Annual Report 2020

A word from the President

The global corona pandemic made 2020 a demanding and very special year for students and staff at BI Norwegian Business School. The pandemic speeded up a comprehensive and completely necessary digital readjustment. BI also admitted a record number of new students and prepared the school for further growth and development in the time to come.

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The past year was marked by uncertainty, challenging decisions and a continuous need to find good solutions to new challenges all the time. In March, BI had to close its campuses to students. Traditional classroom teaching was replaced by lectures via Zoom. Written examinations were replaced by digital home examinations. Travel and exchange were either advised against or cancelled.

Throughout this period, BI’s academic staff, supported by competent employees from the whole organization, have worked persistently to create good digital learning experiences. For me as President, it has been demanding to see our students struggle with a learning situation that has constantly been changing in step with the authorities’ lock-down of society, and a situation for the students with no opportunities for social integration. Many have had to change, delay or cancel their plans for the future.

In our efforts to secure good learning experiences, student welfare, as well as social and academic integration under particularly challenging framework conditions, BI’s close cooperation with the student organization BISO has been invaluable. BI’s students are deserving of praise for the way in which they have met the challenges and at the same time been able to ensure progress of study and achieve solid academic results.

BI’s own surveys show that the competence of BI’s candidates is in high demand among employers. For the sixth year in a row, BI is ranked as Norway’s best business school by the Financial Times. Our researchers and alumni contribute to influencing working-life practices both in Norway and internationally. At the same time a new generation of BI students show that they are not prepared to be halted by an emergency from boosting their career opportunities by acquiring updated and relevant knowledge.

As many as 4,133 new bachelor students were admitted to BI in 2020, an increase of 16% as compared to 2019. At the same time 739 nye master’s degree students started their studies, which exceeds the record admission in 2018. At one point there were so many applications to BI’s full-time programmes that they were closed to further applications. Life-long learning is in demand as never before. Popular online-based courses and programmes contributed to a growth of 9% in BI’s executive education programmes.

In a labour market that is facing great changes, BI is prepared to strengthen its position also in the coming years. In 2021 we shall continue the important work of preparing students and business for an international, digital and sustainable future.

A great thanks to all students, staff, alumni and partners that have contributed to BI’s development in the past year.

Inge Jan Henjesand

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