Internship and job opportunities

Landing an internship

Finding an internship in a new country, where you don’t have a network of connections and barely know the job market, is an overwhelming task. Add to that the pressure of adapting to a new setting and juggling lectures, assignments, and exams, you may find it difficult not to spread yourself too thin. Difficult, apparently, but not impossible. As with other things with which I have a hard time, I asked those wiser than me, people who have been through this process before, for advice.

Full name: Nevis Veli
Home country: Albania
Current study program: MSc in Strategic Marketing Management

I thought landing an internship in Norway as an international student would be next to impossible. This BI alumna changed my mind.

Megi Hamza came to BI in August 2019 to pursue a Master of Science degree in Strategic Marketing Management and now, two years later, graduated top of her class. During her time at BI, she landed a summer internship at Disruptive Technologies, a Norwegian tech scale-up that has developed the world’s smallest wireless sensors. As she pursued her degree at BI, Megi worked for the company part-time and has recently transitioned to a full-time position as a Digital Marketer.

Luckily for me, she was willing to share with me some of her wisdom. In this interview, she recounts her experience with first landing an internship position as an international student at BI, and then transitioning to a full-time one as a recent BI alumna.

- Megi, first of all, I was wondering when did you first start thinking about having an internship while at BI?

I started thinking about it before the first semester even started. I knew I wanted to obtain some real work experience in the Norwegian market, so I started looking right away. I started applying for internships in October, in my first semester, and landed one in late November.

- And how did you first approach the process of looking for an internship?

I used BI’s Career Portal to search for interesting opportunities and see which one matched my skill set and sent over CVs. I didn’t have to look anywhere else, as I landed an opportunity soon after I started looking. I also wanted to have a summer internship on top of the BI internship, and I found the opportunity on LinkedIn. I got through to the final round of interviews, and then they recommended me to work in one of their sister companies where they thought I’d be a better fit. I did my summer internship there, continued working part-time after my BI internship, and now work there full-time.

- Which criteria did you use when looking for a particular position or company?

I knew I wanted to really contribute to the company’s operations. Some students want to be passive learners, but for me, it was all about seeing where I could contribute and get real responsibilities. I also wanted to work under an experienced, hands-on leader that could help me navigate my career.

- That’s very insightful. Tell me, what particular skill(s) that you had learned during your previous education or at BI helped you during this process?

Writing was the most important, followed by analytical skills, and putting together presentations.

- And what impressed you most during the process?

Norwegian companies have a lot to offer in terms of flexibility and work-life balance. And they all try to be respectful to you during the recruitment process.

- That’s great to hear. I’m curious, how would you describe the job market in Norway from a foreigner’s perspective?

It’s very tough to get your feet in the door. But once you land your first job or internship, it’s easy to network and find other opportunities.

- And how was the transition from having an internship/working part-time for a company to working for them full-time?

It was much more difficult than I thought it would be. I figured it was because I would have more time to complete my tasks and there would be less pressure, but it was not the case. The company really trusted me to take ownership of my new position and I had to shift my attitude from being a passive part-time employee and student to a full-time employee making decisions. After the transitory period, now I really enjoy independence, trust, and free time after working hours. No more homework!

- Sounds great! And finally, if you could give one piece of advice to a BI student just starting to look for internship/job opportunities in Norway, what would that be?

Start early and don’t be too picky. It’s the experience that counts, especially in the beginning. Once you have some work experience, there is always room for growth and to be picky when you are picking a full-time position. Absorb as much as you need and always ask for feedback.