My Journey to BI: from Germany to Norway

Name: Nikolas Bieleit-Medicus

Degree programme: MSc in Leadership and Organisational Psychology

Undergraduate Degree: BSc in Psychology, BSc in Philosophy

Undergraduate University: Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck

Hometown: Berlin, German

Motivation

My path to BI was a fairly convoluted one. Until the end of 2017, the idea to continue my education at a Business School had been completely foreign to me, so deceptively confident was I in my ambition for an academic career in philosophy. However, while working on my application for Oxford, I realized that I had become sick of indulging in intellectualism which lacked significant impact. I started looking out for alternative programs which promised more purposeful pursuits and BI’s unique Master in applied Organizational Psychology with a focus on Leadership captured my attention. My love for the outdoors made studies in Oslo additionally appealing and on top of that came BI’s unequaled scholarship opportunities for international students.

I applied, was accepted and moreover offered extensive funding. Freeing oneself from a long set ideal is not easy and inevitably followed by some degree of insecurity and disorientation; but persisting doubts about how to go on with my life did not live more than a few weeks into my current program. At BI, a whole new world of business cultures, intellectual challenges and exciting prospects for the future began to unveil itself. I embraced the granted opportunity, and, today, I find myself exploring the novel environment with fulfilling eagerness.

Academic Experience

Rather under-challenged by my undergraduate degrees, I was unsure how demanding the Master program at BI would turn out to be and thus unreservedly engaged with several interests outside my program as soon as I arrived in Oslo. I attended Seminars at the Faculty for Philosophy of the University of Oslo, soon planned a hiking-trip to Lofoten and went to Stockholm for SingularityU conference with Telia. My first Norwegian autumn was simply amazing and, therefore, I do not regret any of it. However, while making a significant effort to nurture such extra-curricular interests, far from complying, ambitions for my program increased simultaneously. Hence, my unwillingness to compromise admittedly contributed to a surprisingly overwhelming workload. My studies, so to speak, took jealous revenge for being neglected undivided attention.

I am not advising to set aside all passions and interests. However, I urge any prospective student who is not absolutely stress-immune to choose priorities wisely! Inspect carefully everything that prevents you from unrestrictedly engaging with the exciting challenges of your program and maintain only what you do not want to live without. Embrace the opportunities you are offered – and, to be sure, it is not the time for laziness.

International Experience

Six years ago, I left my hometown Berlin and have travelled and lived in many places since. Nevertheless, it is easy to forget the effort required to make yourself a home in a new place. Despite its cultural closeness to Germany, Norway is not quite the same as Austria (where I did my undergraduate degrees). The foreign language and the formalities connected to moving to a non-EU country can contribute to some exhausting first weeks. It is worth it, however, and one quickly adapts – while growing personally along with it.

Keeping such personal development in mind, make sure that you acknowledge the entirety of novelty around you. As described above, time will be a scarce resource during the years at BI. Nonetheless, Oslo as a thriving capital offers opportunities which might well deserve being allocated a well-considered share of it.

To name just a few: its membership being close to costless, SiO Athletica calls for learning dancing, or Yoga or engaging with one of the countless other activities offered; nearly every week, both at BI and Oslo’s other Universities, there will be some inspiring (and open to everyone) talk, seminar or conference on the challenges of the modern globalized world, both from scientific and humanist perspectives; companies searching for aspiring talents offer internships or fund extra-curricular education; and of course, you will be living in, arguably, on the world’s most beautiful countries.

Reflections

Turning from the abstract lessons of Philosophy to the result-directed education of a Business-School really meant leaving the academic ivory tower behind. I can finally acknowledge how much else there is to learn besides analytical thinking; trainable skillsets I have either neglected as such, believing their mastery could be taken for granted (such as teamwork) or of which’s importance I was simply not aware (e.g. digital competence). All the while they constitute factors just as decisive as abstract reasoning in determining success in modern life, and hence, it is profoundly fulfilling to address them now at BI.

The now overcome but long undisputed ambition to become an influential philosopher has not yet found a concrete replacement. I do not have a certain career goal yet, but what could have been encumbering incertitude, appears instead – given the circumstances – as exciting open-endedness. The valuable qualification provided by my program promises exciting follow-ups, the most likely of which, given my fascination for topics such as Human Enhancement, Leadership, (Meta-)Learning and Peak Performance, will be expanding studies up to a Ph.D. Many of my seemingly non-academic passions – such as freediving, mediation, and Yoga – become relevant here, ethical controversies and just the right amount of philosophy are granted, and, without doubt, the challenges met by these fields match the spirit of our time.

Nikolas began the MSc in Leadership and Organisational Psychology programme in August 2018. To find out more about the programme, go to www.bi.edu or email myfuture@bi.no.

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