Jessica Comte, Master’s in Information Systems
Jessica Comte, what did you study at Karlstad Business School?
- The Bachelor’s programme in IT, Project Management and ERP Systems from 2018 to 2020, and the Master’s programme in Information Systems from 2020 to 2022.
Why did a Master’s programme at Karlstad Business School appeal to you?
- I already had a career when I was looking for programmes, and I needed my studies to be 100% remote. I had a degree in digital visualisation and had also studied physics and web development without completing the programmes. I always had an interest in technology and IT. I applied to the Bachelor’s in IT, Project Management and ERP Systems, which was fully remote. It was perfect for me since I wanted to focus on project management.
I then became more interested in database design, programming, interaction design, and UML. Karlstad Business School offered master-level studies. Around the same time, I had an internship at ABB where I met managers who strongly recommended I pursue a Master’s degree. So I did, and Karlstad Business School enabled me to complete a Master’s remotely.
How well did the programme prepare you for working life?
- I initially didn't feel fully prepared for my position, because my education didn’t completely match the qualifications, but I feel differently about it now. Sure, I am new to these duties and I have to become familiar with a new environment, programming language, and various industry processes. But ABB offers a wide range of in-house training to their new employees. New employees also get a mentor for about two years, someone to help you navigate different projects until you are ready to stand on your own two feet.
My main duties are in the field of control systems and programming, but they also include being out in the field and meeting with clients. My role in the project encompasses the development of functional analyses, programming, testing on behalf of the client, and on-site implementation. This requires an extensive set of technical skills, which my studies provided me with. In five years, I developed broad and in-depth knowledge in information systems with a focus on relevant and up-to-date subjects that gave me insight into future trends and challenges.
What do you do now?
- I am an application engineer at ABB in Process Industries - Service in Malmfälten (Gällivare in Norrbotten). I develop and implement control systems for industrial processes and applications. The work entails analysing client needs, configuring and programming control systems, integrating technical components, testing and troubleshooting systems, and offering technical support to clients.
We spend a lot of time in the field with the clients to understand what they need and demand from a control system, so we can customise solutions for their processes and applications. People usually work with both hardware and software, but my office has separated the tasks and I work exclusively with software. I still get to see and learn about the hardware, but it’s not my specialty.
ABB is a global leader in the development of innovative technology to promote a sustainable future. They integrate software and products in the areas of electrification, robotics, automation, and motion to create advanced solutions that pave the way for the next level of technological achievement. ABB is very much involved in the local community in Norrbotten and works to support the region’s green transition in partnership with local organisations and businesses such as the Hybrit project, LKAB (SUM, Sustainable Underground Mining), SSAB, and Northvolt to name a few.
In the area of Process Industries and Service, ABB offers customised solutions and services for clients in industry. This includes everything from electrification, drive system and automation solutions, quality management of material for production and planning systems for entire factories, as well as advanced analysis systems and service.
How useful would you say your studies have been?
- Honestly, incredibly useful. My Master’s degree was part of the reason I got the job I currently have. The Bachelor’s programme had a lot of project and groupwork elements and gave me a broad and solid foundation that absolutely prepared me well for professional life. My undergraduate studies gave me the chance to develop skills in areas like project management, programming, business development, HCI design, and the acquisition of information systems.
From my Master’s, I gained deeper knowledge and a new level of competence in terms of detail analysis, reflection, and discussion. This has been especially useful to me given my technical and practical focus. These are skills I honed for two years, which has helped me a lot. The Master’s programme also provided me with insight into the future and presented the latest research in my field of information systems, specifically human-centred AI, which was the topic of my Master’s thesis.
Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking about studying at Karlstad Business School?
- I would strongly urge you to pursue a Master’s degree. It adds value and weight to your CV when you look for work after your studies. The extra year or two will be compensated for by the positive impact on your career.
I was a distance student, and it is crucial to maintain a steady pace and develop good study habits in your everyday life. The Bachelor’s programme had a practical focus and gave us experience working with real projects. Carrying those out was relatively void of friction, since we worked in groups and felt an obligation towards our fellow students to pull our weight. The Master’s programme was geared towards in-depth exploration and contemporary research. There was significantly more reading and reflection required than in the Bachelor’s programme. I had to devote a lot of time to understanding various phenomena and learning how to write well. That was my weakness, but I kept at it and had a lot of support from the teachers.
The Master’s programme was taught in English, but any lack of confidence I may have had in the language did not affect my results. I could lean on my teachers and my fellow students for support. The most important thing was being able to convincingly present my arguments and ideas. Over time, I improved both my written and oral proficiency. Knowing English well is important in my field, since it’s the global industry language.
I’d also like to highlight the importance of corporate connections for internships or degree projects. Doing my Bachelor’s project and internship at ABB gave me a lot of valuable insight into professional life and allowed me to build a network. This can greatly help your chances of getting a job after your studies.
And finally, even if you want to change your focus mid-programme, I would still advise you to complete the programme. As a new employee, you will get in-house training and mentors until you are ready to take on your own projects.
How do you view the future?
- I am happy at ABB. I like working as an application engineer and am particularly impressed by the wide range of professional development that ABB offers. Not to mention how exciting it is to witness the substantial investments ABB makes in the green transition, especially here in northern Sweden where industry plays a crucial role in the shift to a more sustainable future.