Association in the Spotlight – NAA Norway

Oslo view from harbour

Norway is a small country with a very strong INSEAD alumni community. Since the first MBA graduation in 1960, Norway has been represented at INSEAD. Today, there are 540 INSEAD alumni in Norway—50% with MBAs and the other half with executive education backgrounds. The Alumni Association in Norway hosts 10-12 events per year, with a mix of social events and professional events covering a wide range of topics. We kicked off this year with our traditional reception at the French Embassy, followed by several high quality speaker events covering topics like digital leadership, academic research on how to be outstanding at work, strategies for how to succeed with impact investments, and an outlook on the future of healthcare.

Leadership through changing industry landscapes
Helge Lund MBA’91J, Chairman of BP and an experienced executive from the oil and gas industry, talked about the future of oil and gas in a transforming energy landscape. While there is no doubt the energy sector is facing a lot of change, all industries are affected by digitalisation and it may even threaten some companies and industries significantly. Birger Magnus MBA’84D, who is chairman of several media and technology companies and an experienced executive from Schibsted Media Group, shared his perspectives on digital leadership and how to meet the challenges and manoeuvre through significant digital shifts.

Masterclasses with Deputy Dean Peter Zemsky and Professor Morten T. Hansen
Every year we aim to have at least one masterclass event with a professor as it is popular among our alumni to receive new and valuable academic input. This year, we were fortunate to have two—as both Deputy Dean Peter Zemsky and Professor at Berkeley, Morten T. Hansen visited Oslo. Professor Zemsky lectured on the effects digitalisation has on business and society while Professor Hansen shared his latest research on how top performers work less and achieve more, by following a few basic principles.

Peter Zemsky giving a masterclass at an NAA Norway event
Masterclass with Deputy Dean Peter Zemsky

Increased interest in entrepreneurship events
We have three active clubs in Norway: the Strategy Club, Energy Club and the Entrepreneurship & PE Club. These clubs host high quality events, typically with 1-2 keynote speakers followed by a panel debate on the topic at hand. A strong trend over the last years has been significantly increased interest around entrepreneurship events, not solely focussed around start-ups but also on how start-ups, investors and established corporations can collaborate more effectively to innovate faster and build new business opportunities.

An active alumni community thanks to the volunteers
An association is nothing without volunteers. We are happy to have more than 10 volunteers who dedicate their time to INSEAD through the National Alumni Association committee and the clubs. We also benefit from the continued support of the INSEAD Norway Council, led by Birger Magnus MBA’84D.

An association is nothing without volunteers.

Magnus gives the Association access to high caliber speakers in addition to strengthening the INSEAD brand awareness among top executives in Norway and funding an MBA scholarship for Norwegians. Inspired by the National Alumni Associations in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland, we have for the last three years run the IN-BOARD Academy, a popular programme preparing INSEAD alumni for Board positions and headed by Susanne Hannestad AMP’06Jul.

What’s next?
Oftentimes the most popular events are talks by people with very different perspectives to what you get in corporate life. Examples could be top politicians, generals who have led NATO operations in the Middle East, top athletes or mental coaches that take performance to the extreme levels. Next year, we will have an event with four young women called Rowegians who participated in the Talisker Atlantic Challenge in 2018. They crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 36 days by rowing two hours on, two hours off every single day. They will share their strong story and perspectives on the importance of preparation, challenges and success factors of team work and leadership through extreme conditions and in an uncertain environment.

As the quality of events depends not only on the speaker and topic but also on the number of attendees, we believe that reaching a critical mass of at least 40 people is a key success factor for our events. The average attendance is about 75 people per event, and for selected events we invite HBS and IMD alumni in addition to young leadership talents that may be prospective INSEAD students to ensure a healthy and diverse group of attendees.

If you are visiting Norway, make sure to reach out and join us for an alumni event. You will find information about the events and activities in Norway on our website. We look forward to many inspiring events in the years to come, and we will keep striving to be the most relevant MBA alumni network in Norway!

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