I was 16 years old when I was first told about the BS08 Double Degree Program at BI Norwegian Business School. The allure of adventure captured my imagination and I knew in that moment I would choose the pathway to Norway.
Fast forward five years and I had the pleasure of giving the Student Address at the Closing Ceremony for the 2020 Bachelor of Business Administration Cohort in May. Having now completed my studies, I have the time to reflect on the journey to BI and the amalgamation of experiences and memories I will now share with you about how I learnt to live, laugh and love on the other side of the world.
Learning to LIVE
Very rarely do you get to start your life from scratch. But as I arrived at my accommodation in Oslo (the capital of Norway) with nothing but my suitcases, I had the sensation that anything was possible on a blank canvas.
I felt incredibly welcomed into the international community and slowly began to understand the Norwegian style of living. There was always a general sense of calmness, which is fuelled by Norwegians’ love of nature and outdoor activities that foster a very positive work-life balance.
When the program at BI started, I was introduced to students from over 60 nationalities across the three cohorts of the BBA Program. The diversity and inclusivity of these cohorts intrigued me and I still believe it is the most powerful aspect of the program. I can say with absolute certainty that over the last year, I have learnt just as much from my fellow students as from my lecturers. I wanted to become involved with this group and was fortunate enough to be voted onto the Board of their BBA Program as Academic Coordinator. This role gave me the opportunity to represent these students and talk directly with BI’s management on Academic matters and create new Academic Opportunities. Myself and the Board were able to facilitate a number of workshops that focused on translating classroom theory into practical skills. We were even able to take a group of students to Copenhagen on a BI Study Tour!
Amongst this diverse group of students, I met three people who encouraged me to join their Case Competition team: Tymoteusz (Poland), Snekha (India) and Vladimir (Russia). As opposed to the QUT structure, the BI teams stay together for an entire season and compete nationally for a chance to represent BI at an international competition. For those who are not familiar with Case Competitions, you get to know your team members incredibly well as you work day and night beside each other. As a team, we utilised our diverse backgrounds to solve the cases from multiple viewpoints, inevitably finding a balanced strategy. We went through undefeated in Norway, winning the Oslo Competition and both National Competitions, with our best presentation being for Gjensidge which is a very large and prominent insurance company in Norway.
As a result, our team was invited to present to BI’s Top Management on a school-wide initiative which allowed students to select a Sustainability Specialisation (Major) to practically address growing social and environmental issues worldwide. We were also invited to compete at Copenhagen Business School’s International Case Competition, where we actually competed against the team from QUT! Finally, I was selected to be the only non-Norwegian to make the National Representative team, which was a huge honour. Of greater importance to me, however, are the lifelong friendships that I have forged with the other members of these teams. These students were such a significant part of my life in Norway and I encourage anyone interested to join a case competition team.
Learning to LAUGH
Norwegians place a great deal of emphasis on general health and well-being, which is often visualised in the form of sport. From both a social and physical perspective, you get to push yourself and share an experience with people who also enjoy sports. On the weekends, I trained and played with the Basketball squad who were great to laugh with. However, I really enjoyed Rowing again and in particular the glowing sunsets we had in September.
The change in weather also brought the opportunity for new experiences. Being just a train ride away from ski slopes, amazing hiking trails and a 2km toboggan track made for a Winter unlike any I had previously experienced. Although we often had less than four hours of good light, the fun we had racing down the mountains was definitely worth it!
Learning to LOVE
As Norway is on the doorstep of Europe, a three-hour flight could take you to some of the most amazing places on Earth. My wonderful Mum came and visited me for Christmas and together we spent an evening in Iceland chasing the Northern Lights in an off-road, rugged 4WD. Or in Italy, where I met up with a friend and together we hiked the Cinque Terra Trail from Milan to La Spezia through mountain-side vineyards. It was in these moments that I fell in love with the European Continent and the people who called these countries home.
It was also special to meet my girlfriend’s family in Germany and travel with her to some amazing places such as Ireland and Denmark. Sharing these moments with her is something I will cherish.
I have tried my best to summarise the highlights from my time during the BS08 Program at BI Norwegian Business School. However, there were many more adventures, challenges and lessons learnt along the way which made my time in Norway a truly life-changing experience.
I must thank the BS08 staff for their constant support over the past five years and QUT Business School for establishing such a partnership with BI Norwegian Business School. I encourage all business students to consider the BS08 Double Degree Program and of course I recommend placing Norway at the top of the list.