Jenny Helin is currently working as a researcher at CeFEO and ESOL at JIBS but her dream of doing a PhD started already when she was studying for a bachelor's degree in business at Dalarna University. But it took several years of successfully running her own business and a near-death-experience for her dream to come true.
“When I did my bachelor's degree I found that I really enjoyed it and I thought to myself: I'll do a PhD some day," says Jenny.
After a master programme in Stockholm Jenny began working with marketing for an Internet consulting firm. After a while, she started her own company with a few friends, and it was a time of intense excitement as they were introducing a whole new type of Internet based service enterprise in Sweden — concierge services.
“ It means you have a place to turn to no matter which kind of service you're looking for, Jenny explains. It can be house cleaning, laundry services, childcare or something else. My company would be at the heart of things."
Jenny worked with the concierge service firm for four years, until it was sold to another company.
But something entirely different happened that made her return to her old dream of doing a PhD. Jenny had been a track and field athlete for most of her life, and when she took part in a competition in Australia, she suddenly collapsed. She suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken to hospital. It took her six months to recover, and Jenny, who had always been very competitive, always kept up her pace, suddenly had time to think. It was an awakening of sorts. She and her husband decided to start a family, and Jenny herself made up her mind to go into research. She wanted do study something in depth, to take her time. That was the attraction.
The choice of Jönköping International Business School was a very conscious one.
“ I had the impression that JIBS worked a lot with small and middle-sized companies and that they were ahead in their research. I also felt that Jönköping would be a good place for us.to live."
She is also very fond of the international atmosphere with both colleagues and students from many different countries. She thinks it is inspiring.
“During my time as a doctoral student I spent nine weeks on a teaching exchange programme in Malaysia . My whole family came along. It was really exciting and I'm so glad I got to go. I also spent an entire autumn semester in Chicago."
In her research, Jenny focuses on family businesses. It is the owner families that interest her, how you run and lead a family in cooperation with the company. She also enjoys the teaching.
Jenny and her husband now have two children and have moved to a beautiful house in rural Gotland.
“One of the benefits of being a doctoral student and a post doc. researcher is that you can arrange your schedule to suit your needs. It is freedom with responsibility."
The only thing she knows for sure about the future is that since the track and field contest in Australia nearly cost her life, she is done with competing. On all levels.
“Many people have this image of me as very competitive, and I'm expected to live up to that image. That was actually a relief when we moved to Jönköping where nobody knew me and I could start over. I'm doing research because my subject is incredibly interesting, and it is a privilege to have the possibility to dig into it.".
Content updated 2015-06-15