Simon Wuke Andreas Sällström for dummies

Welcome to my work-in-progress website!

I was born in Stockholm, Sweden on October 6th 1996. I grew up in Högdalen, a working-class area in southern Stockholm famous for its A-team members, Ebba Grön and (basically) the place where Spotify founder Daniel Ek grew up (he grew up in Rågsved, the next stop on the subway line). After moving to Örby where my parents still live and completing my primary education at Sturebyskolan, I went on a one-year exchange in Shanghai, China. So from September 2012 to June 2013, I spent my days reading Wikipedia articles, Plato’s republic and memorising combinations of lines drawn in clever ways (i.e. I studied mandarin) at CaoYang No.2 high school. My year in China taught me to really appreciate how hard my Chinese peers had to work compared to my Swedish ones. Even the hard work required to do well at the sciences program at Kungsholmens gymnasium (“KG”) in Stockholm was nothing compared to what the Chinese students had to struggle through. My time at KG was great and I was a member of the debate society, the political association and the student newspaper KZINE as their webmaster (with zero coding background… the website didn’t totally collapse under my watch so that was a success I guess).

I’ve always been more interested in people and society so the political science and economics program (politices kandidatprogram) at Lund University was a natural choice for me. It was far away from home, I loved the old architecture of the city and they had an exchange program with the University of California. I picked up competitive debating again whilst letting the dream of going on an exchange to UC Berkeley motivate me to work hard.

Fall 2017 came and I applied to the exchange. After a long strenuous process, I got an email on April 12th. I was one out of a handful of students from Lund who were going to UC Berkeley for one year! It was a great year by all metrics. I got a research assistant position, then a scholarship and then I co-authored an op-ed with my professor – all of which were a result of being at the right place at the right time, a genuine passion for what I was working on and ample preparation. My mantra? If you want good things to happen in your life, then work hard to be in a position where you can be lucky.

Fast forward. Fall 2019. I’m back in Lund to study some mathematics while I write my bachelor’s thesis in economics and master’s program applications. This was the toughest year so far (academically). Never before had I studied 50-60 hours per week for extended periods. It was often easier to count the numbers that I did not study or write some application than the other way around. By January 2020, I was pretty exhausted and had begun experiencing some issues sleeping. I’ve been careful with balancing work and other things ever since. After all, what’s the endgame but the life you have right now itself?

I applied to numerous universities but it was on March 25th that I received the offer that I really cared about. The first line said: “Thank you for your application for the Master of Philosophy in Economics which we have now considered.” Skip. “We are very pleased…” and so I was accepted to the MPhil in Economics at the University of Oxford.

What have I been up to at Oxford (apart from meeting a myriad of interesting and driven students)? I’ve joined the Oxford University Table Tennis club, gotten a mentor from E3G as part of the sustainability mentorship programme and joined the Oxford Society for International Development.

After graduating with a masters in economics from Oxford in July 2022, I decided against going on the traditional 9-5 route in the City of London to move around money to make more money for people with money… Instead, I launched a charity.

DirectEd Development Foundation is a charitable organisation whose mission is to catalyse economic growth by developing and delivering evidence-based, highly scalable and cost-effective bootcamps to under-resourced high-potential students in Africa, preparing them for remote employment by equipping them with the most sought-after digital and soft skills on the market and thereby realise their potential as leaders of Africa’s digital transformation. We are innovators, seeking to test out the use and utility of emerging technologies such as decentralised identifiers and blockchain technology in order to reduce costs, increase transparency and enhance accountability.