Re-examined: Agnes Bergo
Why did you decide to study at NHH?
– It really was a form of youth rebellion. I was accepted to both medicine and NHH, and my parents really wanted me to choose medicine. You can say that I chose NHH without any support from home.
Do you have a favorite lecturer?
– Knut Boye. In his pleasant southern dialect, effective interest and present value calculations became understandable and clear. Years later Knut became my mentor and we developed several courses together. I valued him highly and miss him deeply.
Do you have any additional education?
I am a trained as a stockbroker in New York. I have always thought that individuals should invest more in stocks and less in property. It was a valuable experience in a very tough market. I used a lot of what I learned there when I started Pengedoktoren.
Tell us about your career?
When I returned from the US, I was asked if I wanted to be a part of starting up Norway’s first money market unit trust. Naturally I said yes, and in the end of 1986, Nevi Høyrente was born. At that time the law said that the company paid taxes to the state on the profit, while the recipients paid their taxes to the municipality. That was a huge challenge communications wise. We had to explain to our clients that when they received interest income from us, part of the tax was already paid, but when they received interest income from the bank, they had to pay taxes to both the state and the municipality themselves. Everyone, even the politicians, could see that the law had to be changed. We got a legislative amendment through the Odelsting in three months. I think that is a record. It was through this process that I understood how little people know about taxes, and that it would be possible to earn a living as an advisor in private economy. I started up Pengedoktoren in 1988. Since that I have been building the company. I don’t want to work with anything else.
- Graduated: 1982
- Job: General Manager in Pengedoktoren AS
What has your education at NHH meant for your choice of career?
– It meant a lot. At NHH I get to learn from some of the most competent professionals in Norway. I am, and always have been, a worker, and at NHH I really got tested. I learned to structure my work, different work approaches and analysis. That has been important in my career.
Do you keep in touch with the people you studied with at NHH?
– I found my husband as NHH. He was in his last year when I was in my first. We were both politically active, and met at a political meeting in Laksevåg. He had a car, and since we both studied at NHH, we travelled together to meetings. One day after a meeting I invited him up to Hatleberg for a cup of tea after a meeting. He never left, and since that day we have been together. This summer we celebrated out 33rd wedding anniversary. He is my best support, my most honest critic, my boyfriend and my best friend.
Tell us about your most vivid NHH memory!
– I have a lot of good memories, especially from the non-academic activities. I was a part of the UKE-choir. Once we performed at a welfare center for the elderly. The elderly seemed to like our singing, and were very enthusiastic. When we left, an old lady tugged at my friend and wondered what kind of choir we were. She replied that we came from NHH. Oh, said the lady, but what about all the girls, where did they come from? My friend smiled and explained that the girls in the choir washed and cooked for the clever boys who studied at NHH. The lady was happy with this. Certainly, that would have to be the explanation!
Do you have any good advice to NHH-students when applying for jobs?
– I have two pieces of advice. Make sure that the knowledge you earn, helps others. In my field there has unfortunately been many examples of misuse of what we call asymertical knowledge. Now, thankfully, the law is stricter than it used to be. I would also like to pass on the advice that worked best for me when I was a student, and which still works both in my job and otherwise: work, work, work! That is underrated and always works.
What is on your bedside table?
– I always have several books on my bedside table. When I find an author that I like, I often purchase everything they have written. I just finished “Fyrsten” by Henrik Langeland. It was good, but not as good as Wonderboy. And «Verdensmestrene» is his best book. But I didn’t like the sequel, «Hauk og due».
What kind of career would you choose if you could choose again?
– I feel safe to say that I chose the right education. I am proud of what I have accomplished. And I am happy that I defied my parents and didn’t study medicine. In return I have a son who is now a doctor. If I had to choose a practical occupation, I would have become a gardener. I like making things grow. And I enjoy seeing the results from my efforts. After a couple of hours in the garden, my back hurts, but in a good way!