Alumni of the Week

The talent spotter

Maalfrid Brath


Managing Director

ManpowerGroup Norway

Master of Business and Economics/Siviløkonom

“The only certain thing in life is change. It also creates uncertainty, so change is absolutely necessary.”

Maalfrid Brath hates losing, she remembers numbers better than names, and believes that an economics degree provides essential skills that enable successful entry to mulitple industries.

You can still find her in the coffee bar at BI from time to time, where she likes to feel the pulse of student life on campus.

"If I am going to a meeting at campus Oslo, I like to get there early. There is something about the dynamic atmosphere that energizes me," she says.

Maalfrid Brath chose to study at BI and has never regretted that decision. Not only does it open a wealth of possibilities, you can then decide where you want go forward. For the past 9 years, she has been Managing Director for Manpower Group, Norway. She also leads BI's newly established Alumni Advisory Board, which will help strengthen the relationship between students and business. She completed her degree in economics in 1989, but never completely let go of the school.

And while not everyone is going to continue to frequent the campus coffee bar, Maalfrid Brath predicts that BI will become an increasingly important part of people's lives, much more than it traditionally has been. The rapid development in the labour market means that graduates will need to update their knowledge and revitalize their professional network.

"The most important part about studying, I think, is that it teaches you the ability to acquire new knowledge. When you are willing to learn and stay curious about new things, you stay relevant and productive."

She pauses again before continuing,
"I often say that the only certain thing in life is change. It also creates uncertainty, so change is absolutely necessary."

Competition for talent and the ability of companies to retain them, will according to Brath, be a growing challenge for leaders in the coming years.

"We must realize that a new digital generation is entering the workforce, and we are all becoming technology companies. Leading this digital generation will require changes in the way we think and act."

As leader, Maalfrid Brath focuses on motivating her employees. She believes motivation in terms of responsibility is important for the well-being of the workplace.

"I love people and care about their wellbeing. I would characterize myself as a team player, and it's important for me to get colleagues to work well together. If people are positively engaged at work, have the right responsibilities and stimulating challenges, they also do a better job," I think.

After almost three decades, the macro lectures of Arne Johan Isaksen and his witty approach to the subject are still fresh in her memory. As is Øyvind Bøhren's educational approach to finance. But the community spirit from BI still follows Maalfrid Brath in everyday life. "Some of my best friends today are those I met during the introduction week at BI."

It will be no surprise to her classmates, from her student days, that she has now taken on the role as Chairman of the Alumni Advisory Board. Even as a student she was known for her energy and engagement. In addition to being engaged in the academic committee during her studies, she was also chairman of the cabin committee and member of the Telemark Ski Group.

"There was a lot of fun too", she laughs and adds:
"I believe it's important to do other things when studying. I think that those who spend all their time reading are less likely to see the big picture. It is important to develop your personal qualities as well, and to think about what kind of person you want to be in your professional capacity."

She often meets alumni from BI who stand out.
"I was so proud at the NHO conference this year. We had one of our young alumni on stage; Javad Mushtaq. BI President Henjesand sent me a text message and wrote, "Now we have an alumni on stage!" Javad Mushtaq made a great impression", Maalfrid Brath finishes proudly.

Foto: Anita Arntzen