In a time of global uncertainty, whether it is about your future or your health, people seek to find a stable object or activity to attach themselves to, an anchor in an undecided and unpredictable present. One example of this anchor may be having a stable education and playing a sport, where you have your lectures, go to practice, and get the chance to disconnect from the uncertain world we are currently living in. To showcase the understanding and experiences of this somewhat special chapter in our lives, SACC Philadelphia have interviewed the Swedish squash player Filip Krüeger who currently lives in Philadelphia and studies at Drexel University.
Filip’s journey to America began in 2018, when he was 20 years old and first moved to Philadelphia in order to play squash at a more professional level and study business engineering. The main reasons he ended up in Philadelphia is because of the prominent squash program and academic profile at Drexel University, where he would be able to both study and play sport.
In the business engineering program at Drexel University, the students get the opportunity to be part of a co-op program to use their theoretical knowledge in a practical manner and develop their understanding of what they would like to work with in the future. Filip mentions that:
” It’s just a great opportunity to start building experience in a career you potentially want to go into in the future. So, either way if you like or hate your co-op it’s going to provide a great experience because you need to know that you like this line of work or you don’t.” Hence, Filip is currently enrolled in the co-op program and works as an investment banking analyst at Alkali Partners for his internship.
How was the process of finding the company you are currently doing your internship with?
This firm is in Portland actually, Portland Oregon. But because of Covid and everything it has been remote. So, I found this company through the Drexel database.
Filip further explains that Drexel has a lot of partnerships with different companies which the students can take advantage of for their co-op programs. Students can apply for an internship according to their skills and education through a database, which in turn matches the student with current internship offers. Though, he goes on explaining that
“You can also go out on your own and find your own internship for six months, but all the companies that are working with Drexel already have everything figured out and they know what is going on so usually that’s the best route to go.”
As the interview moves on, Filip continues to discuss the differences between living in Sweden and the US. He explains that there are a lot of small differences when it comes to how college and the university experience is portrayed in the US, as the student communities are not that strong in Sweden.
“Whereas, in the US, like every college, every campus is built around this experience where you live at the school, you live with everyone you go to school with, and you do everything together there. Everything is at the school and around that.” In addition, he explains that sport is also a good example of the difference between Sweden and the US, as the Americans use sport as a way to create communities and relationships with one another.
” Everytime the Eagles (the Philadelphia Eagles american football team) are playing, everyone in the city knows and everyone’s excited about it. It doesn’t matter if you meet a homeless guy or a CEO from this big company, everyone knows the Eagles are playing and everyone’s happy about it. If you just say “go birds’ ‘ everyone will stop and smile.”. Filip continues and says that the sport is also very well incorporated into his schedule at Drexel as well, since he has an intense training schedule every week with competitions against other schools such as Harvard University and Princeton University. With resources such as world-class coaches, nutritionists, physical trainers and academic advisors, the Universities invest a lot in their students’ careers.
“It’s incredible the way they center the school around the sport in that sense”
Because of the open and welcoming atmosphere in big cities like Philadelphia, Filip mentions that he did not have any problems adapting to the American society. Since the city and the college is filled with international students from all over the world, everyone gets the opportunity to bond with each other and adapt to the American norms and traditions together.
The Young Professionals Network set up by SACC-Philadelphia aims to be both a social organization that can provide new friends and contacts, and offer interesting career opportunities by connecting students, recent graduates and young professionals with prospective employers.
Filip’s first understanding of what SACC Philadelphia work toward was mainly centered around the idea of integrating more Swedish businesses with US businesses and helping Swedish corporations get more settled in the US. Now that he looks back at when he first moved to the US alone as a 20 year old, he recalls that he felt disconnected to Swedish culture because of the lack of celebrations of Swedish traditions, such as Midsummer. When we explained the concept about Young Professionals and the additional student angle that SACC are trying to incorporate in their overall work, we asked Filip about his thoughts on joining the YPN when he first moved to Philadelphia. With an enthusiastic smile he stated that:
“If I think that I knew about that angle, I would have definitely thought about that when I got here, I would still do it honestly. I think I would definitely do that. It’s nice always connecting with other swedes. And as you said, SACC is connecting with anyone in general – it’s amazing.”
When asked in which areas SACC could help Swedish people connect with each other and become integrated into the American society, he mentions that a celebration of Swedish traditions would be a great opportunity to meet up with other swedes, as there is usually an instant connection when swedes run into each other abroad. Filip also sees value when it comes to helping potential workers settle down in the US, as this can drive a lot of value for American companies.
The YPN meetings are held on a regular basis and range from very casual business mixers to more structured events. Our main target group is those who have an interest in promoting business relations between Sweden and America or have ties to the Scandinavian community.
Have you ever tried to or wanted to start a company in the US? In that case, how was the process and obstacles?
”I’ve always had an idea of wanting to start a company eventually but I’m not sure when.”
Filip goes on explaining that he finds it difficult to start a business as an international student in the US because of the challenges of understanding and comprehending American law, as well as finding potential investors and raising capital. He mentions that it would be a great opportunity if SACC could help in connecting with the right and appropriate people, as this can be difficult to do as a student with little knowledge in that area.
What are your anticipations for this new school year and what are your plans after you graduate?
“I’m actually really excited to kind of go back to school.”
Filip explains that he is ready to apply the knowledge he has gained from the internship toward the classes he will be studying, namely electrical engineering and computer science, to name a few. Since he has been doing his internship remotely, he points out that he misses the social trigger of meeting new people, which he describes can be tough. Being back in normal classes and meeting his fellow classmates and professors is therefore something he has been longing for ever since Covid-19 made his education remote. As for his future plans, he mentions that he has been offered an extension to play squash and continue his education for an additional year, due to some vital cancellations because of Covid-19. He also sees himself settling down and working in the US after graduation.
Thank you for your time Filip,
SACC Philadelphia wishes you all the best in your future career and hope to see you at a future Young Professional event!
Name: Filip Krüeger.
Age: 23 years old.
Current field of study, University and year of graduation: Business engineering with a minor in Computer Science, Drexel University, 2023.
Current occupation: Investment Banking Analyst at Alkali Partners.