Luciana Terceiro

UX & User Reseach

My Hyper Island journey

Business Developer Program 2018 – 2019

Between 2018 and 2019, I had the opportunity to attend the Business Developer program at Hyper Island. When I was considering attending school, I had a lot of questions. How was the school? How was the program? How did it work for real? At that time, I looked for articles and testimonials to help me in this decision. It has been a while since I attended the school, but I decided to write some lines about my experience there.

First of all, Hyper Island has some different course and program formats. They offer short-term classes and workshops that last from some days to something like a month – I’ve never attended them, so I can’t say much about them. They also offer a Master’s, and I can’t say much about it either. What I did was one of the long-term programs that can last from about ten months to two years, depending on the program.

The long-term programs

The long-term programs are categorised in Sweden as “yrkeshögskolan”, or vocational colleges. In Sweden are many vocational programs that teach a large variety of professions. For nordic students or those with permanent residency, the programs are free (info to be checked – it looks like it’s free nowadays for temporary residents as well).

The long-term programs are full-time, and they mean it. The weekly workload is of 40 weekly hours, meaning that students are demanded to be there every weekday, from 9h to 17h. The program I had chosen had a duration of 1,5 years, where we had around a year of classes and six months of internship. I hadn’t had extra homework spilling over into evenings or weekends because the tasks were planned to be executed during these 40 hours. (Saying that, I should mention that some people managed to complete the program without attending the whole time)

Program content

When I attended, the program consisted of the following courses:

The foundation weeks are the introductory weeks. Their purpose is to present the school and the program and offer opportunities to meet the other participants.

The other courses had a duration of about one month. In each course, we were organised into teams, randomly composed. The daily routine usually consisted of lectures and workshops, and the remaining time we dedicated to working on our projects. One of the main mottos of Hyper is “learn by doing”. Hence, each course also had a practical project; the goal was to have the most realistic experience possible.

The individual project is, well, an individual project (not much to say about it). You can choose the project as long as it relates to the course goals. The industrial placement is the internship period, which can also be a full-time job or an entrepreneurship experience.

Looking into the courses

One month dedicated to a course may sound enough – it’s around 160 hours devoted to a subject. But don’t full yourself. The course length is enough to get an overview of the topic without getting too deep. Also, it wasn’t a school that encouraged you to dig much into the theory (unless you go for it yourself), although they have some good mandatory readings. But if the person doesn’t know much about the content, it offers a very good panorama.

Each course had its learning goals, like the ones below.

K1 Specialized knowledge within current global and emerging trends impacting the digital 
K2 Legal and ethical issues as well as societal norms related to the digital industry 
S1 Design, execute and evaluate an online business plan 
S2 Gather, assess and analyse research findings and data related to customers, 
competitors and markets
C1 Apply entrepreneurial thinking, tools and ideas in digital business development 
C2 Manage client and stakeholder relations and expectations

During the program, we have four assessments that evaluate our learning level.

In my opinion, soft skills development is one of the fundamental components of the Hyper Island formation, more than technical skills. Although each course had a different learning goal and content, the team-building and facilitating processes, methods, and tools were iterated consistently. Among these tools, we practised several ways of giving and receiving feedback, organising teamwork, ice breakers and energisers, and co-creation exercises.

Does it worth it?

Besides the content and learnings, Hyper Island is a school that gathers an inspiring group of people. Diverse backgrounds, experiences, and mindsets, mixed with fun and engaging projects. And if you are looking for a position in Sweden, you will find many alumni within the local companies willing to share a coffee and pieces of advice. More than a school, you feel you are part of a community. And for a foreigner, this means a lot.