Manuela Boghian from Romania
Why did you choose the Master’s programme in Applied Cultural Analysis at Lund University?
“I looked for something like MACA for years. I studied anthropology before and I was hoping that I would be able to use my ethnographic skills in marketing and communications work after graduation. However, it was difficult for me to challenge the status quo, as I didn’t have the arguments nor the expertise to demonstrate to clients that ethnography could really help their businesses. MACA promised that it would help me do just that. MACA is a unique applied programme that combines ethnography, project work and communication in a way that makes it feasible to do research outside academia as well. Lund University also has a very good reputation and I was curious about what it’s like to live in Sweden.”
Why did you choose Lund University and not the University of Copenhagen?
“Initially, I didn’t know I could apply through the University of Copenhagen. After we had started the academic year, I was actually happy to be in Lund – it’s a beautiful, small and quiet city and the university atmosphere felt more personal and supportive. It was easy to contact the professors and advisors and the building in which we studied is one of the nicest on the campus!”
Why did this specific programme appeal to you?
“What attracted me the most was the ‘applied’ part of the programme: the fact that I would be able to do hands-on work in companies, which the university was going to facilitate. The programme combines building strong academic skills with preparing students for finding work afterwards.”
To whom would you recommend this programme and why?
“This programme is great for someone who is interested in subjects like culture, ethnography and anthropology and who wants to learn how they can be used for doing meaningful work in or outside academia. Applied cultural analysis is a relatively new and exciting field. You get to experience how it is to work on different projects, for example, urban planning, marketing and sustainability, and you learn so much. What I liked most was that I could apply my research skills in different environments and find out what suits me best. I also got the opportunity to explore my own interests, in my case organisational culture. It’s a flexible programme that encourages critical thinking and individual initiative. You are encouraged to self-reflect and test your boundaries, while you receive mentorship and have a community of colleagues and teachers to consult with.”
Did you gain any practical experience?
“Yes! We did fieldwork from our very first course and over the two MACA years, I ventured into public spaces, Lund municipality, a marketing consultancy in Malmö and a corporation. I also gained public speaking experience through presentations in front of different audiences, and learned not only how to do research but also how to market my research skills. To me, the MACA programme was a safe base from which to experiment and learn what my strengths are as well as what I like to do best. For MACA, I got to interview and work with tourists, beggars, senior corporate managers, young entrepreneurs, municipality employees and business consultants.”
What was your favourite course?
“That’s a tough question, since I got so much out of all the courses, and they all complement each other. The most exciting course for me was the Fieldwork and Project Management course. That was when I had the opportunity to apply the methods and theories I had been studying and use them for practical results. We worked in a team, under pressure, confronted ethical dilemmas and used lots of creativity both for the research and the presentation. It was so satisfying to see how cultural analysis actually works. That was a good basis for all the research work I did afterwards.”