‘Out of the question to start my career in Norway’

NHH student Aleksandra Maria Kjemhus
NHH graduate Aleksandra Maria Kjemhus has lived in seven countries and speaks four languages fluently. She is now working in finance for Nordea in Copenhagen. Photo: Private/Pexels.
NHH By Sigrid Grøm Bakken

4 April 2019 11:09

‘Out of the question to start my career in Norway’

With a job in finance in Denmark, Aleksandra Maria Kjemhus is going for an international career. The proportion of NHH graduates working abroad has increased by over 30 per cent in just two years.

‘I’ve wanted to have an international career for a long time. After completing my economics degree, applying for a job in Norway was out of the question. It would mean missing out on interesting work opportunities, experience and important knowledge,’ says former NHH and CEMS student Aleksandra Maria Kjemhus.

Last spring, Kjemhus graduated with a master's degree in International Business at NHH and moved to Copenhagen. She is now working on change management and digital transformation there as a consultant for Nordea.

‘I’m working in an international team with people from eight different countries. Together, we are working on new business models, digital trends and strategic partnerships. Since we all have different backgrounds, we contribute different experience and perspectives to the team. Our collaboration leads to many creative ideas and solutions,’ she says.

Read NHH's Labour Market Survey


Kjemhus is originally from Poland, but moved to Bergen when she was five. The 27-year-old speaks four languages fluently and Denmark is the seventh country she has lived in.

With two student exchanges under her belt in Brisbane and Budapest, respectively, and a CEMS master’s degree in international management, Kjemhus’s profile is very attractive in the international labour market.

‘My experience from abroad has given me the confidence to go for an international career. I prefer being in new surroundings and multicultural environments. I enjoy living in Denmark, but I would like to work outside Europe as well at some point,’ she says.

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Travels to Japan to gain relevant work experience

Last autumn, the government set a requirement for more practical training in education. NHH has taken steps to meet this requirement and is now sending students abroad to give them relevant work experience.

more work abroad

An increasing amount of NHH graduates are doing the same as Kjemhus and choosing an international career.

Today, 11.3 per cent of students who graduated in 2018 are now working abroad, according to NHH’s new labour market survey. This is a relative increase of 36 per cent from 2016 when the proportion was 8.3 per cent.

NHH has worked for many years to encourage the students’ interest in working abroad. According to Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, Linda Nøstbakken, NHH is now seeing the results of this long-term work.

‘The increase is probably related to our focus on internationalisation in recent years. We recruit more full-degree students from abroad and the NHH campus is developing an increasingly international profile. NHH students are also the best in Norway at going on student exchanges,’ she says.

Nordea's locations in Denmark.
Aleksandra Maria Kjemhus works at Nordea’s offices in Copenhagen, as seen here. She works on topics regarding change management and digital transformation. Photo: Flickr v. PeS-Photo.

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Best at student exchanges

NHH's Labour Market Survey 2018

  • The survey maps out the students’ transition to employment and the advantages and disadvantages of their education with respect to their jobs.
  • It was conducted in the period 7–31 January 2019 and 41.5 per cent of master’s students who completed their degrees in spring 2018 responded.
  • The proportion of graduates employed six months after their graduation is 92.1 per cent, up 4 percentage points from 2017. The remaining graduates are studying (3.4%) or are seeking work (4.4%).
  • 96.3 per cent says their work is relevant to their NHH education (up 2 percentage points from 2017 and 2016).
  • 85.6 per cent find work before they have completed their master’s degree - an increase of 12 percentage points from 2017.
  • NHH students earn an average of NOK 555,400 (incl. bonuses). The median income is NOK 555,003. These figures only apply to NHH students working in Norway.
  • 89.3 per cent work in the private sector, down 10 percentage points from the previous year.
  • NHH graduates primarily work in consultancy (36%), auditing (13.4%), banking, insurance and finance (12.4%) or the IT industry (8.6%).
  • 11.3 per cent of NHH graduates work abroad.

In 2018, 59 per cent of NHH students had been on a student exchange. The average for the country as a whole is 16 per cent.

‘The students gain relevant experience through exchanges, they learn new languages, become more open to new cultures and challenge their own limits to a greater extent. All of this makes NHH graduates well prepared for an international career,’ says Nøstbakken.

This winter, Minister of Research and Higher Education Iselin Nybø announced that too few Norwegian students aim for an international career. She is pleased about the positive increase at NHH and says that:

‘International cooperation and dialogue across national borders are vital for being able to handle the major global challenges the world is facing. I think that an exchange abroad should be the norm and hope that more institutions can follow NHH’s example by motivating and enabling even more students to go abroad,’ says Nybø.