Annual Report 2020

Partnerships, society and business

BI is focused on strengthening, professionalising and digitalising our interaction with business, public administration and our alumni. We believe that the values we create for enterprises are a benefit to both present and former students.

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This important work is headed by Outreach and Corporate. The former has been charged with the task of coordinating and strengthening BI’s external relations across the organization and contribute to increasing the school’s activity revenues through, among other things, a special Corporate Partner programme established in 2019. The objective is to build mutually enriching partnerships with business, the public sector and NGOs.

The Master Merit Society is an example of this. Here, BI’s most excellent master’s degree students are connected with selected business partners who are given the opportunity to establish contacts with the leaders of the future. In 2020 Gjensidige and Deloitte have participated in this cooperation.

BI’s Strategy 2025 emphasizes the links with business and industry as one of three main pillars. At the same time Norway is facing a major reorganization phase where green jobs are intended to create a future after oil. In order to maintain our welfare, this implies that we have to develop new industries, commercialize new technology and scale companies.

During the past years, therefore, the Corporate department has been working actively to help BI position itself for this important work. One of the measures is the education programme 100 Scaleups, through which participating businesses are helped to develop and implement growth strategies.

We have also established a number of cooperation projects with national and international enterprises, clusters and organizations, as well as highly recognized institutions such as MIT and Berkeley in the USA, and Tsinghua in China. In order to further strengthen our position, BI in 2020 took an ownership share in Kongsberg Innovasjon (KI). A cooperation agreement was also entered into, according to which KI is responsible for the process-oriented industrial work with the companies, whilst BI as the academic partner shall deliver research-based lectures. The result of this is that BI has asserted itself as the most important academic partner for business and industry in the process of scaling Norwegian companies and creating new green jobs.

Alumni and events

Former BI students are an important resource for BI. In 2019 BI’s alumni have, among other things, acted as guest lecturers, mentors, ambassadors, participated in recruitment processes and as members on various councils and committees. In 2020 the pandemic created a need for quick readjustments, since several physical events had to be cancelled. During the past year, therefore, 33 different webinars and seminars aimed at alumni and business that reached a total of around 20,000 viewers were held, including topics such as the workplace of the future and digital management.

Through a very popular series of seminars, The Manager‘s Toolbox, which is organized every Friday at the end of each month, enthusiastic BI faculty present new research and professional updates to alumni and businesses. Through these meetings, although digital in 2020, BI’s former students are updated on the latest developments within research.

In the past year, a digitalization of BI’s alumni activities has been in progress. The goal is to increase the involvement among former students, particularly the younger target group, by using insight and data to provide a more personalized and relevant offer.

Dialogue meetings and advisory boards

The annual dialogue meeting with business and industry, where the purpose is to obtain an insight into the need for competence in different industries, did not take place in 2020 due to the Covid-19-pandemic. However, BI staged around 20 smaller meetings with various businesses and trade organizations such as Virke, NHO, Norsk Industri, as well as businesses in the finance and banking sector.

BI has also continued the work related to the industry councils for15 bachelor’s and master’s programmes that were established in 2019. In 2020 it has been discussed how BI to a larger extent may involve and cooperate with business and industry across courses. Other advisory boards include, among others, the International Advisory Board, the Alumni Advisory Board, the Advisory Board for Banking and Insurance Programmes and the Business Analytics Advisory Board.


Partnerforum is a collaboration between BI Norwegian Business School, the University of Oslo and 22 partners from public agencies. Competence development and networking across disciplines and sectors are important elements in the cooperation. Through this network, BI shares knowledge within topics that are relevant for public administration. In the course of 2020, Partnerforum organized 15 joint events, a few less than previous years due to the corona pandemic, with around 50 introductory speakers and more than 3,100 participants on relevant topics such as administration of government enterprises, strategic analysis and the use of research in public administration.

BI Corporate

BI Corporate offers value-driven programmes to the public and private sectors. In 2020, BI Corporate delivered 56 projects worth around NOK 105 million, as compared to about NOK 112 million the year before.

In recent years the demand for traditional courses and programmes has declined. Clients want long-term partners for change, innovation, value creation and process-based practical problem solving. Today, the department has secured national positions for BI within management of the school and day-care sector, the primary health service, tax law and security.

During the pandemic the department has readjusted quickly and delivered hybrid and wholly digital modules in most programmes. Feedback has partly been very good, and participants have reported strong learning outcomes in spite of not being able to meet fellow students physically.

In the school and day-care sector BI is involved in national programmes with obligations and opportunities until 2025. Moreover, in 2020, BI has started a national programme for educational supervisors in day-care centres, and also developed four new national programmes for school and day-care centre managers that will start in 2021, all assigned by the Norwegian Directorate of Education and Training.

During the past year BI entered into new agreements with the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) for fully digital and ordinary further education programmes for teachers and team leaders in schools. The work on the intervention project that was stared in 2018 is now at its final stage. In this project leadership teams from schools in Copenhagen and Ålborg have been given tailor-made and research-based teaching.

In the autumn of 2020, the agreement with the Directorate of Health for delivery of the national leadership education programme for the primary health service was renewed. On this programme the University of Oslo is a sub-supplier for certain parts of the teaching. With more than 400 applicants for 216 places the demand was very high in 2020. The new contract has a term of up to nine years.

BI also won another tender from the Directorate of Health, for the delivery of a completely new programme aimed at the general health and practice service. To begin with, the term of the contract is five years. The goal is that at least one physician from each of the around 1200 general practice services in Norway will take the programme in the course of the next five years. With this, BI has positioned itself with programmes addressing needs across the entire health sector.

With the Tax Administration as a partner and client, BI has strengthened its national position through our master’s degree in tax law. Our master’s degree in security management is also having a steady increase in the number of students. In 2020 BI and NTNU signed a letter of intent for education of Norwegian managers in cyber security.

Research leading to change

In 2019 several of BI‘s researchers were appointed members of public expert committees. Many had an impact on business practices and participated in the public debate, both at home and abroad. This is a recognition of the expertise of BI‘s faculty within areas of great importance for the development of society. The following are some examples from 2020:

Associate Professor Jørgen Juel Andersen fattracted global attention for a World Bank report where he and two colleagues presented figures indicating that transfers to tax havens increase when poor countries receive development aid. This research was mentioned by, among others, The Economist and The Financial Times.

Professor and Provost Hilde C. Bjørnland will participate in a team of experts appointed by the Government to assess the economic consequences of infection protection measures during the pandemic, as well as incentives for growth and change.

In 2020 Associate Professor Alexander S. Skjønberg was appointed a member of a committee, appointed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, to report on the administrative structure of the Industrial Disputes Court.

In 2020 Professor Marianne Jahre will be the head of an international research projects, including experts from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI), to recommend improvements in the supply security for medical products.

In 2020 Professor Gisle James Natvik, Associate Professor Espen Henriksen and Research Professor Espen R. Moen gave a number of important contributions to the debate on the Government’s emergency packages to business and industry, with frequent appearances on TV, radio and through articles in the newspapers, including the Dagens Næringsliv.

Professor Anne-Britt Gran in 2020 attracted national media attention in connection with the presentation of a report prepared by BI Centre for Creative Industries. The report dealt with the way the corona pandemic has affected the Norwegian music industry.

Professor Erik Wilberg falso attracted a great deal of attention in 2020 for a report showing how the pandemic has led to a sharp decline in the advertising revenues for the media industry in Norway.

Professor Espen R. Moen is the head of a research team that in 2020 received funds from the Norwegian Competition Authority to carry out research on price discrimination in the grocery chains and the coordination of recommended prices.

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