[Course Reflection Series 3] Project Management

Project Management (PM), as the name tells, is the course about how to run projects. We learn about different management tools and try to apply it to our own projects.

The course instructor is Carl Savage, postdoc from Clinical Management department. As an active researcher, Carl always uses his research projects as examples to illustrate his first hand experience. I find it quite inspiring to listen to his lectures, while he has a lot of research experience in health management field.

The course is composed of three assignments, during which we have experienced shock, worry and confusion as time goes. The first assignment was due two days after the course started on Ping Pong, and the first day of meeting was discussion on the first assignment! So my group had our first meeting over FB, while we realized we didn’t have much time to arrange an interview with someone from outside of life science industry. Then we worried about the second assignment when we learned new management system like Agile. It was some time before we learned the basics of this system, after which we started arranging interviews within the life science industry. Everything was so packed up and we could not contribute all day as we had another course in KTH. Therefore November was very busy for us.

A rather confused assignment was when Carl decided that we adopted a new grading system. We wrote a letter to him saying what kind of grade we wanted and stated our contribution. The funny thing was that when our group sat together and tried to put every best word on ourselves and each other. I was not very good at praising myself, so I learned new skills!

PM is a really pm course for me, as we almost work until 6pm three times a week in addition to a morning lecture. Maybe this is not hard-working to you, but it is to me! 

Sometimes people wonder why we need project management tools, why not run projects based on experience. I would say that world is changing, projects are being more and more complex nowadays. We cannot rely on classical approaches as always. We need to change, we must change, as Ericsson says.

Hope you could also improve our project management skills as you take more and more courses.

Yi

 

The volunteering experience at CHASE

Happy Thanksgiving Day !!!

Thanksgiving Contest - What Are You Thankful For?

Sorry for such a late blogpost about my volunteering experience at CHASE on Nov 12. I got cold the day after CHASE, which I guessed was due to hard working ;)

As Dina introduced in her blog about CHASE, it was the biggest career held in KI so far.  Thanks to the great effort of CHASE organizers, big companies like Roche, ims Health, Novo Nordisk came to KI this year. There were many career fairs held in KTH as I studied there, while Armanda might be the most famous one. I looked forward to a career fair like CHASE in Karolinska Institutet for so long.

 When I received an email about volunteering, I applied immediately. I would like to work for it whenever I had free time. Ever since the start of MBE program, everyone told me to network, network and network, but I didn’t know how. And here came the opportunity, my main question was about a possible internship in 2015 at the pharmaceutical companies or consultancy companies.  

On Nov 12, I was the technician for presentations in MF Aula, and was very lucky to listen to three presentations from Roche, ims Health and AstraZeneca. The presenters came from different divisions of the company, so it was very interesting to listen to their stories. I found that very inspiring as the presenters tried to tell their personal story and communicated with the audience, instead of a traditional slide-after-slide presentation. Although most KI students aimed for future career in academia, they could also get a glimpse into the possibilities in pharmaceutical industry.

In the afternoon, my work was rather easy and I mingled with the companies I was interested in. It was actually not scary as I imagined. Representatives from the company were quite friendly. I noticed one difference. If you talked to someone from R&D background, he/she would emphasize that you should choose your career based on you interest. One the other hand, people  from HR background talked more about personal qualifications. That should be a big question to myself when I think over future career.

After all, I consider CHASE as a really exciting event, as it complements the research-oriented Karolinska atmosphere. The volunteering experience is very inspiring for me in terms of career perspective. I hope that in the future there would be more and more career fairs in KI.

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Register Yourself at the Embassy

DISCLAIMER: This post might apply ONLY for Indonesian citizens who are going to reside abroad. However, you might want to check with your country’s embassy if there are similar procedures applied.

You might have heard this several times but application period for the 2015-2016 Global Bachelor and Master Programs has now been opened. And I believe that time will fly so fast that suddenly those of you who are applying will soon get the notification of selection results and if you make it for 2015-2016 period, you’ll start preparing yourself for another exciting phase in your life.

For many students, the preparation itself might be a painful tough and long process, especially when you have to move from your comfort zone, you home, your country (which might be very far far away) to a ‘strange’ and unfamiliar place. You might even feel a little bit insecure yourself. However, I’m sure you will always find a way to ease all those feelings. One of the ways is actually by having yourself registered in your country’s embassy.

Now, I know that not all countries have such procedures, but I hope what I’m going to write will give you an insight on this kind of procedures.

All Indonesian citizens who are going to reside abroad (or at least will stay for more than 5 days in a country) are, by laws, obliged to report/register themselves (lapor diri) at the nearest Embassy or Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia. This registration process is extremely important as it will enable our country’s representative, for example, to contact us in case of emergency, or to help us when we face certain difficulties in this country (let’s hope none of them will happen, though).

The technical procedures for the registration might vary between embassies, but one thing for sure is that all this process is free. In Sweden, you could choose either to come in person to the embassy or to send all your documents by post (you should include the return envelope if you choose this way). I myself decided to come in person for the registration process. It was a challenge for me, actually, because the embassy could only receive the application on Monday-Thursday from 9.30 to 12.00 or on Friday from 10.00 to 11.00. Most of the time, I was having classes during that period XD but I finally could manage to find a free period to go to the embassy.

Besides bringing my passport, I also brought the registration form (could be downloaded here) and a passport size photograph. The process was actually very quick as I only had to submit all those documents. But since I arrived when the embassy had actually closed (yet the staff was kind enough to receive my application XD ), I had to come again on the other day to pick my passport up. And here’s the proof that I had registered myself at the embassy:

Proof of registration on my passport page!

Proof of registration on my passport page!

You could read more about the registration here (in Indonesian only).

Contact information:
Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia for Sweden and Latvia
Kungsbroplan 1, 4 tr
112 27 Stockholm
E-mail : kbri@indonesiskaambassaden.se
Phone : +46-8-545 55 880

Visiting hours:
Monday – Thursday (9.30-12.00)
Friday (10.00-11.00)

Until next post! ;)

Alicia

Language @ KI

I have been attending Language @ KI for the last few weeks in Huddinge campus and I must say it has been a pleasure to attend and to practice my Swedish! This initiative is set up with the aim of utilising native Swedish students whom would like to volunteer and teach classes to international students of KI who are interested in learning Swedish. The classes take place over a 12 week period with classes in both KI Solna and Huddinge. I have done a short little Vlog to try and show a little bit of what this is all about and I hope you like it.

Any questions as always feel free to email me or comment below my videos.

Overview of Course Nº2: Target Organ Toxicity

Last Tuesday was our last day of class for this second course of the Toxicology masters. Named Target Organ Toxicity and worth 15 credits it was a two-month class full of PBLs for each different organ.

But, what is PBL?

Before coming to Sweden, I had never officially heard about this pedagogy method known as Problem-Based Learning. This method consists of the teacher giving a group of students, of around 4 to 5 members, a problem that has to be solved. The students have to organize themselves on their own and decide what information is necessary and relevant to solve the case and explain the mechanism behind everything mentioned.

Each week was focused on a different common target organ such as the liver, heart, nervous system, kidney and endocrine system. We started each week with basic physiology lectures that then were followed by the solving of the PBL case.

Getting our ideas clear during the endocrine system PBL.

Getting our ideas clear during the endocrine system PBL.

In addition to these more “traditional” weeks, we had some extra subjects:

- Cancer week: it consisted of all lectures and finished with a short test, very common in Sweden, to test our knowledge in a short and quick exam.

- Immune system assignment: also started with lectures but instead of an official PBL, we had to analyze a toxicological report.

- Acute toxicology: one of the most interesting parts from my point of view. It was focused on toxinology (study of toxins and their acute effect) and really interesting lectures of catastrophe toxicology. These last lectures were really interactive and fun because we had to prepare PowerPoint presentations about famous catastrophes and we finished with a “test” in class, as if it were a TV show, with remote controls in class and everything.

- Skin day: a day full of lectures centered on analyzing the problems associated to skin toxicology.

- Lung week: this week started out with basic lectures about physiology and different testing methods. In addition, we had a visit to the labs to see how things were really done in real life. Really useful because we got to see how things actually worked. Here we also had to solve a case and analyze the result of different tests.

Watching how to work in the lab during the lung week.

Watching how to work in the lab during the lung week.

During this course you can love PBLs or hate them. Some people don’t enjoy working in a group or doing their own information research. Others really find it useful to participate actively in the building of their own knowledge and have fun while discussing with other team members. However, no matter if you enjoy this method or not, I would suggest you get the best of it. This is a unique experience that is not so common in other countries and a great opportunity to understand new types of working. Also, it is useful to get a glimpse of how the real world works, where we will always have to face teamwork at some point of our lives.

To conclude, I would like to mention one of our toxicology family members, Lilian, an exchange student from the University of Utrecht that has been with us during this course. As a toxicology student at KI you have the opportunity to participate in exchange programs with the universities in Leiden and Utrecht. I really hope she enjoyed her adventure at KI and in Stockholm and just to remind you that this is not a goodbye, just a see you later!

Lilian brought some Dutch waffles to class!

Lilian brought some Dutch waffles to class! We will miss you! 

There’s no place like home

I own red shoes. So, naturally, one day when we were discussing homesickness with friends, I closed my eyes, and clicked together my scarlet heels whilst reciting, ‘There’s no place like home’ three times. I don’t think anyone understood the reference; It’s from The Wizard of Oz. If you haven’t seen it yet…there’s next Sunday night all planned out. My friends have gotten used to my eccentricities by now – They don’t question such behaviour anymore. Nevertheless, Dorothy got it right. No matter how wonderful Stockholm is and no matter how flawed my country may be – there simply is no place like home.

Stockholm is a colourful and inviting city. I have met so many amazing people during the three months I have been here. I have delighted in every moment of it. I don’t honestly believe that homesickness is about what is better – it’s about what you grew up with. And I grew up speaking French, eating freshly–baked almond croissants and walking in the forest by my house every Sunday. I miss all of these things. I suspect a lot of the people in KI have their own list of familiar comforts, shorter or a bit longer. Perhaps, they too look forward to ticking those items off come Christmas break.

Luckily, KI is an incredibly international community. The chances of you finding someone from your country, or at least who speaks your language are like 99%. In my class, there are two people that did their undergraduate years at the same university in Poland – just saying. This is a genuine advantage and a comfort. Furthermore, most of us are international students. We all find it hard at times to deal with differences in culture, in temperature (yikes!) or in language. But, we’re all in the same boat (one long fun party cruise) and can laugh off our cultural blunders together or help each other out when things get tough.

None of this homesickness talk means I want to move back home though. I have already lived four years abroad and count on living many years away from France. Homesickness is just a minor side effect of embarking upon an exciting and eye-opening adventure. I’m aware that as soon as I get home (and treat myself to a walk in the woods and a bag of almond croissants) I will quickly turn to the task of explaining to family and friends the concepts of ‘fika’, ‘latte papas’ or ‘lagom’ – and be greeted with incomprehension. Then, I will feel homesick once more. Ultimately, home is where the heart is. And damn you, Stockholm, it seems you have already crept your way into mine.

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Admissions: new point of view

You have, maybe, read my posts from last year with some advice to prepare your application to Swedish Universities (part 1 and part 2). This is, again, that time of the year and I think I can provide you a different point of view to complement those posts.

I am almost finishing my courses, not including thesis, and now I have a better overview of the program and its courses. Let’s try to put it short and clear. I am talking about Master in Public Health sciences, Health Economy, Policy and Management track.

If I need to choose the topic with most emphasis among health economy, policy and management I would select the first. We have three courses directly dealing with health economy and one of outcomes related with economy. You do not need to be expert in excel or in micro economy but it is really helpful to have some skills. Most of my classmates looked for thesis on Health Economy, maybe because is a really wide field and because you could have better job opportunities

Other focus are is health care: you see several courses where the main field of action is that setting, being Management the one really focused on that. If you are thinking you will get general management tools for higher levels (Ministry, for instance) you will be disappointed. If you want to get general overview of Management theories and some about accounting you should look them in other place, maybe an MBA. If you are interested in management of health care this will help you a lot.

Regarding Policy, we had two courses and they were the ones I loved the most. It could be from very conceptual and theoretical to a much applied and translational study. It is the field where you can use most qualitative analysis although management is also using a lot that type of research designs.

Health Policy was my nearest contact with real problems I am interested in. The next is health economy and the last is management but this is really subjective because it was based in my preferences

In all courses you could have the chance to meet people researching in real projects and ask them about the real research life. Some of that people have very high level contacts (WHO, ministries all over the world) and some other have contact in more specific and local levels. Each one of those approaches has its advantages and challenges.

For me, the most important thing of studying at KI is that you find in the corridors, classrooms, lecture halls and meeting rooms, people working in very hot topics in health. If you want to meet people facing Ebola outbreak you can find them here. If you are looking for information on tackling antibiotic resistance, you can start from here and you can have contact with the people in the field. KI is not the only place to get those opportunities but, definitely, is one of the most important.

You can find other posts on my reflections here (three parts, quite long text): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

I wish you have wisdom to select you options and your priorities in your application.

 

 

Health Economics: Health and Medical Care Financing

In my last blog, I talked about the home exam for the first health economics course. I didn’t, even, say ‘bye’ hoping to be back soon with brief information about the course and thus here is the result of that plan.

May be some of you may not find it easy to have a clearer meaning of health economics. In short, it is a discipline that applies the theories and methods of economics to maximize health care outcomes from a limited input.

We started the course on October 7, in the afternoon. In the morning of the same day, we had an introduction to some HPEM staff members and all the courses in the program.

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HEPM staff members giving program introduction

The first two weeks were devoted for microeconomics. This was mainly to help us easily understand the rest of the course. We had a very engaging lectures and classroom exercises, with a guest lecturer. I was getting confused easily but having group discussions with classmates has helped me a lot (thank you my group mates!).

In the third week, we get to the main subject matter of the course with the course leader (Prof. Clas Rehnberg). The longest time was devoted for the wide topic ‘health care financing and reimbursement’. i.e. we have been talking a lot about the relationship between health care service ‘custumers’, service providers and third party payers. I can say that the following slide is the most important slide of the course.

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Economic relationships embeded in health care

It is possible to write several chapters, if not a book, departing from this slide. We had also other interesting topics that you may not easily learn from this figure. These include: equity in health, the pharmaceutical market, health systems in low and middle-income countries, etc.

In the course, we had one individual and one group assignment. The individual assignment aimed at giving us some skill of analyzing and interpreting equity in health from a given data set. I would say that knowing basics of excel would be good though you could have the chance to attend the excel classes arranged for the course. The group assignment was analysis and discussion of the health care financing and reimbursement in eight countries selected by the groups. It was a very important assignment that helped us digest the course.

The first health economics course has gone this way. I will be eagerly waiting the second one in the third semester. For those prospective students who lack the patience to wait, I would recommend reading the well-written text book (Morris et al., 2012).

The following are some pictures from the group assignment presentation session:

Canada 20141118_115742Germany 20141118_115405

Israel 20141118_110322New Zealand 20141118_120202

Sweden

Sweden

UK 20141118_115308

USA

USA

If you have any questions about the program or application related issues, feel free to contact me (befikadu.wubishet@stud.ki.se).

Bye for today!

Befikadu.

The story of my application

Hello everyone,

Since it’s getting darker every day and you can hardly spot any sunlight passing through the sky, I decided to write something more informative about studying at Karolinska Institutet. As for now, Tox students are dealing with their last PBL case, focused on reproductive toxicology, so most of the time during a ‘day’ we are at the campus, having lectures or working in small groups. We also have to mentally prepare for 5-day-long home exam that starts on Tuesday and consists of 5 problems that we have to solve using available scientific literature and textbooks.

When it comes to the application to KI, I think I did none of the things that were recommended when applying to the Institute (typical of me). When the application process started, I certainly didn’t even know I want to study here spending all the time finishing my Bachelor degree back in Poland. Anyway, the only thing I knew was that I want to do my Master’s degree abroad therefore I had been already preparing for the IELTS exam, that was scheduled on the 9th of December in Kraków. I knew about the existence of KI and the fact I can study there for free made that place even more attractive. Nevertheless, since IELTS results were compulsory to process your application to KI, I didn’t care to do anything about this until December.

I went to Kraków on the 7th of December and stayed at my friend’s place, as my oral part was scheduled for the day after. The next day, just after completing the speaking part, I was so discontented with myself that I still remember eating Double Whopper at BurgerKing almost bursting into tears with thoughts such as my life has no purpose… At the same time though, my hopeless position (I’m good at making drama), made me so relaxed that I felt quite satisfied with the written parts that took place the following day.

After two weeks I finally got my results, which actually were very good, and started thnking more seriously about my application process. I filled in the online application on University Admissions page, and then I saw something like: Copy of your diploma… Please, no, I knew I wouldn’t have gotten my diploma until April! Fortunately, I mailed KI then and got information that the certificate stating the date of your graduation would suffice. After this time I forgot about application for some time again, because I had my thesis defence on the 8th of January 2014.

Since I defended my thesis, I have started collecting all the documents and going with them to the most expensive photocopying point, called notary, including certificate of graduation, IELTS exam report and transcript of records. I also went to my friend who authorized the copy of my passport (she was quite astounded that she can certify the validity of some documents and asked me: What should I say in case they call me? I didn’t know at all what should she say, but luckily, they didn’t call her. Now, the only thing left was to fill in the online CV form and print it.

If I’m not mistaken, it was on the 10th of January night when I started filling in the CV form. I didn’t make any drafts because I didn’t have time for them. I spent the whole night creating my most unprofessional and unprepared document of my life (maybe it’s making a drama again). After struggling with several printers, as obviously none of them wanted to be friendly to me at the time, I collected my package and went to the post office. Unfortunately, it was raining heavily so the address, cleverly written using fountain pen, became blurred on the envelope. With help from the post officer though, we exchanged the envelope and finally I could send my application to the University Admissions in Sweden!

Lastly, after my application was sent, I forgot about studyng at KI till March, when the notification of the selection results were published.

Best,

Radek

Why did I choose Bioentrepreneurship?

This blog is inspired by James, who wrote Why I am pursing a master’s degree in health informatics.

After studying twos months in MBE (Master of Bioentrepreneurship), I want to take this opportunity to reflect upon my study so far.

Trained to be a Biochemist, my bachelor education focuses on logic thinking, deduction, laboratory skills and memorisation etc. Biology was what I like out of all subjects when I studied in secondary school. However, studying to be a Biochemist was not entirely what I liked to do at university. I was more interested in organizing projects and courses in humanities and social sciences.  There were situations when I feel depressed when I stepped into the labs. ‘There must be something wrong’, this thought came to my mind at the third year of my study. Unlike some classmates, I didn’t feel enthusiastic about lab practice and even felt bored with lectures. Then I decided to take a break and applied for exchange program in Germany. 

In the winter of 2013, I started as a student in Technische Biologie in Stuttgart University. As an exchange student, I had much more spare time to think about my study, future, career and everything. I also started own research project in the lab. Things were getting slower but better. It is during this period that I start to reflect my strengths and weakness, what I feel most motivated in the past years, what I feel comfortable working with. I started analyzing myself more than I ever did.

The result was the application for MBE, as I found myself more suitable working with people than test tubes. I imagined the ideal career I was most enthusiastic about and most qualified for. I realised that I wanted to publicize science from an industrial perspective. Another important goal of mine was to bridge Western life science industry to China. Moreover, I felt motivated when conducting a cross-cultural project. Therefore, I decided to learn about the life science industry and MBE was my choice.

MBE program is not knowledge-based, but rather practice-based. ‘To learn the work’ is the golden principle. As one of the few programs about Bioentrepreneurship worldwide, it gives you more opportunities to learn the real life. The more I study in this program, I feel more dedicated to limitless opportunities outside academia and university. 

Enough advertising so far, I am very happy to be with the MBE family, where we share common educational background and common expectations on future career. MBE is very young and grow up year by year. Our aim is to be the proud alumni of KI from life science industry!