Report from Stockholm: part 1 of 3

When I came here I agreed with the former Director of the MBA program I made in Colombia that I will keep him updated in my experience in Sweden. After five months I finally prepared a very long email that I have translated to share it with you. There are some corrections, updates and cuts from the Spanish original one. I will post it in three parts during a week. The first and second parts are a description and the last one has something of my own impressions, projects, fears and thoughts. The first one is short, the second one longer and the last is the longest.

If you want to read the original in Spanish is, complete, in


Hi Luis, I wish that 2014 is being a great year and that the future is even better. As you invited me some time ago to keep you updated on what was happening with my studies in Stockholm, I take this step of writing this long e mail that, as it is not urgent at all, could be read in several moments. It is more descriptive that analytic or critic. Let’s begin.

It is other thing to study the MBA in Universidad de los Andes* in Bogotá that studying this Master in Public Health at Karolinska Institute. Not only because of being in a different country and studying in other language but, obviously, the style and the focus are very different as well as the methods. For instance, here you see one course at a time and not several simultaneous by cycle or semester, as we are used to have in Colombia. In that way we got a whole immersion and the student is only thinking in one matter at a time. It, of course, is a double sided coin because at the end of each course, if it is long, you could be exhausted and saturated. The master program is organized by semesters and not by cycles as the MBA and between the first and second semester there is only one weekend. Basically, the semester finishes a Friday with the last class or exam of the last course and the next Monday you start the following semester with the new course. Each semester has 20 weeks. The second semester finishes the first week of June and the third begins the first week of September. There is no formal Christmas break but teachers try to arrange workload and mandatory sessions to allow the studens to have at least one week in their home countries. There is no either Spring break. Despite of this, students manage to travel sometimes during the weekends and using days dedicated to self or group study. It is in student’s own responsibilty to fulfill the course goals.

Depending of the course coordinators and if the matter allows it, there is more than one teacher and invited lecturers. In my Introduction to Public Health course I had at least ten different lecturers. Commonly, attendance to lectures is not mandatory nor a number of absences that cause the course failing. This also depends on the design of the each course but in general the only mandatory sessions are the first (the registration), practical exercises and workshops, seminars and examinations. Our cohort in the Health Economy, Policy and Management track usually have very good attendance to lectures but for other Master some teachers have complained about absenteeism, something that could be embarrassing when there are invited lecturers.

Second part will be published next Monday. I will talk about tests, examinations and evaluations

*Universidad de Los Andes, in English

MBA at Uniandes (In Spanish)

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