Board of Trustees Report 2017

Programmes and students

Today’s students expect digital interaction in their studies. Over the last few years, BI has made substantial investments in technology and digital solutions. The Bachelor Blended project was started in the autumn of 2017 with the pilot course “Bedriften” (The Firm). Bachelor Blended involves using varied forms of learning with the goal of enhancing learning outcome for BI’s students. The objective is for all core courses at the bachelor level to be “blended” by 2020. A new multimedia centre was opened in September 2017. The centre contains different facilities for green screen recordings and podcast productions, two webinar studios and several locations for live “BI-TV”.

In addition to this, BI has employed several other tools to increase the learning outcome for students. These include:

  • Use of lesson webinars has increased considerably in 2017, with more than 300 webinar productions that are well received by both students and faculty.
  • Differ is a communication app with a chatbot that was tested during the autumn semester in 2017 in multiple courses, including the pilot course for the Bachelor Blended project. Surveys showed 19 times more activity on Differ compared with course rooms in the current learning environment platform itslearning.
  • PeerGrade is a tool for fellow student grading which was tested during the autumn of 2017. 
  • As part of BI’s skills project, 1000 BI students were offered an online Excel course through the Swedish Learnesy.

Over the past year, BI organised 1104 examinations, of which 558 were digital (50.5%) and 546 were on paper (49.5%). Of the digital examinations, 153 were written examinations.

The digitalisation of examinations has not been entirely without problems. At the end of 2017, we experienced downtime in the examination platform, which meant that about 2500 students had to re-sit their examination. In addition to this, we experienced some cases of minor slowness and problems, but where the students were still able to submit their paper. In addition to weaknesses in the technical solution, the outcome revealed deficiencies related to preparedness and communication regarding these types of incidents. Improvement of this will be an important focus area in 2018. Despite the issues mentioned above, implementation of digital examinations is a priority area. Although the implementation has proven to be slightly more challenging than expected, the goal stands firm.

In 2012, BI launched a student portal that contains all the information that the students need in their day-to-day studies. The portal contains the schedule, course overview, grades and all administrative information regarding the studies. In 2017, funds were granted for upgrading the student portal to a more modern visual profile that is mobile-friendly and has the possibility to tailor information based on different groups of users. In addition, there was a need to make the student portal more stable since, over time, there had been capacity issues and periods with considerable slowness and downtime. The new student portal will be ready to launch for the largest user groups in April 2018, but implementation will be ongoing until the summer of 2018. BI also launched a new website in 2017. The new website received the Farmand award for design and highly useful content for the different target groups.

In 2017, BI’s management established the “Future Teaching & Learning” programme. The purpose was to coordinate all projects and pilots that involve developing new teaching practices and use of learning technology. After many years of focusing on experimentation and testing, BI is now headed into a phase where the focus is to scale up the use of varied teaching methods and learning technology for a larger part of BI’s study programme portfolio. The “Future Teaching & Learning” programme coordinates the Bachelor Blended, Digitalisation of examination and Alliance Imperial College Business School projects.

BI shall be known for excellent teaching and learning among students, employees, businesses and academia. This presumes a strategic and systematic approach to expertise development. Through the “Learning Excellence” project, an educational training programme aimed at BI’s teachers is just one of the things that has been established.

A better Master Thesis process has been developed at the initiative of Dean MSc to ensure quality and equal standards across departments in the students’ work on the master thesis.

A new CRM project was started in 2017. The overarching goal of the project is to provide better support for the customer/student journey throughout the entire lifecycle. In the first phase, the project will prioritise improved handling of incoming customer inquiries and outgoing information. Establishment of one joint first line and procurement of a new CRM system is a part of the project. Continuous needs assessments are being conducted as a basis for the investment decision.

New campuses in Trondheim and Stavanger

BI has a strong focus on environmentally friendly and energy-efficient operations. The investment in new campuses in Trondheim and Stavanger is key in this work. The laying of the cornerstone for BI’s new environmental building – campus Trondheim at Brattørkaia, took place in February 2017. The new campus in Trondheim will be ready for the start of studies in 2018. In November 2017, BI Norwegian Business School and GMC Eiendom via Byfjordparken AS signed an agreement relating to a new campus in Stavanger. In 2019, about 700 students will populate the new campus in Byfjordparken in Stavanger. The investments in new campuses support BI’s ambitions to facilitate new and future-oriented learning methods.

Learning environment

BI aims to have a good and inclusive learning environment at all campuses, where diversity among students is appreciated. Close cooperation between the students and employees is a key to success in this respect. In practice, this cooperation takes place at multiple levels – during regular dialogue meetings between the student organisations and BI’s management, as well as in the studies and at the campuses. The learning environment committee shall both safeguard reporting to the Board of Trustees regarding BI’s work on the learning environment and ensure a coordinated follow-up. In 2018, higher priority will be assigned to the learning environment committee’s work on the physical and psychological learning environment.

International cooperation

EdTech Forum is a network of international business schools with a focus on future-oriented education within business. BI, through LearningLab, was contacted through this network last year by Imperial College Business School and was presented with an initiative to establish a strategic alliance focused on developing a new standard for “excellent online education” for the Executive market. The alliance was launched in February 2018 and a joint course platform will be ready for use from October 2018. The other current members of the alliance are the Imperial College Business School, ESMT Berlin and Singapore Management University (SMU). The main goal is to develop excellent online and blended education for the part-time market. The project at BI will be organised and coordinated as a part of the Future Teaching & Learning programme, along with the Bachelor Blended and digital examination project.

2017 admissions

4625 new students started BI’s full-time studies in the autumn of 2017. The objective to recover the student volume that was lost in the 2016 admissions was not achieved. However, the application and admission to full-time studies was so good that all scheduled programmes, including new additions at all four campuses, were carried out as planned.

The international market continues to be an arena that offers opportunities for BI, and where enhanced efforts can increase admissions. Admissions to the BBA programme were record high last year, and the admission of international MSc students was maintained at the same level as for 2016. Admissions in 2017 were the second highest ever at the MSc level.

Further development of a programme portfolio that addresses the desires and demand in both the Norwegian and international markets is essential for maintaining a satisfactory student volume in the future.

Completion rate

Over time, BI has worked with the goal of having more students succeed with their studies and to complete their studies in the normal time. A number of measures for a better start of studies, social and academic integration and better individual follow-up were implemented in 2017. A focus on achievement and execution has contributed to a small increase in the number of students who complete their studies in the standard period. Among those who started a full-time bachelor programme in 2014, 37.4% completed in the standard time in the summer of 2017. The corresponding figure for 2013 was 36.7%. The completion rate in the standard time for Master of Science students is stable at 80%.

Digital diplomas

The first digital diplomas from BI were produced in the autumn of 2017. The new digital diplomas remove a number of manual processes, ensure the accuracy in reporting of graduated students and significantly improve the security and quality requirements. Digital diplomas have also contributed to increased satisfaction among students.

More options at campuses

In 2017, minor changes were made to the bachelor portfolio at the campuses in Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim. The bachelor programme in Entrepreneurship and finance was offered at all campuses from the start of studies in 2017. The programme has previously only been offered in Oslo. The bachelor programme in PR and market communication was not offered at campus Trondheim at the start of studies in 2017.

Increased digital focus

Today’s students know that they need digital expertise as a part of their degree, regardless of which education or career path they have chosen. BI must respond to the changed expertise requirements that the technological development brings and must cultivate technological literacy, digital skills and a “digital mindset” in students. In 2017, BI launched three new programmes in the portfolio:

  • The new Executive MBA specialisation “Digital” was launched in the autumn of 2017. The specialisation will cover development and management of digital organisations. Executive MBA Digital will enable managers to make a digital agenda and to handle digital transformation in their own organisation. With this, BI Executive MBA offers four specialisations starting in 2018.
  • Companies report a significant demand for candidates that can make use of existing and available data for the purpose of making decisions. A particularly great need has been reported for people who can use such data in a business context. In order to meet this expertise demand, BI has developed a new master programme, Master of Science in Business Analytics.
  • Globalisation in today’s financial markets has led to increased competition and an increased demand for candidates who can combine a solid understanding of financial theory with quantitative skills. BI therefore launched the new master programme MSc in Quantitative Finance at the end of 2017.

Executive MBA Digital will start for the first time in March 2018. MSc in Business Analytics and MSc in Quantitative Finance will matriculate the first students at the start of studies in the autumn of 2018.


BI needs both an excellent faculty and excellent students. For 2017, BI received many strong applications for scholarships, at the Bachelor and MSc levels. Sixty-two MSc scholarships were granted to talented students from 25 countries. Four different scholarship programmes are provided. BI sponsors three of these itself, while the remaining programme is sponsored by the A. Wilhelmsen Foundation. At the master level, the BI Presidential Scholarship, A. Wilhelmsen Foundation Scholarship, MSc International Scholarship and BI Norwegian Business School/QS Scholarship are offered. The average grade of those who received scholarships was 4.6 (A), which shows that BI attracts well-qualified applicants.

Master Merit Society

A project was started in 2017 to establish a platform for increasing the value of the interaction between students, companies and BI’s academic environment. The Master Merit Society was developed to improve the profile of MSc candidates and to increase the options for interacting with businesses. The establishment of this platform will improve the learning experience, highlight the profile of the MSc programmes, demonstrate employability to potential employers and can be used for employers’ recruitment of students. The Master Merit Society will be launched during the spring semester in 2018.

Candidate profile and skills

All MSc programmes have updated candidate profiles in 2017. The course descriptions have also been edited to reflect programme-specific attributes. The work on further institutionalising “attributes” has continued in 2017, and a BI Graduate Attribute profile has been developed. The attribute profile works as a framework for developing programmes that meet the stakeholders’ expectations. A BI Graduate Attribute framework for BI candidates will ensure that the programmes delivered from BI prepare the students for a constantly changing world. This will work as a tool for awareness and direction for all stakeholders, whether they are students, faculty or future employers.

Work has been ongoing on implementation of feedback that emerged from the skills survey for the bachelor programmes. This applies both to candidate profiles and learning objectives for each programme. More specifically, an elective course with a case solution has been initiated. This contributes to helping the students think across disciplines and practise skills that are requested in the job market.


More than 70 master students had internships as a part of their schedule during the autumn semester of 2017. In 2017, BI also introduced the opportunity to carry out internships in your own company. The internship pilot was designed with inspiration from the MIT and REAP model (Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme), developed by Professor Bill Aulet at the MIT School of Management.


BI Norwegian Business School is the only business school in Norway with the top three international accreditations; EQUIS (European Quality Improvement Systems), AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and AMBA (The Association of MBAs). Schools with all three accreditations are called Triple Crown schools. On a global basis, only one per cent of all business schools have been able to achieve triple accreditation. Earning and keeping accreditations requires systematic work on quality of the education, the research, and all aspects of BI’s organisation. The requirements for reaccreditation are steadily getting tougher, and the accreditation agencies thoroughly assess BI’s ability to maintain and improve its standards.

BI has had EQUIS accreditation since 1999, AMBA accreditation since 2013 and AACSB accreditation since 2014.

In 2008, BI was accredited as a specialised university institution by NOKUT. In 2017, NOKUT established a new supervision model, which places greater emphasis on the comprehensive quality work and how the institutions follow up the results from the quality work. Based on more stringent requirements in the new education supervision regulations, BI was subject to an audit in 2017 as part of the pilot where four specialised university institutions participated. The audit and committee visit was carried out at the end of 2017. A decision will be made by NOKUT’s board in May 2018.

In 2016, BI became one of the world’s first education institutions to receive the new certification EFMD Online Course Certification System (EOCCS). EOCCS is awarded on the basis of the quality of online-based courses to schools that are successful in utilising the future’s teaching methods. BI will keep the certification in 2017.


The Financial Times ranking consists of a total of seven sub-rankings that are aimed at specific educational programmes. BI participates in four of the sub-rankings, as well as in the overall school ranking.

In 2017, BI Norwegian Business School placed 33rd in the annual Financial Times European Business Schools Ranking 2017. This is the highest ranking ever achieved by a Norwegian business school. Since 2012, BI has climbed 27 spots on the Financial Times’ Schools Ranking. The most important performance indicators are linked to our former students’ salary level, career development and goal achievement, as well as customer satisfaction.

Financial Times European Business Schools Ranking 2017

In the sub-ranking for Executive MBA programmes, BI-Fudan MBA placed 38th, up from 39th in 2016. BI EMBA was on the list for the third time in 2017, at 99th place. The programme is one of only two on the list that are offered at Norwegian schools. In 2016, the programmed placed 93rd.

In the sub-ranking Masters in Management, BI’s MSc in Business is ranked 77th on the list of the 95 best programmes in Europe. The sub-ranking Executive Education covers tailored and open courses and programmes aimed at the continuing or post-graduate education market. BI’s tailored programmes were ranked 57th in 2017, while the programmes in the category Open Enrolment were ranked 72nd.

Financial Times Rankings 2017

The Triple Crown status and FT rankings are significant for BI’s national and international reputation, increase the value of a diploma from BI and are key factors in the competition for recruiting academic staff and students internationally.