Jan came to Sweden from the Czech Republic in 2001. He completed both his graduate and undergraduate studies at the Economic History Department in Lund. In 2007 Jan received his PhD at the Department of Economic History with a thesis on the European car industry. He then pursued a career in the private sector first as an analyst for Maersk Oil in Copenhagen, and then switching in a similar capacity to E.ON Sverige in Malmö. He is currently heading a Market Analysis team at E.ON Sverige, which is chiefly responsible for quantitative market modeling both short and long term as well as business intelligence for all Nordic countries. In his interview Dr. Andera talks about his job, his Ph.D. research and about the concept of economy history.
What is the most exciting thing about your job?
What makes the work interesting is that we are dealing with issues of far-reaching importance both in the long- and short-run for our strategy and investment decisions and there is a clear connection between what we do in our daily work and what strategic decisions are taken.
Did your PhD help you in your career and in what way?
My Ph.D. research was consciously oriented towards the private sector. Even though I ended up in a different industry it allowed me to acquire some perspective on how the corporate sector works and what kind of issues it is facing. The graduate education has also given me basics in applied statistical analysis and that I found useful both in distinguishing myself from other candidates and in actual daily work. Perhaps most importantly, the nature of PhD research in my experience is to a great degree dependent on self-motivation, personal drive and the ability to plan and organize a long-term project, to bring it from a conception phase to completion both theoretically and practically. Having this experience and developing these skills, I believe, provides a sound foundation to a successful career, be it in academia, public or private sector.
What is Economic History to you (as a concept, perhaps providing a specific angle)?
In a broad sense, economic history gives a student, an academic or a policy maker the possibility to look at some of the most pressing issues of today using its unique and multi-disciplined theoretical framework. I believe the willingness to embrace this theoretical variability can provide for the much needed holistic perspective when tackling some of the most complex issues of the modern society. In a narrow perspective, economic history has given me the possibility to work towards developing broad and multi-faceted academic background.
Do you find it important to stay in touch with the department as an alumni?
Yes, leaving the personal side out, it is extremely important for the department to gain and retain a link to the professional world outside academia. In its educational role it has to prepare students for future career while in its research role it has to address the problems and issues that are relevant today. For the professional world on the other hand, it is critical to be able to attract the right type of talents with the right type of competencies. Keeping an alumni network which succeeds in facilitating an active exchange of ideas is certainly a great step towards this.