From NASA to Schibsted

Saikiran Tharimena was present when NASA’s InSight landed on Mars. Now his mission is to take artificial intelligence to the next level in Schibsted.

“Ever since I was a child, I have ripped things apart and put them back together. I have an extreme urge to know how things work and why they behave the way they do.”  Saikiran Tharimena, best known as “Sai”, is a civil engineer from India with a specialization in “Remote sensing and Geographic Information System.” He also has a Master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Southampton in “Ocean & Earth Science”, specializing in numerical modeling and seismology.

A bigger mission

In April 2022, Sai came to Norway and started working as a data scientist in Schibsted’s Ecommerce & Distribution-division. Now he is central to the work in artificial intelligence in Schibsted’s distribution venture Helthjem, which has rapidly become one of the dominant logistics players in Norway. Helthjem sends 15 million parcels across the country  annually, and delivers newspapers such as VG, Aftenposten and Bergens Tidende every night.

Sai grew up in Hyderabad – the capital of southern India’s Telangana state and a major center for the technology industry – and his interest in technology started at an early age. “Machine learning was always there for me. A few years ago I did some courses about AI and realized that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. It basically comes down to terminology,” he says.

Tough competition

AI has recently been on everyone’s lips and in particular ChatGPT. This hypermodern chatbot built on AI gained millions of customers worldwide in just a few days. Now Google also has entered the field and there is a race to create the best chatbot in the market and to make the most of the infinite number of possibilities that exist within the AI segment – and the logistics industry is no exception.

“One of the most interesting things about AI is that it can help identify and solve problems that humans may not be able to see or solve on their own, which naturally offers both advantages and challenges,” Sai says.

With Helthjem competitors such as Posten and PostNord, as well as expected competition from big players such as Amazon – Sai is a key person for Helthjem to keep pace. According to him, there is every reason to be optimistic;

“While I’m super excited to see advancements in AI, there is always a growing concern about its ethical implications, its use and impact on society and privacy. Given all this, I‘m still optimistic that AI can be used as a responsible companion in our journey to develop services and products that can positively impact society,” he emphasizes.

Childhood dream

Alongside his studies in Southampton from 2011-2018, Sai taught several subjects and worked as a research fellow at the university, where he did a number of field expeditions focused on seismically imaging the Earth’s inner layer structure system to constrain the physical and chemical properties that define them. 

Sai has worked in seven different countries and took part in an expedition in the Atlantic Ocean.

But there’s one moment in particular that has stuck with him.

In 2018 he got a job in LA as postdoctoral researcher at NASA and got the opportunity to experience what most of us can only dream of.

Sai worked with developing techniques for investigating the interior structure of planets and icy moons. He also took part in the InSight mission where they placed the Lander on planet Mars – designed to give the Red Planet its first thorough checkup since it was formed 4.5 billion years ago.

“As a child, I saw many of these missions on TV. Being present and seeing this live was absolutely indescribable,” he says.

Different culture

In April 2022, Sai moved to Norway together with his wife, and started as Data Specialist in Schibsted, and now in Helthjem. According to him, it has exceeded all expectations.

“I felt lonely since moving from Southampton in 2018, but this changed when I moved to Norway,” he says, and describes a culture that differs from everything else he has experienced.

“Work-life balance is wonderful here! I’ve been able to do way more here than previous work. A good balance gives more motivation and actually improves efficiency,” Sai says.Not only does he feel better at work, he also points out that people in Norway welcomed him warmly:“I’ve received an incredibly warm and homely reception here – beyond all expectations.”

The feeling of being part of something bigger is a key motivation for Sai in his job.

TESTING: Papua New Guinea Seismic Deployment in 2014. Sai and locals looking at the seismic traces after a stamp test. Photo:  Nicholas Harmon and Ronald Verave.

“AI is an incredibly powerful, and extremely valuable technology. It’s about developing and leveraging the power of Machine Learning and AI to make our services better, open up for services we don’t have and do things smarter,” he says.

Excessively ambitious

Sai has accomplished more than many can dream of, but the work towards the next goal is never ending – and the ambitious civil engineer has a clear mission for the future. “I’m an excessively ambitious person, I have always been like that,” he explains.

Sai aspires to grow into a larger role in the future, leveraging his expertise to make a meaningful impact through Schibsted and make his knowledge available to benefit others.

“It’s crucial for me to have clear goals. Goals push and inspire me. Whether I achieve them or not is not ímportant, but it is the path to get there that counts and what we learn along the way is the most important.”


Some of Sai’s projects in Helthjem:

  • Central in the construction of building a much more advanced forecasting model. Will, among many things, help for manpower planning at Helthjems main terminal in Vestby and other distribution centers around the country, which also will be used for staffing by customer service and try to predict how the “peak seasons” will take place.

  • Extending Delivery Time Predictor, which is currently being integrated into Helthjem. This means that Helthjem can predict with far greater significance when the packages arrive and from that give estimated delivery time to the customers. Will give the entire value chain better predictability and ensure greater efficiency towards the customers.
  • *Working on providing better consumer insights and greater customer journeys across Helthjems many channels – from “business to consumer” and “consumer to consumer” products

Follow a Schibsted Trainee in her first placement

Hi, my name is Thea and I’m a first-year trainee in the Schibsted Management Trainee Program. As I’m soon ending my first placement as a Project Lead in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, I want to share some of my highlights with you.

As it is getting closer to the end of my first placement in the Management Trainee Program there are a lot of exciting things happening. This week was extra exciting for me since the project I have been assigned to was first introduced to the rest of the company. In the picture you can see me and Johan, who is involved in both the project team and the steering committee, presenting to Svenska Dagbladet what we have been working on. The project will play an important role in Svenska Dagbladet’s upcoming three-year plan and will now, therefore, move forward into a more active phase.  

Presenting our project to Svenska Dagbladet.

Since we are getting closer to launching our project, the project team is having more and longer workshops to solve different issues. The team consists of members in different parts of the company which makes it extra fun to meet since I get so many new and different perspectives. Below you can see how our workshops can look like.

Workshop with members in different parts of Svenska Dagbladet.

Another exciting thing that happened this week was that we learned what placements are available for the next trainee rotation. Therefore, I met with my mentor Malin to get some guidance on what opportunities are best suited for me. According to me, the mentor program is one of the best perks in the management trainee program since I can always write to Malin when I need advice or just want to talk. 

My mentor, Malin.

And there you have a couple of highlights from a week as Project Lead in Svenska Dagbladet. If you are interested in knowing more about the Management Trainee Program at Schibsted – read more here or connect with me on LinkedIn

A year as a Student Ambassador

Hi, my name is Tone, and I study UX and informatics at the University of Oslo. During the last year I’ve been working as a student ambassador alongside my studies. I’ve learnt a lot about myself, future career opportunities, and the tech business. Let me take you through my year at Schibsted!

Usually, when applying for part time jobs or summer internships in tech I feel like you are asked to have “a master’s degree and 5 years of working experience”. How do you even start getting this? For me, that answer was the Student Ambassador role at Schibsted. Last year I had this position in Oslo. Looking back, this has given me a lot more experience and opened more doors than I thought it would. 

Firstly, what is a Student Ambassador? Well, it’s a kind of fancy name for a contact person between students and the company, with different responsibilities tied to the role. Mostly it’s about spreading the word about Schibsted as a potential workplace through different events and activities. During my year at Schibsted I have done a variety of different things such as organizing and facilitating company presentations and workshops, making Instagram takeovers, joining stands where I talk to loads of students and assisting in coding camps for children. 

My manager, Kamilla Abrahamsen and I.

When I first started, there was a lot of information to take in. Schibsted is a big tech company, with many small and big brands within itself and it might feel confusing at times. But I quickly (ish) got a grip of what Schibsted is, and how everything works thanks to my boss and coworkers who were happy to answer all my questions. These people stand out to me because they have all taken me in with open arms, encouraged me, gotten to know me, and helped me out from the very beginning. This has made it easy for me to sell Schibsted in as a great place to work when I talk with other students because I really believe in it myself.

I worked with the Schibsted Kids Coding Camp and teached kids how to code.

I was surprised at how quickly I gained trust, autonomy and encouragement from my superiors to initiate my own ideas. My competence as a student was really valued. They trusted that I knew what students would like. This trust was my greatest asset this year. If I found a cool event I wanted to join, contribute to or cover, the answer was very quickly, “of course, that sounds great!”. This enabled me to chase the opportunities I met along the way and made me feel like I was not simply doing a job but actually developing my own knowledge and experience simultaneously. It felt like it was only my personal capacity that set the limits for what initiatives I could make. Of course, I met many challenges along the way as well, but this gave me great experience in handling unforeseen events and thinking outside the box.

An example of a task that personally gave me a lot was when I was doing my first Instagram takeover. I thought it would be cool to cover something about UX designers because I myself study UX design. I got a thumbs up and some tips on who to contact. Soon I was actually following the UX designer Kévin Scotet and the whole VG Live team, and joining their research activities for a whole day. They were developing their football application at the time. I got to listen in on user tests and see how they analyzed and implemented the results of this. How cool is that!? It gave me real insight into what I hope will be my future career, and sparked my interest in and motivation for my studies. 

Some of my takeovers at the global Schibsted Instagram account.

Now I can see how all the big and small tasks I did during the last year, and the people I’ve met along the way have given me great experience and insight in the tech business and the subject of UX quite early on in my studies. Even though my time as a Student Ambassador is coming to an end I am fortunately not done with Schibsted!I have joined Schibsted Connect (Schibsteds mentorship program) where I have a fantastic mentor whom I can discuss subjects, career opportunities and participate in activities with. So even after my role in Schibsted, my experience building continues.

I will miss the people in Schibsted, but I really hope that other students get to see, grab a hold on and have the same experiences as I have had in this company for many years to come! And hopefully this will spark their interests and careers.

Read more about the Student Ambassador Program or Schibsted Connect.


Why I have an accountability buddy

Do you have trouble focusing when you work from home? Do you often find reasons to procrastinate – whether to get a snack, vacuum under your couch or reorganise your Google Drive? Maybe you, too, need an accountability buddy.

By Camilla Buch, Advisor Editorial Content

I work from home a lot. I’d say I’m at the office a handful of times per month, to catch up with colleagues and attend in-person meetings. But most of my team is in a different country and most of my days I spend in what I call “production mode,” when I need to focus and eliminate distractions. So working from home is generally very beneficial for me.

That being said, being at home all day comes with its own challenges. I might not be distracted by chatting with colleagues, but maybe I could load the dishwasher and perhaps I’ll just read this article before getting to work… it’s easy to lose focus and I’m a master procrastinator as it is.

What is an accountability buddy?

That’s where my accountability buddy comes in. An accountability buddy is defined as someone who supports another person to keep a commitment or maintain progress on the desired goal. So if I know I’m having trouble focusing on writing an article, prepping for a workshop or some other solitary task, I can get on a call with my buddy and we can work together, at a distance. Usually, it goes like this:

I connect on Google Meet with my accountability buddy Aparna and go through what we need to get done during our session, say good luck and put us both on mute. This achieves a couple of things:

  1. You have the knowledge that someone’s there if you need to spitball ideas, but you eliminate the constant sounds that come with being at the office.
  2. You have someone to hold you accountable – someone you respect and trust knows what you’re meant to be doing and will check in on your progress at the end of the session.
  3. Having your camera on means that you are more likely to stay and actually do the work because someone can see you – instead of wandering off to load the dishwasher or some other task not on your current to-do list.

Your accountability buddy can be someone on your team with whom you share goals and tasks, but it can also be someone outside of your team – or a complete stranger! 

Tips and tricks for you and your accountability buddy

  1. Agree beforehand on the time period you both want to get on a call
  2. Use the raise the hand option so you don’t suddenly startle the other person
  3. Have a short talk on some ground rules – like how long you will chat, and how often would you like to check-in.
  4. Set a limit for chit-chat – maybe 5-10 minutes before you go on mute!

If you’re the only one in your team who works remotely, it can be a challenge to find someone to use this method with, but there are a number of services out there that can help. Or you could just share this to get someone’s attention!

The Lendo journey – “We have tried, failed and succeeded”

After travelling the world while competing in ballroom dancing, Mikael Leppänen started working in Lendo, Finland. A couple of years and several different roles later, an opportunity for his role opened up in Portugal. As the Head of Product, Mikael strives to make the products even better, and says that the culture is one of the main reasons why he enjoys his time at Lendo so much.

Hi Mikael Leppänen, Head of Product in Lendo Portugal, tell us about your background and what you work with.
I am a 32 years old sports enthusiast who started doing sports before learning to walk. This shaped me to be a very competitive personality. I have travelled the world while competing in ballroom dancing. After high school I was wondering what I wanted to do with my life and natural path was to continue within the sports and ended up graduating as a physiotherapist. Right after graduation I realised it wasn’t for me and had to do some soul-searching to understand my interests. Soon after, it was crystal clear I was interested in different areas in business, finance and data. I ended up studying finance as my major meanwhile I found this interesting opportunity to work at Lendo in Finland. 

Tell us about your Lendo journey; you previously worked in Lendo, Finland and then moved to Lendo, Portugal?
I have worked in several different roles at Lendo since 2015 such as a Customer Service Agent, a Customer Service Team Lead and as a Product Manager. A really interesting opportunity turned out in Portugal for my role. This was a great opportunity both to expand my knowledge on different products and broaden my horizon. I joined the team this year in January and it’s been very exciting to learn about new products.

What does the team in Portugal look like? Which roles do you work with the most?
We have such a great team in Portugal and I’m surrounded by amazing people; give or take 40 total. It’s very difficult to say who I work closest with because we have a very strong team who collaborates closely. If I would mention a few names I would say that the CTO and Data Science Lead are my daily go-to-persons who help me everyday to resolve the product challenges and together we shape the product to be the best in the market. You might think that by knowing the Finnish product you wouldn’t learn anything new in this private loan sector. I couldn’t be more wrong. Our Head of Credit has been extremely helpful and guided me through to learn all these new market specific aspects and new nuances with the bank partners. 

What is the most interesting feature you are currently working on?
I would say our energy vertical and building a new feature in that vertical has been an extremely interesting learning curve for me. Let’s call the feature a bill upload feature where customers need to upload their energy bill in order for us to generate the saving results and calculate estimates based on customer data with machine learning. 

That said, I’m really looking forward to making our products even better to help even more customers. 

How would you describe the work culture in Lendo?
I believe this is one of the main reasons why I have enjoyed my time so much working at Lendo; the culture. To build a culture is a long process and requires everyone to participate in this joint mission. One of our core values at Lendo, “Win as a Team”, is an important factor to build a strong and solid culture where everyone is equal, everyone is being seen and heard and where help is always out there whoever needs it. 

I started my Lendo journey when Lendo had only a handful of employees and we have outgrown a company operating in several markets with almost 300 employees. We have tried and failed. We have tried and succeeded. We have always done this as one team by embracing the fact that we have a one joint goal.

“A healthy level of paranoia keeps us on our toes”

In our digitised society, where we spend more time online than offline, an advanced kind of lawlessness has developed. Cyber criminality has come to a level where it is best to assume that you will be a target and start with precautions from an early stage. Schibsted, home of digital brands all over Europe, is working hard to protect sensitive information and dismantle attacks before they happen.

October is not only known for breast cancer awareness and Halloween, but also the EU and U.S. established the month of cyber security. The concept of highlighting the importance of strong data protection is something that Schibsted has adopted through all company levels. 

“Cyber security is a broad term, but what it means is that we need to protect our digital assets because without those, we have no business. For a large company like Schibsted, with many journalists handling source-protected information, protecting our data is of utmost importance. That is why we have gone full swing introducing a whole Cyber Security Month in October,” Knarik Avetisyan, Security Awareness & Compliance Specialist at Schibsted, says. 

Equally important for all employees
This past October was the third annual Cyber Security Month at Schibsted. During the four weeks, every employee – from journalists and photographers to data specialists and developers – was invited to participate in seminars, lectures and workshops about security. Events that have attracted a large audience in all countries where Schibsted has offices. 

“During the pandemic, the events were all online. Because we are a digital brands company, we had the right infrastructure to support that setup. This year, we tried a hybrid arrangement, where some workshops were held live. For example, we did a lock-picking workshop, which was very popular. It showed that it’s important not to forget about physical security as we talk more and more about our digital security,” Knarik says. 

“Hack me if you can”
The event that drew considerable interest was titled “Hack me if you can”. The event, inspired by the well-known Leonardo DiCaprio swindler movie, let the participants take on the role of a hacker trying to find weaknesses in a few dedicated internal domains.

“We gave the participants a two-week time frame and basic guidelines not to break anything or put us out of business. Using ethical hackers, or bug bounty programs, is common within cyber security, but doing it internally was a fun experience that has never been done before. We crowned three winners, whose findings we could recreate and use to strengthen our security,” Knarik says.

High focus during a lock picking workshop – an internal event during the Cyber Security Month.

Making it easy for the employees
One big challenge being a large company consisting of many different brands across several countries is to align the security. With more developed digital infrastructures, hackers get more sophisticated in their attacks. They find and penetrate any weak spots they can. 

“Our Data Security team runs a large security program which includes training employees in technical solutions. The human factor is a soft spot in cyber security. There is a common cognitive bias to feel that hackers would not be interested in me and my information. That false sense of optimism can lead to us being uncareful online, which can have immense negative consequences – both personal and professional. By standardising and implementing security services through all the Schibsted brands and employee levels, we strengthen ourselves and minimise the effects of cyber attacks. We are all possible targets, and having a healthy level of paranoia keeps us on our toes,” Knarik says. 

Knarik’s three easy steps to a more data-secure life:

  • Use multifactor authentication (MFA) on your accounts. The best MFA options are using your fingerprint reader or facial recognition on your smartphone or laptop. By using those MFA methods, you can make your accounts un-phishable.
  • Do not save your passwords in your browser. Instead, use a password manager to keep track of all your accounts and to generate new passwords. And remember, all passwords should be unique. 
  • Update your devices straight away when prompted to. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in previous updates. By keeping your devices and software up to date with security updates, your data will be safe.

Are you curious to know what life at Schibsted is all about? Click here!

On the list of Nordic’s top 50 most attractive employers

Universum, the global leader in employer branding, has surveyed close to 22.000 young IT professionals about their selection of their future employers. We are proud to share that Schibsted has climbed in ranking in both Sweden and Norway!

The young professionals have responded to the survey between November 2021 – August 2022. The data collection was conducted via an online survey from the target group in 36 occupation groups, in 48 industries. In the survey the respondents answered questions like the most important employer attributes, the impact of remote work and more.

Ranking ideal employer
When the IT professionals in Norway rank the ideal employer Schibsted ends up on an gratifying 10th place, from last year’s ranking at the 12th place. On the corresponding Swedish list Schibsted ends up in 40th place, an impressive improvement from last year’s 48th place. One of the purposes of the solid list is to make it easier for professionals to find their next employer.

“Our main target group is, since a couple of years ago, tech talents, why most of our Employer Branding efforts have been in that area. Presence at conferences, internal and external events, dedicated tech career site, tech festival, Kids Coding Camp and much more. But most importantly have we prioritised highlighting employee stories on our social media channels with the purpose of telling the authentic story about Schibsted as an employer. Our job is to showcase us as an attractive employer and we are of course super happy to see that our work has paid off and that more and more talents are finding their way to explore Schibsted”, says Lena Berlin Stålhammar, Director Employer Branding & Talent programs.

Empowering women in the tech industry
We are also proud to say that Schibsed is ranking in the right direction for both females and male talent.

At Schibsted, promoting a diverse tech industry is a question close to our hearts. Schibsted Shetech is a community where everyone is invited to meet, to learn and to discuss – all while together shaping the future of tech.

“We have a strong community that shares a common vision regarding women empowerment. Together we organize monthly events dedicated to women in tech. We give autonomy, we help develop competences and we celebrate each other’s achievement. Our mission is to help each other reach our full potential!”, says Raluca Balogh, Engineering Manager and member in Schibsted’s community Shetech.

Picture from an event in collaboration with the Swedish organisation Tjejer Kodar.

Picture from an event in collaboration with the Swedish organisation Tjejer Kodar.

Finally, thank you to all our colleagues who make Schibsted into such a great place to work. Click here to get a sneak peek into the life at Schibsted.

“I grew a lot as a developer”

Elin Larsson is working as a Software Engineer at Schibsted and started her journey as a summer intern. She studied Web development at the Miduniversity in Sweden. 

Hi Elin? Why did you apply for an internship at Schibsted?
I was fresh out of school and it felt like a great opportunity to grow and learn.

Where in Schibsted did you do your internship?
Within the Aftonbladet brand team.

What was the best experience being an intern?
To get to work as a full team member and solve things hands-on.

What is your advice for other students who want to become an intern at Schibsted?
Have fun and ask a lot of questions! The people working at Schibsted know so much, use that as much as possible!

Where do you work today, and what is the difference between being an intern and a regular employee?
I still work within the AB Brand team in MPT. The difference might be that I have more confidence in my role now as a regular employee?

“Dare to ask questions and strive to be as flexible and as well-rounded as possible.”

Per Morten Halvorsen is a Machine Learning Engineer at Schibsted and started his journey with Schibsted as a summer intern. He studied Mathematics with Informatics (bachelor’s program) and Data Science (master’s program) at the University of Oslo.

Hi Per? Why did you apply for an internship at Schibsted?
I wanted to see what machine learning in the industry looked like and in what ways Schibsted was using language technologies

Where in Schibsted did you do your internship?
In the Predict Team, within Data Foundations. Me and another intern worked on improving the pretraining steps of a model currently running in production

What was the best experience being an intern?
Getting paid to work on complex machine learning problems all summer long

What did you learn from your internship period?
Being a relevant job candidate means more than just knowing the theory. Social and presentation skills are equally important!

Where do you work today, and what is the difference between being an intern and a regular employee?
I’m still working in the Predict team in Oslo. The only real difference between being an intern versus full-time is the level of responsibility expected of you. Our interns always feel like part of the team.

“In Schibsted you are accepted regardless whether you are an intern or senior employee”

Jacob Welander is a Data Scientist at Schibsted who started his journey as a summer intern. He studied Statistics and Machine Learning at Linköping University.

Hi Jacob ? Where in Schibsted did you do your internship?
I did my internship for Curate, the team that is responsible for the news recommendation system. During the internship, I worked together with the team in order to create a new personalization algorithm.

What was the best experience being an intern?
The mentorship and being able to work in a cross-functional team, where I could learn from both engineers and data scientists.

What did you learn from your internship period?
Applying the theory that I learned in my studies to solve real-world problems.

Where do you work today, and what is the difference between being an intern and a regular employee?
I’m still working at the Curate team as a Data Scientist. The largest difference of being a regular employee is that it often comes with more responsibility, where you help the team to reach its goals instead of working on a predefined task.