It’s been a weird and amazing year and this Monday I graduated from the 13 month long Management Trainee programme at IKEA. I spent yesterday reflecting on all of the people who made this year possible.
As IKEA is going through some major changes, my next step is still unclear. Luckily this also means that a lot needs to get done, and I’m in a temporary role as IT Project Lead looking into the area of DevOps. Hopefully, with some grit, skill and timing, my IKEA career has just begun!
Thinking back on the fun events I’ve participated in this year, for example Q Rendezvous together with Consid, one of Sweden’s fastest growing companies this year. I was invited to talk about how IKEA works with digitalization, changing customer needs and the opportunities and difficulties that the tech and ecommerce industry is facing.
On a similar topic, I was host for KTH’s event Giants. I shared some of my own story and got to spend the day with 300 sharp young women, getting their take on tech and problem solving. During the day they also got to try out a multitude of different engineering topics and tech gadgets, such as robotics, coding and virtual reality.
1 year ago I started working for IKEA as Management Trainee in global IT operations! While I’m in a new role now as IT Project Lead, I guess I still can’t use my “new at work” badge anymore..
Pro of being a trainee: you get away with asking about everything, get free trainings included in your daily schedule and get to follow interesting people and thus learn about and work with many different areas. Con: most people don’t think you’re actually a part of the company, or don’t see you as a full time employee with responsibilities. Some even doubt that you have a salary.
The reality? Management Trainees at IKEA are full time employees, with a normal salary and responsibilities, that get to meet many people, go to many trainings, and learn about and work with multiple areas in the business. What a terrific way to start a journey in a large company!
Now however I’m happy to dig deeper into my areas of interest in the business and, like any true millennial, make an impact.
Look at all these handsome engineers! This was truly a life goal. How time flew on by! I’m nostalgic for all those late nights of calculus, coding, building robots, fixing presentations and hanging out in group rooms or Skype meetings.
11 years ago, after my first exam in high school, I decided that I wanted to become an engineer.
Today, in the blistering heat of this Swedish summer day, I walked up the stairs in Stockholm city hall to receive my diploma. A Master of Science in Engineering, Civilingenjör.
Many goosebumps, some sentimental tears. I know that I’ve worked for almost a year already. But these days filled with reflection, in combination with the reorg at IKEA and the end of my leadership programme, has me asking: What do I do now?
Yesterday I had a full day design thinking workshop on machine learning and artificial intelligence! It was a long day but we had so much fun thanks to our amazing Innovation & Incubation team that helped me to facilitate the workshop. I’m so pleased with our tangible results!
This is the best part of my job: mixing business with high tech. Creating value and exploring new possibilities. Taking the seemingly impossible and thriving in finding the way forward!
I’m enjoying Paris with two women that I met during my master programme in engineering! I’m lucky to have friends who also love to mix adventure travels with nature and adrenaline, with city weekends and low key hangouts! Plus we never get hangry because we fika all the time. The best travel team.
Rebecca Ahlstrand is a Swedish leader driven by a curiosity for tech and how it can be used to improve quality of life for people! She enjoys holding a good key note speech, learning about space, physics, AI, and psychology. Rebecca finds her energy in empowering networks, mentorships, traveling, interior design, and discussing ideas and concepts.
Her degree is a M.Sc. in IT engineering and industrial management from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. After studying and working with startups in Singapore and China, she joined IKEA's executive leadership programme and as Scrum Master in IKEA IT. She's led roadmap activities to improve operational efficiency in over 600 IT solutions running 24/7 to ensure operations globally for IKEA. In her current role as IT Project Lead, she's implementing DevOps teams in the reorganization of IKEA.
Rebecca has lived in Beijing, Shanghai, Bournemouth, Shenzhen, Singapore and Stockholm, and is currently based in Helsingborg with 200 traveling days per year.
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