Took double degree – works with innovation in South Africa
With a double degree from NHH and the elite university HEC Paris, Helen Kvande Due can choose between jobs within the fields of finance, innovation and sustainability.
‘The finance and leadership courses at NHH interested me, but I also wanted to delve into subjects dealing with innovation and sustainability, since I eventually want to work with creating positive results beyond the financial aspect,’ she says.
The solution was therefore to join NHH’s Double Degree Programme.
read 3 myths about double degree at the end of the article.
Moved to Paris
Doing a double degree programme means completing two master's degree programmes in the same period of time it usually takes to complete one.
The first year of the programme is spent at NHH, followed by a year at one of NHH’s partner universities abroad. Upon graduation, you receive two diplomas and master’s degree titles.
Kvande Due did her main profile in Energy and Natural Resource Management at NHH and moved to Paris for a year to take a double master's degree in Sustainability and Social Innovation at the prestigious university, HEC Paris.
‘It was a great opportunity to spend time abroad and obtain more specialist knowledge. My ambitions lie in an international career, and it can therefore be an advantage to have a master's degree from a recognised institution abroad,’ she says.
‘How would you describe the workload – is it doable for the average master’s student?’
‘The programme is structured in such a way that you can take two specialisations, without having to double the amount of work you put in. I only wrote one master's thesis, for instance. Naturally, the programme is somewhat more demanding than a regular master’s programme, but at NHH, people give you good advice along the way,’ she says.
‘You should be interested in the fields you specialise in, however, and have the ability to plan and structure your time,’ the 26 year old says.
Kine Korsmo Robertsen, senior consultant at the Section for International Relations at NHH, thinks the interdisciplinary knowledge the joint degree students acquire make them particularly sought after in the job market.
‘They are qualified for a wider range of positions, manage to see things from different perspectives, and can take on more responsibilities. That is valuable,’ she says.
‘A whole year spent abroad, as opposed to a semester on an exchange, will also make you better acquainted with the host country. This is a good point of departure if you want to work abroad later on,’ Robertsen says.
Kvande Due is now doing an internship with Innovation Norway in Cape Town, South Africa, where she is working to help find solutions that can contribute to reducing the water shortage in the city.
‘If you are interested in innovation and sustainability, it is useful to have an insight based on several fields of knowledge. The fact that I had two master’s degrees, and therefore a particularly suitable profile, was decisive for obtaining the position,’ she maintains.
Three myths about joint degrees
Robertsen guides students who are thinking about applying for a joint degree. She believes there are three myths in particular in circulation:
A big workload?
‘Many students at NHH seem to be under the impression that the joint degree programme is very demanding in terms of work, and that they must take many more than the 120 credits required by the NHH degree. This is not true,’ says Robertsen.
‘We are continually working on elaborating programme descriptions for each of the programmes at the partner universities, so that they are in line with the courses the students take at NHH,’ says Robertsen.
Demanding entry requirements?
Students who apply for the joint degree programme are put through a thorough admission process, where the students’ motivation, English language proficiency, grades, and personal and academic abilities are assessed.
‘In that sense, it is true that we have demanding entry requirements. It is hard to gain admission, because it is more important for us to find the right candidate for the right programme, than to send out a lot of students. That does not mean that you need top grades in everything, however. We make an overall assessment of the applicants,’ says Robertsen.
Employers do not know what joint degrees are?
NHH is one of few Norwegian schools that offer joint degree programmes. Abroad, joint degrees are more common, especially among business schools. Robertsen says that this has an impact on the employers’ knowledge of the programme.
‘I am afraid that it is true that joint programmes are not particularly well known in Norway. It is the students who must explain to their potential employers what the joint programme is, and demonstrate what they have learned and gained from it, and how it has shaped their experience,’ she says.