The Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden, and the Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, feature heavily in the wish list of most Nordic financial employers.
A couple of others jostle for top position, too. Kaare Bringa, managing partner of Boyden Global Executive Search, Norway, considers the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration to be a top destination. Marten Adolfssen, a partner at Alumni Executive Search (Harvey Nash) in Stockholm, thinks the Helsinki School of Economics has the edge, particularly the Finnish school there.
However, the popularity of a school is not the only issue. There are other factors to consider, too.
MBA or not MBA?
The MBA is gaining ground in Scandinavia. Tonde Grande, deputy chief executive of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, has an MBA in Finance from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration.
However, an MBA is not always the key to employment. Out of the 21 key players at Nordic Capital (a private equity firm with offices in several Nordic countries), 20 of them have an MSc from Stockholm School of Economics. These MScs were in Economics, Economics and Business Administration, or Finance and International Business Administration.
Alumni or not Alumni?
Try and find out where people studied at the place you want to work, and consider studying there. Nordic Capital obviously believes in trusting who you know, and Bringa thinks the Norwegians also subscribe to this.
He has noticed that “There have been an increasing number of people studying at English business schools. As well as the London ones like LSE and London Business School, there has been a particular increase in graduates from Manchester Business School, University of Manchester”. People like to employ others who went to their business school.
Stay at home or go abroad?
Adolfssen thinks that “only about 5% of students do all of their university years abroad” and that “if you want to work in Scandinavia, then nearly all the top students go to a good Nordic university, but also do an exchange year”.
He also feels that there has been a change in Nordic financial employers in recent years with “more acceptance of international studies”. However, “you only really need to do an MBA at Harvard, for example, if you are looking for a more international career as the chief of a global company”.