– The programme requires that you study language during a semester in Sweden or study a semester abroad. I've always dreamed of going to the U.S. and now I took the chance. I chose the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Snow and winter sports are important to me and the city could offer this.
But Magnus Johansson Jänkänpää liked it so much that he stayed in the U.S. and also did his examination thesis there. In the C-thesis he analyzed the U.S. chain Target and their internationalization process. The company will open numerous stores in Canada, and it is the first international step in its history.
How did you come in contact with Target?
– By a professor at my university in Duluth. He had contact with former students who now works at Target. I arranged a meeting with the company and we talked about possible directions of my thesis.
The LTU student kept in touch with Target throughout the whole project. But the work did not go quite as planned. Target decided suddenly that Magnus Johansson Jänkänpääinte could not do interviews with them. The only people who could answer his questions were high and very busy leaders. The deal was in a sensitive situation. It was early in the process and it is a big business - all 1.8 billion Canadian dollars.
– It was a cold shower. But my supervisor at LTU, Håkan Perzon, helped me to move forward. I had to build on existing information, such as statements by business analysts and interviews with Target's president of the United States and Canada.
The opposition means that the students give comments on each other's work. Håkan Perzon, teacher in finance and marketing, encourages the students to a coaching approach.
– No one should leave the opposition and feel depressed. It should be an opportunity to develop, says Håkan Perzon.
– I have corrected all deficiencies that my opponents found. Now I can proudly show off the work for Target. It's about taking criticism the right way. Seeing it as a means to produce a really good essay, says Magnus Johansson Jänkänpää.
– Magnus Johansson Jänkänpää wants to encourage students to go abroad. Having a network of contacts in both Sweden and the United States is priceless. If you are looking to go abroad, don´t think - go! Both LTU and the university in the U.S. have supported me throughout my education. Thanks to my work for Target, some companies in Minnesota have expressed interest in me. It's very flattering, but also a great opportunity for my future career, he concludes.