We met Digital Business student Patricio from Mexico City to talk about his journey to and from Hyper Island.
Patricio, who is 30 years old, came to Stockholm last year to study the Digital Business program. Before that, he was working in a Digital Agency for 7 years and had studied Communications for his Bachelor’s.
“It was during my time at the digital agency that I first got introduced to Hyper Island. My then boss had done a master class at Hyper Island in New York and was applying some of the tools she had learned to our work. It made total sense for me. I liked that leadership style, as it was similar to what I had started to develop.”
Patricio explained that it was then that he started doing more research on Hyper Island. The more he found, the more it felt like the right thing for him.
“Everything that I found out whilst working with new business and strategy in real-life was very much in line with Hyper Island’s teachings. I realized more and more that the formal studies i had had before during my Bachelor’s, although interesting, weren’t super helpful in my day-to-day work. I had learned most of what I was applying to my job by testing it myself. When I started it was a start-up environment with only 3 people. We had to be self-sufficient.”
Patricio, who originally tried to get into Circus Studies in Canada, had spent his first year after High School studying photography. Having a strong interest in various things, he decided to go for a Communications Bachelor because of the bredth of the field.
“What got me excited about communication was the fact that it touched on so many interesting things: Design, advertising, marketing...I liked the idea of becoming more specialized whilst still staying open to different impulses.”
As he started working during his Bachelor, it took Patricio about 5 years to go back to school - and this time it was to Hyper Island.
“I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to study at Hyper Island, but I also wanted to be prepared and I had to save money for the tuition fee. I also thought about doing an MBA for a while. What bothered me about doing an MBA was that you get shut-off from the Industry for 2 years and you risk seriously falling behind. At Hyper Island that risk doesn’t exist, as you closely collaborate with the industry throughout your studies. I didn’t want to risk falling behind in the real world while trying to get ahead academically.”
When the Digital Business program came around, Patricio knew it was a perfect match. It combined his interest for different fields of business with a spark of creativity.
“All the Hyper alumni I met were doing great things and they encouraged me to take the leap myself.”
After Patricio had made his decision, applied and been accepted into his top-choice program, he prepared for his move to Stockholm.
“I have mixed feelings about Stockholm. I had different expectations before coming here - both culture-wise and citywise. I occasionally struggle between the tech forefront mindset of the industry here and the actual size of the city. I also think it would be interesting to see how a school like Hyper Island would evolve and influence business in a warmer place. I have felt like the darkness in Sweden influences my energy and other’s and hence the whole flow of things. So then I wonder, how would things be if we were in Mexico where it’s warm all year around?
Patricio lived in Paris for a year before coming to Stockholm, so moving here wasn’t his first expat experience. He says that after he got a hang of things like e.g. the housing system, he found it easy to settle in.
“Going to Stockholm wasn’t as hard as I had imagined. But I want to say one thing: there is this myth going around that you don’t need to learn Swedish here because everyone speaks English and is comfortable with that. Even though this is true, I believe not learning the local language is wrong. You reach a whole different level with people when you speak their language. I’m learning Swedish and I’d encourage anyone coming here to try the same. There are many free options to learn the language here, like for example SFI (Swedish for Immigrants).”
As Hyper Island mixes international students with students from the Nordics, it’s easy to get close to locals.
“In Paris, I only had fellow expat friends. People kept leaving and suddenly you would be alone again. That sucked. In Sweden that hasn’t happened to me, because we international students are deeply integrated with local students. It is super helpful to connect more with the local culture as well.”
Patricio is almost done with his studies at Hyper Island and would like to stay in Europe. For him it depends on how his work develops. He says that thanks to Hyper Island, he has a strong network in Sweden now which he would like to broaden by going to different places in Europe. He’d love to work not only with different clients but also with different cultures.
“What I appreciate about Sweden is that it is so liberal. Even if you work full-time you still get to have plenty of freedom. It’s more difficult where I'm from.”
Patricio’s next aim is to be an entrepreneur. As he’s interested in so many different aspects of business, he feels like this is a natural progression for him. He’d like to focus more on e-commerce or tech to work with more tangible skills.
“I also want to make sure I continue to develop strong soft-skills for culture, digital transformation, and facilitation. I don’t mind working for someone else, but during my studies at Hyper Island I have realized that I have skills on various levels that allow me to aim for more freedom in my work. Since coming here, I have really built up my confidence in my own abilities and am now feeling very self-sufficient. For example, I have the knowledge and skills to develop a product myself now. And I have also learned where to get knowledge that I need and may not have right now.”
Working with real clients on real problems is what differentiates Hyper Island from most other schools. It’s also the part that Patricio appreciates the most about the school.
“I can’t pinpoint a single favorite experience here, but I really enjoy working with clients. Especially when they appreciate what you do and how you do it. There is an authenticity in that that is very rewarding. Sometimes clients reach out again because they want to learn even more. That’s when you see the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Hyper luckily really supports this process. For example, I’m in a mentoring project now where we get paired up with working professionals at Electrolux to learn from each other. It’s great!”
If Patricio could say something to anyone considering coming to Hyper Island he would tell them to come with an open mind.
“You need to be aware that you will get just as much from Hyper Island as you are willing to invest. For me, this is the main difference between this place and traditional schools. You don’t get a list of things that you’re expected to do. You can do as much or as little as you like. It’s all up to you. That’s what makes the whole experience both unique and incredibly valuable.”
Check out Patricio's current project, creating sustainable strategies for companies.
* EU residents can still apply to all full-time programs in Sweden