From IB to Norway

Name: Madeleine Hjelmstierna

Program: Bachelor of Business Administration

High School: The International High School of the Gothenburg Region

Hometown: Gothenburg, Sweden

IB Subjects: Swedish A Lang Lit SL, Psychology SL, Mathematics SL, English B HL, Computer Science HL, Business Management HL

My name is Madeleine Hjelmstierna and I’m currently in my first year of the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) programme. My hometown is Gothenburg, Sweden, which is also where I did the IB programme. While in IB I studied Swedish A Lang Lit SL, Psychology SL, Mathematics SL, English B HL, Computer Science HL, Business Management HL; it might not be surprising that Business was my favourite subject.

The way I found out about BI was through coincidence; one day during the summer between IB11 and IB12, I sat down, researched universities, and happened to google “business school Norway,” why exactly Norway was on my mind, I cannot remember. There are several reasons why I chose BI in the end, but the three main ones were that I wanted to continue my studies in English, I wanted a degree that would prepare me well for future master’s studies and I wanted a program that allowed me focus on my biggest interest, finance. Long story short: here I am, in Oslo with a month left until my first university exam.

The outside of BI

In all honesty, I did not know what to expect when I first walked through the doors of BI on the first day. However, with time I’ve come to really enjoy the atmosphere in school, both inside and outside the lecture halls. In my class there are usually about 100 people, however we usually have lectures with other classes so some days we’re over 200 students in one lecture hall. One might think that there would be disturbances, but all the students take their responsibility to assure an academic environment. The BBA class is an interesting mix; I think I’ve met at least one person from each continent, and I’ve lost track of all the nationalities… there’s also way fewer Norwegians than expected. Additionally, the building itself is fantastic, it’s only a few years old and bigger than I ever imagined (eight floors!), with all the resources you could ever need. My favourite spot on campus is the quiet area of the library where you can find yourself a nice little armchair/cubicle and look out over Oslo while studying. I should also mention that the atmosphere around the Oslo campus is amazing. I live only minutes from school and love the surroundings. There are several cafés where you can study and Akerselva, the river that runs through Nydalen, brings a cosy faint noise to the area.

Only a minute from Oslo campus you’ll find Akerselva. Cozy scenery during the autumn and winter, but also a popular spot to take a dip in the river during the summer months!

One of the things I’m looking forward to the most within the BBA program is the third year; not only will I be able to solely study finance, but I will also get the opportunity to have an internship. I would have loved to do a semester abroad at one of BI’s partner universities; however, it’s not an option for those who choose the finance specialisation.

For future students, especially IB students, I can say that there is a big difference between studying in high school and university. The biggest reason is the fact that in high school the curriculum spans about two years but at BI it spans one term, yet there is, or at least feels like, just as much content. The emphasis on self-studying is also much bigger. Many IB students spend loads of time studying at home for homework, quizzes and of course the final exams. At BI, you have one assignment before the exam, per course. It is entirely up to you to prepare for lectures and do the work; the professors won’t check if you did or did not. Now, I don’t say this to scare anyone, but it is something I wished to have known when I started and not realised halfway through the first term.

Once I get too bored of sitting at my own desk at home, going down to Starbucks gives a nice change of scenery.

I wish all of you who have read this good luck with your studies and I hope that my words have helped you get a better understanding of what it is like at BI!

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