Norwegian School of Economics

The Norwegian School of Economics (Norwegian: Norges Handelshøyskole) or NHH is a business school situated in Bergen, Norway. It was founded in 1936 as Norway's first business school and has since its establishment been a leading teaching and research institution in the fields of economics and business administration.[1]

Norwegian School of Economics
Norges handelshøyskole
The NHH logo
RectorØystein Thøgersen
Administrative staff
AffiliationsCEMS, PIM, Erasmus, EQUIS, AMBA, AACSB

Admission to NHH is the most selective in the field of business administration in Norway and among the most selective of all study programs offered in Norway. The sole NHH undergraduate program consistently ranks among the most popular first choice for students applying to undergraduate study in Norway and was the most popular first choice of all undergraduate programs offered in Norway 2020, with more than 2,100 first choice applications (and more than 5,000 in total) for 500 places.[2]

The school participates in exchange programs with more than 170 foreign business schools and universities in over 50 countries, and around 40 percent of the school's students spend at least one semester on exchange.[3] The school is member of CEMS (The Global Alliance for Management Education)[4] and the Partnership in International Management (PIM) network,[5] and is accredited by EQUIS,[6] AMBA and AACSB.[7]


Traditionally, economics as an academic discipline was only taught at the universities in Norway (mainly the University of Oslo, where it was first conceived as a sub-discipline of law in the 19th century) whereas business administration was not regarded as an academic discipline, with no formal education program being available. NHH was founded to offer the first formal training in business studies in the form of a more vocational, two-year degree, called handelskandidat ("candidate of commerce"). In 1963 the handelskandidat degree was renamed siviløkonom and it later evolved into a four-year degree. The school today offers degrees at the master's and doctoral levels.

1900–1936: Establishing a business school in NorwayEdit

The business communities in Oslo and Bergen began discussing the establishment of a Norwegian business school at the end of the 19th century. A number of schools had been opened across Europe and during the early 20th century several business schools were established in Scandinavia based on the German handelshochschule (business school) model. Amongst them, the Stockholm School of Economics was established in 1909. In 1917, Norway's parliament (the Storting) passed a resolution to establish a Norwegian business school.

1936–1963: NHH opens and sets to workEdit

After much lobbying and hard work, especially by Kristoffer Lehmkuhl, NHH was finally opened by King Haakon VII on Monday the September 7, 1936. This was 10 years before the University of Bergen was established. The strong involvement of the business community in Bergen had ensured that not only was the school established, but that it was established in Bergen and was closely linked to business community from the very start.

When NHH first opened, the academic staff consisted of fewer than ten people and sixty students were enrolled each year. The first degree course offered was the Handelsdiplom (business diploma) and graduates received the title Handelskandidat (business graduate). This was initially a two-year course and, starting in 1938, a one-year additional course was offered to candidates who wanted to become teachers. In 1946 the Handelsdiplom course was extended to three years.

After the Second World War, American influence became more important and also started to influence NHH to a greater extent. Graduates and staff began to go to the US to continue their studies and work for a period, a trend that greatly increased in the 1960s and 1970s. By the early 1950s the need for a doctoral programme at NHH had grown. In 1956, NHH received permission from the Norwegian government to award doctorates and in 1957 the first doctoral candidate graduated from NHH.

1963–1980: A new campus and rapid growthEdit

By the late 1950s NHH had outgrown its original premises and work began on developing a new campus for the school at Sandviken, just outside Bergen city centre. In 1963, the school moved to its new campus, an event which in many ways marked the transition to a new period characterised by a rapid increase in the number of students as well as teachers. The new campus provided a large increase in capacity and the annual intake of students increased from 60 to over 200.

An important feature of this period was the growth and development of the faculty. The new facilities made it possible to employ many new, talented people and the importance of research as well as teaching was strengthened. Many successful graduates went to the US to study for doctorates and came back to NHH with international experience and a more research based focus. Many faculty members took advantage of sabbaticals to study and continue their research overseas, many textbooks were published and the volume of publications in international journals increased significantly. A driving force behind this expansion and internationalisation of research was Professor Karl Borch.

During this time Professor Jan Mossin's seminal paper "Equilibrium in a Capital Asset Market" was published in Econometrica, contributing significantly to the development of the capital asset pricing model (CAPM). About the same time as Mossin returned to NHH from Carnegie Mellon with his doctorate, future Nobel laureate Finn E. Kydland went to the same university for his doctoral studies. Most of the US educated doctoral graduates came back to NHH to teach and continue their research, but some stayed in the US and a few (like Kydland) returned to NHH only to later go back to the US to continue their work.

As the faculty grew and developed so did the academic offerings, with several advanced level courses established. In 1963 the name of the Handelsdiplom degree was changed to siviløkonom, with graduate receiving the same title. A master level programme, høyere avdelingstudium (HAS), was introduced in 1972 as a preparation for siviløkonom students wishing to continue on to doctoral studies; and in 1973 Professor Dag Coward established a master level programme for students wishing to specialise in auditing, accounting and the financial management of firms, the høyere revisorstudium (HRS). In 1975 the siviløkonom degree course was extended to a four-year programme.

1980–2000: Specialisation and international expansionEdit

In the early 1980s it was realised that the doctoral programme required updating and a new, structured PhD programme was introduced involving taught courses in addition to the research and writing of a thesis. This new PhD programme continued the focus on research at NHH, rather than just teaching. The first candidate to graduate from the new PhD programme did so in 1985 and the annual number of graduates rose from 1 in 1985 to 12 in 1990.

The focus on expansion and internationalisation of research was recognised in 1984 as NHH was ranked 7th globally and 3rd in Europe in the American Economic Review amongst economics schools or departments in non-English speaking countries by publications in leading journals.

During this period, close relations with international research environments were also established. The international activities at the school have increased considerably and the international focus has become stronger over the years. In 1984 NHH established their first international exchange agreement with the Stockholm School of Economics, and in 1986 NHH became the first institution in Norway to offer a master's degree programme taught entirely in English - the Master of International Business (MIB). Following this, greater emphasis has been placed on exchange arrangements for students, and the school joined the prestigious Community of European Management Schools (CEMS) and the Erasmus programme in 1992 and the global Partnership in International Management (PIM) network in 1995.

Student and staff numbers continued to rise throughout the 1980s and 1990s. By 1985 there were 1670 students and 198 members of staff in total.

2000–present: Continued growth and development into the 21st centuryEdit

NHH alumni Finn Kydland was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2004 (with Edward C. Prescott) for his contributions to dynamic macroeconomics

The siviløkonom qualification was extended to 5 years in 2003. In line with the Bologna declaration, it now comprises a 3-year Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business Administration combined with a 2-year Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration.

NHH alumnus and Adjunct Professor Finn E. Kydland was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2004, together with Professor Edward C. Prescott of Arizona State University. Kydland was giving a lecture at NHH when news of the award arrived. Prescott was a Visiting Professor of Economics at NHH in 1974-75.[8]

In 2007 NHH announced the launching of a new master programme taught fully in English, the MSc in Energy, Natural Resources and the Environment.

Today, NHH is part of a global network of business schools and universities. International partner institutions include:

On June 1, 2011, the school simplified and changed its English name from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration to the Norwegian School of Economics.

List of rectorsEdit

  1. Ingvar Wedervang, 1936–1956
  2. Eilif W. Paulson, 1956–1957
  3. Rolf Waaler, 1957–1963
  4. Dag Coward, 1964–1972
  5. Olav Harald Jensen, 1973–1978
  6. Gerhard Stoltz, 1979–1984
  7. Arne Kinserdal, 1985–1990
  8. Leif Methlie, 1990–1995
  9. Carl Julius Norstrøm, 1995–1998
  10. Victor Norman, 1999–2001
  11. Per Ivar Gjærum, 2001–2005
  12. Jan I. Haaland, 2005–2013
  13. Frøystein Gjesdal, 2013–2017
  14. Øystein Thøgersen, 2017–


NHH has six academic departments:

  • Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law[9]
  • Department of Business and Management Science[10]
  • Department of Economics[11]
  • Department of Finance[12]
  • Department of Professional and Intercultural Communication[13]
  • Department of Strategy and Management[14]

The school comprises over 2,800 full-time students and a total staff of over 330. NHH, together with two affiliated institutions, AFF (Administrative Research Institute)[15] and SNF,[16] form the largest centre for research and education within the fields of economics and business administration in Norway.


NHH annually admits 450 student to its sole undergraduate programme in Economics and Business Administration. The programme has for many years been the most popular undergraduate study programme in Norway, with more than 2000 "first priority" applicants annually and an admissions rate of around 20%.[17] The school attracts applicants from all parts of Norway and aims to have a varied student body. NHH has an equal number of men and women as of 2012.[18]

As a Norwegian public institution of higher education, NHH admits its students through Samordna opptak where applicants are ranked on a point scheme and the qualified candidates with the most points are granted admission.

Undergraduate NHH students are secured transfers to the school's master's programmes after completing the bachelor's degree. Most student take advantage of this policy. In addition, students from other universities and business schools are admitted to the master's and doctoral programmes, and make up the graduate student body.


The school offers one three-year undergraduate programme in Economics and Business Administration, taught in Norwegian. Most students continue their studies with a two-year master's degree, which together with the undergraduate degree completes the requirements for the Norwegian siviløkonom title. NHH offers eight master's profiles:

  • Financial Economics
  • Business Analysis and Performance Management
  • Economic Analysis
  • Marketing and Brand Management
  • Economics
  • Strategy and Management
  • International Business (taught in English)
  • Energy, Natural Resources and the Environment (taught in English)

Additionally, NHH offers a master's programme in Accounting and Auditing, as well as the CEMS Master's in International Management which is currently ranked as the world's second best Master's in Management programme by the Financial Times.[19]

The NHH PhD programme offers specialisations in five fields:

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management Science
  • Strategy and Management

Double degree arrangementsEdit

NHH is part of six double degree arrangements:


In 2012, NHH was ranked among the 101-150 best universities worldwide Economics/Business, and 901-1000 overall, by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.[26] in 2013, NHH dropped to the 151-200 bracket in Economics/Business in the same ranking.[27] As of 2022, NHH is ranked 301-500 worldwide for Economics and Econometrics by QS ranking.[28]

In 2013, NHH was ranked as the 46th best European business school by the Financial Times.[29]

Student lifeEdit

Like all public institutions of higher education in Norway, NHH does not charge tuition fees. However, a small semester fee of NOK 490[30] (roughly US$80) is charged. This money helps fund the Student Welfare Organisation in Bergen, which subsidises kindergartens, health services, housing and cultural initiatives.

The Student Association at NHH (NHHS) has groups to accommodate many student interests. As would be expected for a leading business school, NHHS has many groups involved with economics and business issues. These groups maintain contact with the business community and serve to stimulate interest in and improve knowledge of various sectors Norwegians and international business. This is achieved through conferences, seminars, company visits, excursions in Norway and abroad and trainee programs in various businesses. The Student Association is led by a board of eight people - Kjernestyret.

  • NHH has several bands and choirs. Although each choir and band has their own distinct character and charm, they do have some common features. The musical groups with a long history at NHHS include the male choir Svæveru', the female choir Sangria,[31] the mixed choir Optimum, the student orchestra Direksjonsmusikken and the Big Business Band.
  • NHH also has school teams in several sports, including badminton, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, handball, golf, indoor bandy and diving.
  • Every two years NHHS organises a three-week music festival called UKEN. The origins of UKEN date back to 1946 when the students at NHH organised the first studenteruken or students' week. After 1980 UKEN developed into a much broader event and it has now grown into the second largest festival in Western Norway.
  • The largest event held by NHHS for the business community is Symposiet, a visionary biennial conference at which leading executives, researchers and students from Norway and abroad participate.
  • Profileringsutvalget (PU - the Promotion Committee) is a student union group responsible for promoting the student union internally and externally. The group is responsible for arranging the general assembly, the strategic forum and also the student elections.
  • Næringslivutvalg (NU - the Business Committee) is the main link between students at the NHH and employers worldwide. They establish contact between companies looking to recruit and students looking for jobs, and provide all the necessary services needed by both parties.
  • In addition to the on-campus facilities at NHH, NHHS also owns the cabin Kramboden in the mountains south west of Bergen. Many of the clubs and societies within NHHS organize trips to Kramboden and students can rent the cabin themselves for a reasonable price.
  • NHHS has its own TV news program, K7 Minutter[32] and a wide variety of groups cover various sports, economics and business topics, music and other interests. A selection of groups that have been very popular among international students in the past include:
  • The local committee of AIESEC at NHH is one of the original seven founding committees. AIESEC is the world's largest student-run organization focusing on leadership development, through a large internship program.
  • Amnesty International is a globally renowned human rights organization focusing on the release of prisoners of conscience. NHH has its own chapter of Amnesty International.
  • Friluftsgruppa (Hiking group) arranges tours in the mountains of varying length and intensity every semester.
  • GEP (Global Economic Perspectives) focuses on the consequences of global economic activity. GEP has no political affiliation. The group's main focus is to arrange debates and conferences with academics, business leaders and politicians around topics related to global economic perspectives.
  • Foto NHHS is the student association's photo group.
  • K7 Bulletin, or Bulle, is the school newspaper and is printed every two weeks.
  • Lurken Telemarkslag (The Telemark Skiing Group) is one of the largest groups in the school, with over 200 members. It arranges trips to Voss, Finse, Eikedalen and the student association's own cabin.
  • MEBA Council - All International full-time master students are automatically members of the MEBA Council, which organises social events and activities to help the International full-time master students get to know each other better, to involve them with the local business community and to raise the profile of the students overseas. The MEBA Council organises a Business Trip to Oslo every Spring Semester.
  • NHH Aid is the student group for humanitarian work. The students collect money and work to raise awareness regarding the poor living conditions in third world countries.
  • Oikos is part of a network of student groups in business schools across the world, working to integrate sustainability into business and management through education.
  • StafettKomiteen (Stafkom - The Running Club) The goal is to beat BI (The Norwegian School of Management) in the annual relay race between Bergen and Oslo. It takes place at the end of the spring semester, lasts for 2–3 days, and ends with a grand banquet at either BI or NHH.
  • Økonomiske Vinterleker (Economic Winter Games) takes place at Ål during the first week of February. Almost 300 students from both NHH and BI (The Norwegian School of Management) gather to compete in winter sports and to socialise.
  • Børsklubben (the Stock Club) is the stock analysis group. Børsklubben founded Lehmkuhl Invest AS, a joint investment company owned by students at NHH.
  • NHHS Consulting This is a student-run and owned consulting firm. It aim is to offer various services for student groups at NHH and do commissions for local firms in Bergen.
  • Markedsgruppen (The Marketing Group) Markedsgruppen supervises all corporate relations the student association is involved with.
  • it.gruppen, the IT group, runs the student association's servers, maintains and develops their websites, develops software for requested projects, and helps the other groups with IT issues.

Notable faculty and alumniEdit

Thorolf Rafto, human rights activist and professor of Economic History
Jo Nesbø, award-winning author and musician

NHH alumni hold several important positions in Norwegian business and politics. Eldar Sætre is CEO of Equinor,[33] Norway's largest company and the largest offshore oil and gas company in the world. Jon Fredrik Baksaas is CEO of Telenor,[34] Norway's second largest company and one of the world's largest mobile phone operators.[35] Siv Jensen is Norway's Minister of Finance[36] and Yngve Slyngstad is CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM),[37] the part of the Norwegian Central Bank responsible for managing Norway's sovereign wealth fund.[37]



Government / Law / Public Policy / Human RightsEdit

Arts and EntertainmentEdit



  1. ^ "NHH opens and sets to work". Norges Handelshøyskole. Archived from the original on 2012-11-24. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  2. ^ "Høyeste søkertall for NHH på flere år" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  3. ^ "International Relations Office". Norges Handelshøyskole. Archived from the original on 2013-02-15. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  4. ^ "Academic members & Faculty". CEMS. 2013-01-28. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  5. ^ "Places Archive - PIM Network". PIM Network.
  6. ^ Pergoot, Nick. "EQUIS Accredited Schools". Archived from the original on 2018-02-23. Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  7. ^ "NHH fått prestisjefylt akkreditering". NHH (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  8. ^ a b "PrescottVita" (PDF). Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law". NHH.
  10. ^ "Department of Business and Management Science". NHH.
  11. ^ "Department of Economics". NHH.
  12. ^ "Department of Finance". NHH.
  13. ^ "Department of Professional and Intercultural Communication". NHH.
  14. ^ "Department of Strategy and Management". NHH.
  15. ^ "AFF". Administrative Research Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  16. ^ "Welcome to SNF". Samfunns. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  17. ^ "Søkere fordelt på lærested i hovedopptakene 2006-2009" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  18. ^ "Jenteboom på NHH". 2012. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  19. ^ "Business school rankings from the Financial Times". Masters in Management. 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  20. ^ "Double Degrees". Hec Paris. Archived from the original on 2012-06-15. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  21. ^ "Double degree". Université catholique de Louvain. 2012-11-26. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  22. ^ "Double Degree Programs". University of Mannheim. Archived from the original on 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  23. ^ "EGADE del Tecnológico de Monterrey". Norwegian School of Economics. Archived from the original on 2012-07-28. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  24. ^ "Double Degree: NHH and Richard Ivey School of Business". NHH. Archived from the original on 2014-07-10. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  25. ^ "Dobbelgrad: NHH og Lancaster University". NHH. Archived from the original on 2014-07-09. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  26. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities in Economics / Business - 2012". 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  27. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities in Economics / Business - 2013". 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  28. ^ "NHH Norwegian School of Economics". Top Universities. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  29. ^ "European Business School Rankings 2013". 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  30. ^ "Semesteravgift og semesterkort". NHH. Archived from the original on 2013-02-15. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  31. ^ "NHHs beste, peneste og eneste pikekor". Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  32. ^ "K7 Minutter". Archived from the original on 2013-01-20. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  33. ^ "Eldar Sætre, Konsernsjef i Statoil ASA". Retrieved 2015-04-02.
  34. ^ "Group Executive Management". Telenor Group. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  35. ^ "Telenor at a Glance". Telenor Group. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  36. ^ "Jensen, Siv". 1969-06-01. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  37. ^ a b "Yngve Slyngstad - NBIM". Archived from the original on 2013-01-28. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  38. ^ "The Economics Prize Committee". Nobel Prize. 2010. Archived from the original on 2006-12-23. Retrieved 2013-02-09.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 60°25′22.87″N 5°18′7.41″E / 60.4230194°N 5.3020583°E / 60.4230194; 5.3020583