Getting an Internship at Ericsson
Internships are a great way to gain hands-on experience in your field while also deepening your understanding of the coursework you covered in your degree. Students at Chalmers have fantastic opportunities to get into contact with companies in their field. In fact, the “employability” of Chalmers students is one of the very best in Sweden, as rated by QS Graduate Employability Rankings (you can read more about it here
). The reason for this is, in part, because Chalmers has excellent contact with industry partners and works actively to give students the opportunity to connect to job opportunities in their field. I had the chance to speak to Ericsson at one of these opportunities, namely the Charm career fair
(which was held digitally in 2021).
However, what first drew me to Ericsson was one of their proposed master’s thesis topics. I applied for it, but heard during the interview stage that I was technically too early in my master’s programme (in year 1 of 2) to pursue this opportunity with Ericsson. Instead, we worked out a new solution where I would apply and take part in the summer internship programme, with the possibility of pursuing a thesis with the same team once I had covered more coursework. I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to join the Ericsson team in this way, as the openings for their summer internship programme are famously limited and under very strong competition! What I found interesting is that the recruitment team prioritized finding the right “fit” for their team not only in terms of technical skill, but also in terms of personality and soft skills. For example, it’s important to be a team player at Ericsson, but it’s also important to be able to take initiative in your assigned work and be able to work independently. It is also worth mentioning that my lack of Swedish proficiency was in no means a barrier to the internship because Ericsson, like many of the large companies in Sweden, have adopted English as the unofficial “office language”.
Internships and Covid Regulations
As with so many activities in 2020-2021, the internship planning had to play second fiddle to what the Covid regulations dictated. Ericsson takes the health and safety of their employees very seriously and still implements very strict rules regarding Covid protocol. For example, masks had to be worn inside the building at all times, unless you were sitting alone at your desk. If your work can be done remotely, it is recommended that you avoid going to the office altogether.
What I found particularly interesting is that Ericsson is researching the possibility of continuing with this hybrid work style even after Covid restrictions have been lifted. Ericsson wants to offer their employees the flexibility of working from home, while also finding a way for colleagues to interact socially and collaborate creatively. Currently research is being done within the company to try and understand the needs of individual employees and to find a balanced office model in which most of those needs can be met. This will most probably consist of a mixture of remote and in-office work schedules in the future.
Expectations and Responsibilities
Although much of the work that I was involved in could be done remotely, I was invited to get to know the office in Lindholmen Science Park during my first week. Despite being a young and relatively inexperienced student intern, my colleagues in the office treated me as one of the team. I took part in meetings, was asked for my input in current work developments, and was invited to lunches and outings. I was on a first-name basis with everyone
, including my direct mentor as well as the team manager – just like I am on a first-name basis with my professors at Chalmers. It was a fantastic opportunity to build connections and learn from engineers that have years of experience behind their name.
The expectations of the work I had to do were clearly stated at the start of my internship: I was to investigate the usefulness of EM (electromagnetic) simulation techniques for a specific EM shielding challenge in their product development. I was expected to show independent time management and planning skills, as well as report regularly on project progress. To provide me with the needed technical support, I had personal meetings with my mentor team twice weekly, as well as regular check-ins with the team manager to make sure that my expectations were being met. The work was challenging and frustrating at times and pushed me to look for new solutions outside my comfort zone. However, because of the regular contact and support with my team, I never felt like there was a problem I couldn’t solve, and never felt stressed out about my workload.
The Fun Stuff
An internship at Ericsson is about more than just work – it’s about getting to know the Ericsson community, building connections, and figuring out if the job is a right fit for you. To accommodate this, Ericsson set up a summer programme for interns to get to know each other. Activities were split into four categories: exercise, cooking, reading, and after-work. Interns could choose to join one or more of the communities and take part in activities such as the summer work-out challenge, international cooking competition, weekly book club, or an after-work “Among Us” hangout. This meant that, despite the strict Covid regulations, I still had a chance to connect with other students and interns from all around Sweden.
Advice for Prospective Interns
Looking back at these last three months, I am proud of my time at Ericsson and what I have accomplished. At times the work was difficult and frustrating (especially when my friends were out enjoying the Swedish summer!), but I am proud of myself for sticking it out. My advice for prospective interns is to always be honest and to be yourself. Not only is this important during the application process, but also during your time at Ericsson. I challenged myself to be brutally honest about my project progress during each meeting, especially about the parts of the work that I was struggling with or didn’t understand. What this meant is that I could get help when and where I needed it most, and I was never once looked down upon because of it. It’s been one of the many lessons that I have learned in my time at Ericsson, for which I am so grateful for!