”The hamburger is good, let´s go for two of that one” Viktor Tägil has thoroughly gone through the lunch menu to explain which courses on the menu that are tasty on Restaurant Marlowe, apparently all of them. Marlowe is a popular restaurant in the SOMA district in San Francisco. It is close to the SACC-SF/SVs office, which is convenient for both of us, and for Viktor it gives him a chance to reminisce since he was in my shoes as an intern at SACC-SF/SV three years ago.

Viktor has a degree in International Business from Copenhagen Business School and he is currently working for CLX Communications as a Customer Success Manager which he laughs about explaining that the titles the company uses are American even if the company is Swedish. He is working with customer relations and sales in the telecom business. But Viktor has not gone straight from studies in Scandinavia and across the Atlantic. No, his path to get here is with pit stops in many parts of the world.

Viktor is originally from Lund, southern Sweden, but when he was fifteen his interest in an international career and future began. This was when his family moved to Australia for a year. After graduation from High School in Lund he wanted to continue exploring so he went on a long trip in Asia. China was the place that caught his attention the most and when he came back to Sweden he immediately looked for a way to return back to China and found a one-year language program in Beijing. He started his new adventure by moving in with a local Chinese family and without knowing a word of Chinese, and the family not knowing a word of English, they managed to communicate through sign language in for the first couple of months. Eventually he learned the language and fell in love with the culture.

“China has been a major part of my adult life. And it has formed me in many ways” Finding an interest for business in China he started the bachelors program in International Business on Copenhagen Business School. Though every summer he returned to China for different internships within electronics and sales.

“I had just graduated from CBS, was a summer intern in Shanghai and was actually planning on staying in China when I saw an opportunity to intern at the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco/Silicon Valley. Immediately after I read the description and researched the area I realized that I had to go. San Francisco and the Bay Area seemed to share the same dynamic spirit that initially attracted me to China. I felt like it would be a great asset to have experience working from both areas and it just felt like the natural next step. I immediately wrote my application because San Francisco just sounded more exciting than China at the moment… And it was.”

Viktor tells me he had his first interview with SACC-SF/SV in a hotel room in the middle of the night in Shanghai “In San Francisco things happens fast, I went home to Sweden for one week and then moved straight to San Francisco” Viktor loved the city and the internship from the beginning. Coming to SACC-SF/SV was a perfect step before heading to a international career. This is because of the mix of an American and Swedish business culture as well as the support from the CEO Helena Kristersson who provided him with the tools and contacts for doing his work and start building the foundation to a future career. In San Francisco it is in all aspects important to get yourself a mentor and advisor for how to get around in this Area and network. For the interns at SACC-SF/SV Helena takes on this role. Viktor explains how working with SACC provided him with the right experience to take his own initiatives in a workplace and be confident and responsible. These traits and SACC-SF/SV’s big network helped Viktor to get in contact with a lot of interesting and helpful people in the Bay Area which helped him with the chance to stay. Thru the Chamber he got his first internship at a communications firm and was later recruited by one of its competitors, a Swedish company. He started working for them in Stockholm but was moved back to San Francisco when the company expanded. “I want to stay here, the business I am in is really interesting and I think that it will just get more and more intense especially in this area. Being in San Francisco always makes you be on your toes.”

We are talking about Viktor´s best personality features that made him come this far and accomplish an international career and he believes it is about his tenacity and resilience that got him here. He explains that if you really want something it is possible to get it. You just have to be determined and find the right people to help you. Viktor also gave me the advice not to be scared to try new things, “If you can not decide what you want, at least decide to try” Your choices does not have to define your life, and even if you do not know where you want to end up you will be one step closer to knowing if you have tried at least one option”