Are American or Swedish students a better talent?


Steve Jobs hire smart people to be told what to do

Since we launched in the summer of 2015, we’ve made a move to focus more actively on Stockholm than Los Angeles. You can read more about the reason here, but let’s now focus on highlighting the differences between the two countries, and especially between American and Swedish students. Who is really a better talent to add to your team?

”To understand the difference in American and Swedish students and why there is a difference, it’s important to understand the differences in the way the two education systems works”, says Petra Sundell, founder and CEO of Upbeater. “For example, higher education in Sweden is free and Swedish students also get grants from the governmental organization CSN to cover some additional costs, while Americans students must rely on their parents or the hopes of getting a scholarship to cover their tuition fee and living expenses.”

Why does that matter?

Well as a start, it means that American students don’t take anything for granted. They know that if they want to get somewhere in life and succeed, they need to work hard and grab the opportunities that are presented for them.

The same ambition is a rarity when it comes to Swedish students who rather focus on being students while in school, and start to think about “the after-school life” just in time before the school is out.

This means that American students in general are likelier to take on projects that could help them gain valuable working experience and help them reach their career goals from start. They understand the importance and value the benefits that can comes from saying yes to an opportunity in a much larger scale than Swedish students does.

The quality is in favor of the Swedes

But it’s also important to understand the education system in itself. Why? Because Swedish tuition is on average much better suited to prepare students for a professional career than the American tuition. While the curriculum in Sweden involves practical elements, like internships, case studies, and the applying of school projects on real scenarios, American students are taken through a much more academic and theoretical path of knowledge.

When they leave school, Swedes are therefore much better prepared to jump right into the work and tasks of the position. It also makes them better prepared to handle higher level positions which works well in the linear organization society of Sweden. American students however, are on a larger scale in need of internships, trainee programs, and entry level positions to start of their career and work their way up.

The Pros & Cons

American students show more ambition, drive and eagerness to get as good of a start to their career as possible. They are not afraid of working hard, have an attitude of a “go getter”, and will give everything in their power to deliver great results and show off their talent.
But unfortunately, due to the lack of professional knowledge of newly grads and the way the society is built, the fresh perspective and newly acquired academic knowledge is too often lost in the set processes of organizations and the way a lower level employee is not encouraged to bring new solutions to the table.

Swedish students, on the other hand, will deliver a much higher professional level right from the start. If a Swedish student say that they can deliver a certain level of quality, you can rest assure that they have the ability to do so – and probably even at a higher level than what they first say.
But with a too laid back attitude, that also derives from a parachute-society and that some industries lack talent, the drive that can help them go the extra mile in their performance to deliver exceptional value for organizations is sometimes lacking.

”Of course we know that we’re generalizing, but I think it’s interesting to shred some light on what triggers students from different cultures to be innovative, hardworking and successful” Petra continue. From her previous work at Study Abroad and UCLA Extension’s International Students Office, working with American, European and Australian colleges and universities, helping students from all over the world choose the right career path and get accepted into the programs, Petra has learned to understand what drives students from different cultures.

An American-Swedish student hybrid is what to look for

Their is no way to say that one or the other is better as both set of skills and qualities is important for the performance of great result. At Upbeater, we look for a combination of both. Our students should be exceptionally talented and possess a high level of quality in their work, but they also need to show a drive and passion to deliver their very best and desire and eagerness to grow and build a strong portfolio.

These students are often found at more practical school in the US, like General Assembly, Otis College of Art and Design, etc. while in Sweden, international students with a slightly different mentality could be a great resource.