FAQ: Master's programme at BI
Do you have any questions regarding the BI master's degree? This FAQ will give you some answers!
How does the master’s degree differ from the bachelor’s degree in terms of workload and expectations (i.e. what is the average amount of time spent on school every week)?
Academically, the course work is more practical than theoretical. Each week, I spend around 15 hours in class, 5 hours in group work, and 20-30 hours on individual study. The main difference between this degree and my bachelor’s degree is that I am no longer rewarded for simply doing the work. Instead, I am encouraged to bring new and innovative ideas to the classroom, while participating in constructive discussions. In contrast to my bachelors, collaboration is at the absolute center of my program, so success comes from working together rather than working individually.
My advice would be to stay curious, ask questions, and don't be afraid to speak up! It will get you far. For me, speaking up went beyond the classroom – I also made a point to socialize with my classmates early on. This is especially important in the beginning, since everyone is still getting to know each other. The social environment tends to be more professional than a bachelor’s degree, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grab a beer with your friends after class!
Is the master’s degree mostly theory or is it more practical?
While this might depend on the program, I find that most MSc programs seem to be a good mix of both. Class discussions are usually centered around theory presented in a course reading. The practical component comes into play when I work on solving cases and writing term papers with my classmates. The professors really looked for how well I understood and applied the theory to a specific situation. Ultimately, they wanted to know if I was able to fill the gap between academia and industry by coming up with viable solutions to relevant business challenges.
Are group projects common? Or are courses mostly structured around group exams?
Group work is extremely common and is almost a part of every course. My advice would be to work with as many different groups as possible during the first semester. This helped me figure out who I worked well with, and ultimately led to me finding my thesis partner!
How common is it to get an internship in the third semester? What are the requirements?
There is a good chance at getting an internship in the second semester if you have strong grades from your first semester. Usually students who land internships have an A or B average from their first semester. I only applied to jobs via BI’s career portal, but many students also seek out companies on their own.
If you would like to intern at a company that you currently work for, the company will have to give you a new project that lasts for the duration of the internship, which is usually around 8 weeks. Students can also intern during their semester abroad if they are able to find relevant work that meets the BI Internship requirements. Similar to finding a job in Norway, students can either seek positions abroad on their own or check the BI career portal.
Is it possible to work alongside the master’s degree, or is the workload too much?
Many students find the time to work alongside their degree, but I would say that more than 20 hours a week is probably too much. This is a full-time program, which means you spend 30-40 hours a week on something school related. Demanding work schedules make it difficult to attend class and group work and can cut into study time. It all comes down to the individual student and what he/she can handle, but from my experience, 10-15 hours a week is ideal.
When does the thesis process start?
The thesis process formally starts for most programs in the beginning of the second semester. The timeline is around 15/16 months in total. My partner and I have check in points along the way and usually meet with our supervisor every other week for about 30 minutes. I was able to pick my supervisor based on their research area, and my partner based on similar interests and academic goals. I find that I have a lot of freedom with my thesis in the sense that I can pick the research area, and decide if I would like to work with a company or not.