Board of Trustees Report

Studies and Students

A critical factor for BI's success is the ability to deliver courses and programmes with high relevance and quality to large groups of students where delivery models are in line with the students' high expectations.

Digitization and educational innovation

Today's students expect a digital academic life, and in recent years, BI has made significant investments in technology and digital solutions. Through 2016, BI saw tangible results of several of the digital projects that have been under development.

  • BI opened a digital examination centre at campus Oslo, and during the past year, a large number of BI’s students took digital examinations. The course “Bedriften” is BI's largest course measured in number of students, and a milestone was reached with successfully digitized examinations in this course in 2016.
  • In 2014, 20 webinars were given to students while over 200 were carried out in 2016. This is a form of teaching students rate very highly.
  • In January, BI opened a Bloomberg Financial Markets Lab consisting of 12 Bloomberg terminals to be used in teaching. Students can also use the terminals freely.
  • To further strengthen both the strategic focus and the operational implementation of digital solutions at BI, a position as Digital Director of BI's management team was established. Elin Borrebæk was appointed this position in November 2016.

BI’s ambitions to be a leading European business school requires that we continually develop our programmes in line with research and practice, and that we modernize the way we deliver our courses in order to ensure a good learning outcome for students. In recent years, BI educators conducted pilot projects on experimental and innovative pedagogy. Through 2016 the lessons learned from these projects were systematized and more students were exposed to new learning methods.

Progression and completion

Student completion rate is a measure of success for BI. The project First Year Experience (FYE) is in essence on how BI will get more students to succeed with their studies. In 2016, measures were implemented to improve the start of studies, social and professional integration and more targeted individual support. Focus on coping and implementation in recent years has helped to increase the proportion of students who complete their studies in the prescribed time.

Our Students

Overview of number of students *


Autumn 2015 Autumn 2016
PHD-studies** 63 57
Full-time Studies



Bachelor*** 13207 13247
Master of Science 1230 1288
Part-time Studies



Executive Master 1979 1980
Executive MBA**** 268 287
Single courses 4075 3936

* Figures from DBH - Database of Higher Education
**Own figures
*** Includes part-time contracts for full-time studies
****Includes BI-Fudan MBA

Completion rate for Bachelor students

Completion rate for MSc students

Admission 2016

The admission of full-time students in 2016 was affected by challenges in Norwegian industry, particularly on the west coast as a consequence of the decline in the oil and gas sector. BI Norwegian Business School campus Bergen and campus Stavanger experienced reduced admission numbers, while campus Trondheim increased admissions and campus Oslo held sway in the number of bachelor students. BI has experienced a significant increase in the number of students taking year-units. This is mainly due to increased admission requirements for our three-year bachelor programmes.

For the Master of Science, 2016 was a record year for admissions. BI wants a stronger MSc profile and our focus on international recruitment efforts is bearing fruit.

Students in Master of Science per programme

Multi Campus model

BI is an independent specialized university institution with headquarters in Oslo and four campuses in Norway: Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger. All campuses offer a selection of Bachelor programmes and executive education programmes. The professionally substantial MSc and PhD studies are only offered in Oslo. BI has noted increased interest in our distributed multi campus model after several mergers were completed in the Norwegian higher education sector in the past year.

Full-time students per campus

There were no significant changes to the programme portfolio in 2016.


BI Norwegian Business School’s ambitions to internationalize the Norwegian campuses contribute to a focus on recruiting degree students and incoming exchange students. Over recent years, the number of international students increased gradually year by year and in 2016 there were 2,162 international students at our campuses. This represents an increase of 4% from 2015 and an average annual growth rate of 6% from 2012.

The termination of the national system of quota scholarship in 2016 changed the conditions for the recruitment of foreign students. Overall, BI looses 32 quota scholarships, 16 of which were discontinued in autumn 2016. In order to compensate for this, BI has increased efforts to recruit self-financed students, and reallocated some of our own scholarship resources to MSc scholarships specifically aimed at countries where quota scholarship was an essential condition for recruitment.

It is a stated goal that graduates from BI shall be preferred in an international job market. BI is working diligently to facilitate that especially our MSc our graduates will be able to operate in an international context. In 2016, BI launched international internships where students can apply for internship in combination with an exchange semester. BI currently has exchange agreements with more than half of the 50 highest-ranked business schools in Europe. 

Milestones in 2016

In February, BI International Case Competition (BIICC) was arranged for the first time. Eleven student teams from around the world met in Oslo to solve a real life problem in a competition that is to be established as an annual tradition at BI.

The international network master Quantitative Techniques for Economics and Management (QTEM) got more applicants and more participants in 2016. QTEM is a programme for the most ambitious graduate students, with a focus on analytical skills and advanced quantitative techniques adapted to a global reality. The international network of schools is expanding steadily.

2016 marked 20 years since the first students started on the programme that today is know as BI-Fudan MBA. The anniversary was marked in September when BI Norwegian Business School and Fudan University School of Management hosted the Nordic Business Forum Shanghai 2016. The forum was held in close cooperation with the four Nordic business chambers in Shanghai and the Nordic Center at Fudan University.

In 2016, the first class on the Master of Management programme in Health Management received their diplomas. The programme is offered as part of the National management training for primary health care in collaboration with the Directorate of Health, Ministry of Health and KS.

The first class at the Executive Master of Management with specialization in security management and cultural understanding conducted their last study module in December 2016. The programme, which began in 2014 has been developed in cooperation with the Norwegian Armed Forces.

The development of a distinct BI candidate profile that combines academic strength, skills and values is an important strategic project for BI. In 2016, much of the groundwork was done to define the skills to be cherished at all BI students, and specifically at each programme. IT skills, communication skills and a more distinct international mind set are some of the elements that will have a more pronounced place in courses and teaching activities in the years ahead.

Accreditations and rankings

To achieve and maintain accreditations requires systematic work on education quality, research and all aspects of BI’s organization. The requirements for re-accreditation are becoming higher and accreditation bodies do a careful evaluation of BI's ability to maintain and improve our standards.

For a school with international ambitions there are three main accreditations that apply: EQUIS (European Quality Improvement Systems), AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and AMBA (The Association of MBAs). Schools that have all three are called Triple Crown schools, and these are in a class of their own among business schools internationally.

BI has had accreditation from EQUIS since 1999, accreditation from AMBA since 2013 and accreditation from AACSB since 2014. In 2008, BI was accredited as a specialized university institution from NOKUT.

In June 2016, BI was among the first educational institutions in the world with the new certification EFMD Online Course Certification System (EOCCS). EOCCS is awarded on the basis of the quality of online courses to schools that succeed in adopting future teaching methods.

The Triple Crown status and position at the FT rankings are important for BI’s reputation both nationally and internationally. This has great significance in the competition to recruit both academics and students internationally, while increasing the value of a BI diploma.

The Financial Times ranking consists of a total of seven separate rankings that target specific programmes. BI participates in four separate rankings, as well as in the overall school ranking.

In 2016, BI Norwegian Business School received 35th place in the annual Financial Times European Business Schools Ranking 2016. Thus BI climbed 25 places over the past five years. The main performance indicators are related to our former students' salary, career development and goal achievement, and customer satisfaction.

Financial Times European Business School Rankings

In the separate ranking for Executive MBA programmes, BI-Fudan MBA came in place 39, up from place 48 in 2015. BI EMBA entered the list for the first time in 2015, and climbed from space 98 to space 93 in 2016.

Financial Times category rankings

In the separate ranking Masters in Management, BI’s MSc in Business is evaluated as number 71 on a list of the 90 best programmes in Europe.

The separate ranking Executive Education addresses the customized and open courses and programmes aimed at the continuing education market. BI’s tailored programme was at number 56 in 2016, while programmes in the category Open Enrolment came in place 58.