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Clara, Project leader at Stadsbruk Europe
"Studying a master's degree does open doors and it is invaluable to have the experience of focusing on one topic in such detail."
What do you do?
I work as a project leader in the international project Stadsbruk Europe run by the organization Botildenborg in Malmö Sweden. Botildenborg is a sustainable farm and meeting place that works with food and farming as tools to help cities and people grow sustainably.
My main focus in the project has been to onboard new cities that want to implement hands on solutions to foster the growth of urban farming in and around cities and fine-tune the methodology used to make it happen.
How did you end up in your current job?
The world seems so promising when understood through textbooks and theories. To test the theories and tools gained from my education, I have made sure to always have a job on the side to gain experience outside of the textbooks. The practical experience that I gained has been invaluable in my career path; it made it possible for me to put theory into practice, gain hands-on experience and became a kick-start in establishing a professional network. Not only professionally but also socially. During my undergraduate degree, I had just moved to Sweden and needed to form a new social network from scratch. So I turned to the hospitality industry where I was introduced to the culinary world. My interest in all things food partly grew from seeing how the industry dealt with food front of house and backstage.
The practical experience that I gained has been invaluable in my career path; it made it possible for me to put theory into practice, gain hands-on experience and became a kick-start in establishing a professional network.
After having finished my undergraduate degree in Human Ecology at the University of Lund, I moved to Australia where I explored how it would be working in the non-profit sector with climate change issues. After a little over a year Down Under, I moved back to Europe but this time with the certainty that my future is in food. The New Nordic cuisine was on everyone's lips, and the programme in Integrated Food Studies could not have come at a better time. I stepped out of my role as a green energy lobbyist and hospitality worker and took on the role as a future Food Systems Analyst.
Throughout my master's degree I got the opportunity to work as a student assistant in an EU project with the aim to map innovation process from small to medium sized companies in Sweden. I also interned for Southern Sweden’s regional’s Destination Management Organization and was later employed as a project coordinator. Put together, all of these events helped me land my current role as a project leader.
My ambition throughout my career choices have been to be part of something meaningful to the environment and specifically to the food system. The role has not been so important to me. I have focused on working with something that was interesting, had an impact on society and where I could continue learning within the realm of food.
Which academic skills do you use most in your work life?
Having been introduced to product development and the concept of design thinking during my master's degree in Integrated Food Studies, I immediately knew that I wanted to work with projects where I could expand and develop my skillset within this field.
It’s really valuable to get to work with different people in small teams before you go out into working life.
After completing my degree I have had the opportunity to work with concept development, prototyping and design processes that lead to innovations which I find really fun to work with! But I have also used my analytical skill and tools gained from working in small groups. It’s really valuable to get to work with different people in small teams before you go out into working life.
A good advice: What do you want to tell a prospective student?
Studying a master's degree does open doors and it is invaluable to have the experience of focusing on one topic in such detail. It gives you time, above anything else, to build your business idea if that’s what you want to do, or to nerd out on a specific subject if that’s where you’re going.
If I would do it again, I would choose three topics close to my heart and focus on gaining as much practical experience I can working with them.