Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

Introduction Week Highlights | August 27, 2009

I’ve been a bit behind in updating the blog this past week because there has been another whirlwind of activity the last few days. Instead of covering every detail, here are a few highlights in no particular order:

Danish Culture and Economic System: We attended a one and a half hour lecture on several aspects of Danish culture on Tuesday morning. The most interesting takeaway from my perspective was the fact that the Danes have one of the lowest income inequality percentages in the world. In other words, they have a very large middle class where everyone shares the wealth. This happens because the Danes have tax rates well over 60%, resulting in a very strong federal government who manages everything from the education system to health care to public transportation.

And it’s highly effective. The subways are clean and run on time. The campus is beautiful, people are very happy with their health coverage. It’s a vastly different approach from America, and a highly enjoyable environment to live in.

Bicycles: One of those highly enjoyable activities is bike riding and walking everywhere. Because Copenhagen is such a small city, you can bike from end to end in under an hour and a half. I take my bike everywhere now: to campus, shopping, going out at night, dinners with friends. When I’m not riding, I walk. It’s a lifestyle I could certainly get into back in the States, but there are almost no truly bike friendly cities. It’s a shame too considering how much more exercise people get, and how much less damage they do to the environment in terms of carbon emissions.

The Campus and Schedule Nightmare: CBS has a wonderful campus. There are four main buildings, and they are architectural wonders in comparison to NC State’s all red-brick campus. Unfortunately, managing 15,000 students in four primary buildings makes for an administrative nightmare. The scheduling and class planning is extremely unorganized and creates a headache for a large portion of the students. Classes are scheduled on top of each other, and classrooms are constantly changing. Some people were dropped out of classes due to overbooking students in classes. It’s almost completely up to the student to find courses that fit their needs and their schedules. Many of the exchange students, including me, aren’t accustomed to this approach.

But it is pretty. Below is a picture of the interior of Solberg Plads:

The entrance of Solberg Plads

The entrance of Solberg Plads

Classes!: Next week I start my first classes. Even though I’m not taking all the classes I had originally intended to take due to scheduling conflicts, I’m excited. The schedule and approach to education is vastly different from America, and I’ll have more to say about that over the coming weeks.

Finally, after 10 days of meeting a few hundred people, absorbing a new culture, shopping for a new life, and running all over Copenhagen, I’m a bit exhausted. I tell people I talk to that 10 days has felt like 100 because of everything that’s happening. Tonight I’m learning Danish Folk Dancing, and tomorrow getting yet another tour of Copenhagen. It’s been a whirlwind so far, but I’m enjoying the hell out of it.


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