Kristin Skogen-Lund is the Director General of NHO, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise. She is arguably one of the most successful people in the Norwegian private sector, previously holding leadership positions in companies like Telenor, Aftenposten, Scanpix Scandinavia, Scandinavia Online, Unilever and Coca-Cola. Kristin has an MBA from INSEAD in France. But before that, she got her bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Business Administration at the University of Oregon, in Eugene, Oregon. She graduated in 1989.
Why did you decide to study in the United States?
Partly it was because I got a scholarship to go to school in the United States because my father was in the resistance during World War II, but it was also because I had a strong urge to go abroad. I had always known that I would spend time abroad, and I’m very happy I did.
What are your best memories from your time in Oregon?
I really enjoyed the learning philosophy in the U.S. where you take many different classes and can choose pretty freely how to put together a major. That meant that I was exposed to many interesting fields. It also suited me to have shorter, more intense semesters and frequent feedback from professors.
What were the biggest challenges during your time there?
Many will say that the biggest challenge of studying abroad is that you’re suddenly without your familiar environment and network of people, and I agree with that. But at the same time, there is no better opportunity to learn more about yourself and grow as a person, than starting with a clean slate, without limitations and expectations from those who know you.
Aside from getting an education, in what way would you say that studying in the U.S. has been a benefit to you professionally?
In an increasingly international work life, it’s an advantage to know another language and other cultures. Also, I got experiences, networks and friends I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
In what way did it affect you personally?
The new surroundings and routines provided me with a new self-awareness. I learned a lot on the journey from being a slightly lost, newly arrived foreigner to becoming a confident and well-adjusted student.
Would you recommend other Norwegians to study in USA?
Yes, absolutely! The U.S. is a great country to study in, with a number of excellent universities and a form of studying that suited me very well. I can gladly recommend the University of Oregon. I would especially recommend Norwegians to study technological subjects in USA. Norwegian companies need more technologists and engineers than we have, and this need will only increase in the years to come. The U.S. has the top five engineering and technology universities in the world, and 14 of the top 20, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. With an engineering degree from any of these universities you’re almost guaranteed an exciting and challenging career in Norwegian organizations.