How to take the next step in your Norwegian career

No-one ever said getting an Executive MBA was easy. But those who have it under their belt all agree they’ve never looked back.

How to take the next step in your Norwegian career
Photo: IgorTishenko/Depositphotos

When Vicky Samuelsen planned her move from Texas to Norway in 2014, she was dismayed to find the company she worked for didn’t have an office in Europe.

“It was a shame I couldn’t transfer because I had a good job,” she says, referring to her role at multinational mining, metals and petroleum company BHP Billiton.

But taking some time out to plan her next step proved to be the best decision Vicky could have made. It gave her time to think objectively about where to go next with her career, and inspired her to apply to study for an Executive MBA.

The intensive 18-month program, where students combine full-time jobs with part-time studies, prepares students with backgrounds in all disciplines for new management and leadership positions in the business world. With topics like Financial Management, Value Creation, and Global Context, it supplements existing experience with hard and soft skills that can bolster any application for a senior role.

Enhance your career with an Executive MBA

Broadening her skillset appealed to Vicky, who intended to step away from oil and gas when she moved to Stavanger in southwest Norway. However, her research revealed many MBA students in Norway were in her industry. So she sought out a more diverse cohort, which she found at Stockholm School of Economics (SSE).

“The diversity just wasn’t there at the schools in Norway. I knew that going to SSE there would be more variety,” she says

“What I didn’t realise was that meeting entrepreneurs, bankers and for example, people in tech, would inspire me to believe I could do something else.”

It was while working on group projects that Vicky came to realise her skills were indeed transferable. Throughout the year, she also gained experience at several different companies in various industries, giving her even more confidence to start afresh.

Since graduating, Vicky has gone on to start her own company exporting sustainably sourced Norwegian seafood and using blockchain technology to ensure its provenance.

“I don’t think I would have started my own business if I hadn’t done the MBA,” Vicky confesses, adding the course gave her the confidence and extra skills she needed to take the leap.

Since graduating in September 2017, she uses her MBA every day, whether it’s drawing on her new knowledge in finance to liaise with investors, or engaging with the network she formed at SSE.

“If I have any questions I can easily reach out to my classmates. Everyone has different backgrounds and is very supportive. We keep in touch often through several channels like Slack and WhatsApp,” she says.

The diverse mix of students on the course was also a highlight for Vicky’s fellow SSE graduate, NSHK Scholarship recipient Jan Anders Syltern.

In his class of around 50 students, there were people from 17 different countries — many from Sweden, but also from other parts of Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.

“It was very good for the learning process, we had great discussions because we all have different experiences and come from different cultures. It was really valuable,” says Jan Anders, who himself hails from Norway.

Like Vicky, he enjoyed the group work and found it an effective way to test his new learnings while honing his organisational and soft skills.

“There’s one thing thinking you know how to do something, but getting everyone onboard is something totally different,” he says. “It’s a long process and I didn’t have the understanding or patience to do it before. For me, this is where I use what I learned on my MBA every day.”

Learn more about studying at Stockholm School of Economics

He admits that at first he didn’t realise the impact the MBA would have on his career. Since graduating in 2016, he credits it with landing him a role as the Regional Manager of Norwegian engineering firm Multiconsult, where he manages 200 engineers.

“Before the MBA I thought it wouldn’t help me get much further in my career, but I didn’t realise how much I would get out of it,” he says, adding he gained a lot both professionally and personally from the course.

The MBA has made him both a more competent and patient leader, but Jan Anders says the programme is so much more than its syllabus.

“It’s an experience you’ll have with you for the rest of your life. It’s much more than a degree, it will change most people in a very positive way.”

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Stockholm School of Economics.


Norway sees student mumps outbreak

The number of people infected with the mumps virus is the highest in years and is more than double the previous record.

Norway sees student mumps outbreak
The city of Bergen is seeing a resurgence in mumps infections. Photo: Percita/Flickr

Over 80 people are currently infected with mumps in Norway, well over the previous record set 15 years ago, Science Nordic reported this week. 

According to Margrethe Greve-Isdahl, the chief physician at the Department of Vaccines for the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), the normal annual figures are between eight and 35 people so the current number represents a major outbreak in Norway.

The recent outbreak of mumps reportedly stems from international students in Trondheim who were unsure if they had been vaccinated against the virus, Greve-Isdahl said. The NIPH suspects that the infection may have been spread at a student cultural festival in October, where the infected students from Trondheim came into contact with students from across Norway.

Three infection cases in Oslo and four in Bergen are all connected to the student community and the number infected in Bergen is most likely higher, according to officials. 

The University of Bergen is taking steps to inform students about mumps by urging students to take extra precautions to prevent its spread.

The Norwegian-born students affected by the virus were in the age bracket to have received the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination that was introduced in 1983, and those who contracted the contagious disease report that they were indeed vaccinated.  

Greve-Isdahl explained to Science Nordic that “the mumps component of the MMR vaccine is the weakest one in the vaccine, and its effect can diminish over time, at least in some people.”

NIPH is recommending a second dose of the mumps vaccine primarily for individuals “who are missing one or both vaccine doses,” Greve-Isdahl said.

A recent press release from the municipality of Bergen is encouraging anyone who has been in close contact with a person infected with mumps to get a booster dose of the MMR-vaccine, regardless of their vaccination history.

Although the mumps virus can cause fever, headache, fatigue and swollen glands, Greve-Isdahl stressed that it is not in same dangerous league as the measles or rubella.

“We included mumps in the MMR vaccine because we want to limit the disease for the sake of boys. Boys who become infected after puberty may have complications with inflammation of the testicles, which can impair their ability to have children. These fertility problems may go away over time, so sterility is rarely long-term,” she told Science Nordic.