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Degree project students appreciate open working climate at Tetra Pak

"When I was a kid, I said tetra about all the juice drinks," says Roxanne Mae Targa when she talks about her first experience with Tetra Pak. Now she knows more. After completing her degree project, she is now employed by the company. As a student at Tetra Pak, she quickly felt like one in the group – an experience she shares with her classmates Nawapan Boonchum and Elif Tiryakioglu.

– Published 14 December 2021

tree students in front of a white building. Photo.
Elif Tiryakioglu from Turkey, Roxanne Mae Targa from the Philippines and Nawapan Boonchum from Thailand did their degree projects at Tetra Pak 2020, within the Erasmus Mundus Master's programme FIPDes, Food Innovation and Product Design. Photo: Erik Andersson

How much did you know about Tetra Pak before you came to Lund?

"I knew it was a big company within the beverage industry and that it was Swedish," says Nawapan Boonchum. Tetra Pak's small beverage packages with straws are very popular in my native country Thailand.

What do you take with you from your time as a degree project worker at Tetra Pak?

"Although I came up with a clear technical solution, I see my work more as a valuable process than anything else. My contribution is so small and there is so much left to do," says Elif Tiryakioglu. The staff at Tetra Pak were accommodating and always had time for me. I felt welcome.

Nawapan Boonchum and Roxanne Mae Targa, who did their degree project together, agree:

It's an open environment, with no hierarchy. We didn't feel like students, we felt like a part of the team.

What do you think of the collaboration between industry and academia?

"It would be good if this collaboration could continue. It's about being aware of and respecting each other's challenges. For example, the staff at Tetra Pak appreciated our academic tutor very much, so there we could see that there is mutual trust between industry and academia. That is valuable," says Nawapan Boonchum.

Since the students finished in the summer of 2020, they have now started working. Roxanne Mae Targa and Nawapan Boonchum are both Tetra Pak employees and work together to develop prototypes of different foods for the company's customers. Elif Tiryakioglu received an award for best degree project from Sparbanken Skåne for her work on straws and their attachment to Tetra Pak's packaging. She now works at Ikea, but has continued contact with her former teachers at Packaging logistics at LTH for joint student projects.

This article was originally published in Lund University Magazine – LUM. Read more about Lund University's collaboration with Tetra Pak in the article "Collaboration for better packaging".