MATTIAS HANSSON, 40, helps train 1,300 students a year in digital media, interactive art direction, and digital business management in Stockholm and on a former prison island off the coast of Sweden. Graduates are hotly recruited by such firms as Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Ideo.
"Look into the eyes of the creatives you know and ask them: If they could choose, would they pick the traditional academic world or an opportunity to learn by doing real stuff such as building e-communication solutions for MTV, Ikea, and others. We don't have classrooms or auditoriums, and we don't focus on grades. We don't educate people to become something. They have to decide that themselves.
Great talents get an opportunity to boost their skills while they are with us, and then they become very sought after. Every student has at least five job offers from top international agencies. The student with the most this year got 56 job offers. Around 80% go abroad. We're more of a household name in Manhattan, Paris, or San Francisco than in Sweden."
A version of this article appeared in the April 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine.