Meet Matilda Ekman, JIBS student and part of the JU Solar Management Team

When joining a project like this you develop as an individual and afterward, you will dare to take even bigger challenges, so what are you waiting for?

Imagine standing in the middle of the Australian outback. It’s 30 degrees Celsius (about 90 degrees Fahrenheit), flies everywhere. You’re nervous and waiting for your team to arrive at the control-stop. You have no clue how far away they are. Is the car is still on track? How many teams did we overtake? What is our ranking and how far away are we from taking on Stanford? The walkie-talkie in your hand is giving a crackling sound, not far away now. Wearing your safety west, you run towards the road, ready to give the team instructions. The driver needs to check in at the control stop as soon as possible. Every second counts. Because we could beat Stanford. We, the JU Solar Team, will be the first Swedish team ever to reach the top ten of Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

I know this is almost impossible to image, and if someone would have said that they were going to compete in a solar car competition a year ago, I would probably give them a weird look. But when this opportunity was given to me, to be a part of Jönköping University’s biggest project, the JU Solar Team, I could not say no, because I knew this would be an experience of a lifetime.

Running with the walkie-talkie in your hand, giving the team instructions, right there in the moment, there is no textbook that could tell you how to handle the situation. You just need to believe in your own knowledge and your team’s capability. This belief did not just take us the 3000 km from Darwin to Adelaide, it took JU Solar Team and Jönköping University to a better placement than ever: 8th place in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, we defeated Stanford and are finally one of the iconic top-ten teams.

Being a part of the JU Solar Team has given me an experience that no other course or project could have given me. Working with a project that covers many areas of expertise and involves students from different schools has on many levels been both educative but also challenging. With all our different backgrounds and educations, settling arguments and problems has not been easy. But the most optimal solution was definitely achieved when we combine all our expertise. For me as a business student, it gave me the opportunity to put my theory from the courses in practice, but the project also gave me the opportunity to work within new business areas, get in contact with some of Sweden biggest companies. Last but not least, the project gave me contacts and friends from all over the world.

I cannot deny that projects take a whole lot of work, but the pay-out makes it worthwhile. After working with projects, I do not only have a network in Jönköping but all over the world. When joining a project like this you develop as an individual and afterward, you will dare to take even bigger challenges, so what are you waiting for?

Read more about the challenge and the project at