Impressions on NHH & the Norwegian Education System

Hey guys,

so classes for my Masters program are not supposed to start until next Monday, but over the last week all international students were introduced to the school and the setup of the Masters program which is a little different than what I experienced during my Bachelor.

1) NHH is tiny compared to the UW:

NHH

I think NHH has around 3000 students while the UW has around 42000 students. This basically gives you an idea of what I felt like the first day I walked through the buildings. This is it? But then again to be fair NHH is only a business/economics school, so it makes sense to not have 42K students studying business at one school.

2) NHH is really well known and appreciated in Norway:

I knew I picked a good school, but I didn’t realize that Norwegians felt the same way. So many of the students I’ve met are out of towners from all over Norway starting their Bachelor or Masters programs this year and they’re aware that NHH is one of the best if not the best business school in Norway.

3) Bachelor & Masters studies:

Apparently, the bachelor studies in Norway are only 3 years long and because most students finish the 3 years and still don’t know what they want to do with their lives, they decide to pursue their Masters right after. Others have been in the military for a bit or already have one Masters degree and decided to come back for another Masters. In some cases where someone already has a Masters degree from a Norwegian school, they get on a fast track program for one year and are then able to graduate with a second one which I find pretty cool.

4) Education is FREE.

Should have probably put this on the top of the list, but oh well. A lot of people have asked me WHY NORWAY? when I decided to pursue my Masters here and while there are a ton of different reasons that all add up, one of the big ones is that education is free. You basically pay a semester fee equal to $120 every semester and can then take as many classes as you’d like at school. This means that even if I’m studying Business, I can take Norwegian classes that don’t count towards my degree.

5) Setup of class registration:

This is one of the things that confuses me THE MOST. In the US you have a couple weeks at the start of the semester to shop around classes and pick which ones you’re going to pursue for the semester. Since extra credits mean extra tuition, people try to avoid taking extra classes if they know they won’t be able to handle the workload. However, in Norway since taking extra credit doesn’t cost you extra and you’re allowed to drop classes until 3 weeks before the final, you can imagine what happens: people sign up for extra classes all the time; they show up to the different sections, participate (or not) and then decide to drop the class a month before the semester is over. We’ll see how this goes; I really hope it doesn’t affect group work etc, but we’ll find out very soon. Right now this is how my calendar looks like; as you can tell some classes clash with each other so I’ll just have to see which one I like best and stick with that.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 12.02.32 PM

6) Setup of the Masters studies:

The setup of the Masters studies here is really different from the setup of my Bachelor back in the States. It feels like they leave you with so much freedom here and I really do hope that it turns out to be a good thing at the end.

Example: My Masters is supposed to be a Masters in Business & Economics with a focus on Energy and Renewable Resources. The program requires me to take 12 courses and write a thesis in order to graduate. The way it works though is that NHH doesn’t require you to take any specific course. The school requires you to take one out of a list of 4 courses that are the basis of the program. Then you pick 5 courses out of the core courses of the program and pick 6 out of another list of courses that you can then turn into a minor. That’s it. No list of courses that everyone has to take, no this, no that. So basically you and the person you’ve met at day 1 at orientation can graduate with the same degree not having taken one single class together! Isn’t that crazy?

I think this is it for now, but next time I’ll tell you a little about the  student life at NHH.

Until then,

Dom.

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