Bioentrepreneurship alumna Camilla steps outside her comfort zone to drive innovation
Name: Camilla Tran
Degree: Master's in Bioentrepreneurship (2018)
Current role: Innovation Enablement at Ericsson ONE
Based: Stockholm, Sweden
What is your background educational experience?
I have a joint Bachelor's degree in Biosciences and Nutrition from KI and Stockholm University. The program focused on medical and clinical nutrition and was very research heavy as it aimed to prepare us for research. During my studies, I realized that doing research wasn’t where I saw myself in the long run, nor where I felt I could add value with my capabilities and passion. For me, it was both mind-boggling and rewarding to understand science and think of how that could be applied to improve everyday life, and I wanted to look for opportunities at this interface.
Why did you choose KI for your Master's?
During my Bachelor’s studies, I was living in a student dorm and had a great opportunity to interact with both Swedish and international students. I was thrilled to learn that there was a Master’s programme at KI in Bioentrepreneurship that is tailored for people like me with a science background who wanted to combine it with business, innovation and management.
Learning about the programme where science and business is combined was like the day you find the perfect recipe of a sauce or the perfect fitting pair of jeans! It all just felt so right and perfect for me, which it turned out to be!
In addition, KI is a highly ranked medical university with fantastic professors and students from across the world. The choice was obvious for me - I wanted to learn and work with the best. In general, students at KI are high-achieving curious people so the opportunity to study with international students and exchange experiences, competence, skill sets, and perspectives was another strong reason why I chose KI.
Learning about the programme where science and business is combined was like the day you find ... the perfect fitting pair of jeans!
Describe your experience at KI.
This Master’s programme was “the hand in the glove” for me. In short, we were trained to bridge two disciplines in order to commercialize ideas, products and/ or solutions within the life science industry and be a catalyst for innovation. I had great fun during my Master’s and would not hesitate to repeat it!
For me, the best part of my Master’s was the fact that I could interact with such a diverse set of people with various backgrounds, fields of expertise, cultures and experiences. In my class, we had medical professionals, nutritionists, biologists, bio- and medical engineers. That mix gave a great synergy throughout our studies where we all came with different perspectives, understandings and insights. We broadened our own horizons but also enhanced our innovative ability to think outside the box as we continuously challenged each other's thoughts!
My time at KI was very rewarding professionally because we were also encouraged to network from day one. Through networking, we expanded our horizons by learning and sharing from one another.
After you graduated from KI, what was your next step and how did you find this opportunity?
As I went through my Master’s program, I embraced all opportunities – lectures, internships, group work - to get a taste of my own capabilities and strongest interest. I did a lot of networking during the program, and carefully chose my internships in different companies. All my internships were highly rewarding and gave me a great sense of where my strengths and interests were, which also laid a great foundation for my career after my studies.
After graduation, I was lucky! I stumbled upon my first employer, CGI, an IT and management consulting firm, where I worked in a national team focusing primarily in eHealth. They gave me a great opportunity to be part of constructing with support of technology the future healthcare together with their clients. The opportunity was too good to turn down, especially as my understanding and passion for the possibilities of technology and human health grew stronger at the end of my Master's.
What is your current role?
I work with innovation enablement at Ericsson in our internal incubator or venture studio called Ericsson ONE. My team and I focus on building new businesses and emerging technologies by investing in Ericsson employees and ideas coming from within. In my role as Innovation enabler, I work in the early phase of our innovation process with sourcing new ideas and managing activation activities to stimulate awareness of Ericsson ONE.
I also provide our “intrapreneurs” with the right tools and skill sets to proceed with their ideas and eventually create their first MVP. My role is very mixed - I am involved in marketing, building a strong brand, stimulating innovation and coaching intrapreneurs with their projects.
Describe a day on the job.
I love my job, even more so because I am so far out of my comfort zone! I believe that being out of your comfort zone is the best indication of growth. In fact, I started my new role at Ericsson during the pandemic which has been my biggest challenge of 2020.
The most challenging part is the lack of having the close and personal interaction with people. I miss having the chance to actually connect and really get to know my colleagues.
Despite the challenge of virtual meetings, I meet new people every day and hear new cool ideas, which is a lot of fun! It is incredible to be able to observe someone’s passion and how they transition from a fear of stepping into uncharted territories to an excitement of sharing and developing their idea into a product.
How did your studies at KI help your career development?
The Bioentreprenuership programme has helped me a lot! I would say the program was very good in preparing us for the world outside of academia by providing us with the right tools that the industry might demand. One strong set of skills I gained at KI was a diverse approach to problem solving, critical thinking and how to lean on fact-based decisions.
What are your future aspirations?
To continuously explore and learn, and grow as a person. My aspiration is to be part of a company that has strong values, a vision and purpose to contribute to making this world better! I also want to be at a workplace that challenges me as an employee, and ensures that I am learning and growing.
For now, I am very happy to be at Ericsson and exploring the future with a great bunch of curious and brave people!
What is your advice to current students?
Take the time to explore the market – try to understand what the needs are and what companies are trying to achieve. Ask yourself how you see your own contribution. Use that as your pitch to land your first job!
Do not be afraid to sell yourself high. Show that you are hungry and quick to learn, and don’t be afraid to share your perspectives.
Most importantly, as a student, take the opportunity to ask plenty of questions along the way.
Editors note: Camilla grew up as a competitive swimmer. She feels that the mentality of being an athlete gave her a sense of discipline, ability to be resilient and capacity to visualizing goals. Moreover, as a swim coach to kids, she had a leadership role where she realized the importance of being a role model. “I realized how important my actions and behavior were for their achievements. I apply these experiences today in my current role!”