11 March 2022

Mohammad Habibi Savadkoohi from Iran is studying the master’s programme Strategic Urban and Regional Planning at Linköping University (LiU). He has arranged to do an internship at an international consulting company – something which has opened up a lot of paths for his future.

"My CV and my career plans have been greatly improved", Mohammad Habibi Savadkoohi says about the opportunity to an internship. Golnaz Mirheidari

A fantastic opportunity

“To be able to do an internship during my master’s has been fantastic. My CV and my career plans have been greatly improved, and I am hoping to get a permanent job after graduating this spring.”

Mohammad Habibi Savadkoohi has a wide-ranging architectural training from Tehran University, and he has also been a guest researcher for a year at Södertörn University. That year spent in Sweden left him wanting more. In the autumn of 2020, he applied to the master’s programme Strategic Urban and Regional Planning at LiU.

“It's always hard to move to a new country. But Sweden has been perfect for me and my wife. The cities, the weather... everything is good. The people here are so helpful and kind hearted.”

Mohammed admits that he hesitated somewhat about whether this master’s programme, which focuses on issues of building the societies of the future, would suit his academic background. During his time at Södertörn, his interest for urban planning began to grow – but nonetheless, he was still hesitant.

“But I'm so glad that I applied. The design of this programme has been fantastic, and I've really learnt a lot during these close to two years.”

Polished portfolio and CV

Prior to the programme’s third term, students may apply for internships with companies that suit the programme’s profile. The students themselves are responsible for the whole application process. For Mohammad Habibi Savadkoohi, it has been an exciting and transformative journey – from the very start.

Through his contacts, he had become interested in AFRY, an international consulting company with almost 20,000 employees around the world and a head office in Stockholm. He polished up his portfolio and CV.

“Unfortunately, I was rejected at first, as they said they didn't have any internship places at the time. But after just a few days, they rang me again and, after an interview, I was given a place.”

Mohammad left Östergötland for Stockholm after the summer of 2021. The internship at AFRY was very successful, and Mohammad was involved in three or four different projects. The internship resulted in Mohammad writing his master’s thesis at the company during the fourth term of his programme last spring. All this at the same time as having gained hourly employment as a strategic planner on one of the projects.

“The fact that university allows us to apply to internships has been fantastic. Otherwise, I wouldn't have got this job, and my future career would have been less successful. But now my future plans feel more stable, and I'm hoping to be able to get a permanent job here. Even if I don't get a job at this company, my CV has been given a real boost, so I hope that I will be more attractive for other companies in the future.”

Starting his own company

Now, Mohammad's plans post-graduation are really starting to take shape. Alongside his studies, Mohammad and his wife have recently registered their own company which they hope will begin growing soon.

“My wife is also a trained architect, but she is more artistic and has done freelance work as an illustrator. I am not so artistic, so my role in the company will probably involve taking care of everything else so that my wife can focus on the artistic aspect.”

With family in Iran and Canada, the feeling of missing them will always be there. But the idea is that Sweden will be their base in the future.

“Yes, that is our goal. But we'll see. Maybe we’ll move to Canada in five to ten years. But right now, we hope to be able to stay and work here in Sweden”, says Mohammad Habibi Savadkoohi. "The design of the Strategic Urban and Regional-programme has been fantastic, and I've really learnt a lot during these close to two years.”, Mohammad says. Photo credit THOR BALKHED


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