Norsyafiqah Othman

Fully Dive into the Learning Journey

Norsyafiqah Othman, Full-Time MBA Class of 2020, chose the Copenhagen MBA because she received a scholarship that enabled her transition and she knew that the Danish working culture fostered empowerment across the board.

Why did you choose the Copenhagen MBA?

I had been working for a Danish company in Malaysia and experienced culture shock working for them. Malaysia is conservative and still has a traditional work culture.  It was strange to feel so empowered in my role and at such at early stage in my career.  I attribute that to Novozymes company culture and the Danish working culture.

After three years with Novozymes, I realised that I wanted to expand my career and I knew that getting my MBA was the next best step. I wanted to experience life abroad and an MBA is a great phase to do that. Fortunately, I knew some folks in Copenhagen already and it encouraged my decision to move there.

I also chose this programme because it’s a one-year and full-time programme, in this regard you aren’t too far out of the job market and it’s a chance to fully dive into the learning journey for a year. That was crucial for me from a financial perspective.

What do you like about living in Copenhagen?

Part of my MBA journey was during the pandemic, and I would say that for most people it was a surprisingly peaceful time in Copenhagen. When you compare Denmark to other countries that had a particularly tough time during the pandemic, Denmark thrived. It was refreshing to see so much trust from the public in the authorities and vice versa. The Danes have a special minimalistic lifestyle. I have moved four times since moving here and it’s made it easier to not have a plethora of personal belongings that you have to cart around. With the infrastructure, there is no need for a car and I went home recently and driving was a reminder that it was not something I missed. I’ve realised I can live well without a lot.

What was/were impactful experiences of the Copenhagen MBA?

Two pivotal aspects of the MBA stood out to me.

First, my classmates. Our cohort was full of different characters, it was a very diverse class. We had a U.S. diplomat, a former deacon and everything in between. We had representation from all the continents, except there were no penguins in the classroom. The range of professional profiles and varying cultural backgrounds really expanded my perspective. Not just professionally but also personally. It was interesting to learn about others inspiration and ambitions while we were all studying for the MBA. An MBA requires an investment of time, and it was refreshing to learn so much from such a great group of people. Everyone was ready to put in the effort the curriculum required. We had to acclimate to this new place and journey. Of course, there were bad days sprinkled in, but we were there to support each other. It is a competitive environment, but I always found people to relate to.

Second, was my experience on sustainability. In many developing countries, there isn’t the luxury of thinking about a sustainable future. Copenhagen makes you feel like a global citizen where you have the opportunities to discuss and solve these challenges. Sustainability, which is weaved throughout the programme, was presented with many different case studies that helped us to understand that it isn’t black and white. I don’t work primarily in sustainability in my current role, but I appreciate that the programme gave me the tools to interact with it. I do think that Denmark is one of the best places to make progress on sustainability because people take it seriously.

Which scholarship did you receive and why were you chosen as a recipient?

I received the DSEB (Danish Society for Business and Education) scholarship. I had to consider financing options because the cost of living and salaries are drastically different between Denmark and Malaysia. It was nice to be awarded the scholarship because it showed me that I had the profile and qualities they were looking for… it’s not always about having the highest GMAT score. CBS also works with various loan providers and several of us took this option. What I want to convey is that it is possible to finance your MBA journey, even if you do not have the immediate funds to do so. The investment is worth it. Just make an excel sheet and you will see it through.

What do you enjoy in your role as a Business Developer for Novozymes?

I am in Business Development, but my background is in food technology. I have been very fortunate to be in this role where I can leverage my technical background In my commercial assessments of projects.

Novozymes is a biotech company and the technical background is akin to having a 2nd language as I work with a lot of technical people. When we discuss a new product idea that includes important elements like product differentiation on a technical level, it’s very beneficial that I can follow the conversations because it highly impacts the product positioning and resulting commercial assessments. I enjoy market segmentation because it’s about discovery. A lot of my work involves understanding the different market segments and drivers in the animal nutrition industry.

Novozymes has also given me many opportunities and great managers throughout the years. It’s why I’m still here.

 What lessons from the Copenhagen MBA do you apply to your role?

I regularly use my learnings in finance, accounting, economics, both on a macro and micro level, because I had limited exposure to these courses in my bachelors. It was extremely useful that the heart of the programme is using case studies as a backdrop so that you can learn the practical application of the learnings. This was very useful because it helped me understand the theories at work behind each lesson.

Which concentration did you complete and why?

I took the Digitalisation concentration and while it’s far from what I do now, it is something that I regret is not weaved a bit more into my position. It is the future of business so I think it will be essential for all professionals to be digitally literate. I anticipate my position will continue to be lean more digital as time passes.

 How did the careers team support you during your MBA journey?

The alumni manager had connected me with a relevant mentor who helped me a tremendous amount. When I was sending out applications for roles I was interested in, she would help me emphasise important points, review my cover letters, and conduct mock interviews to prepare me. She is Danish, so she was familiar with the application etiquette in the local market. Importantly, she taught me to be very confident of my self-worth during the job hunt. Job interviews are not a one-way street.

What advice would you give to MBA considerers?

 If you can afford it, you should visit the country that you want to undertake your MBA in. Especially if there’s a chance that it will be your new home once you graduate.

Second, I think it’s important to know what you want out of your MBA experience. The Copenhagen MBA team has the tools to help you reach your goals. If you can be very clear and transparent about what your desires and goals are from the start, they help you achieve them. You’re in good hands if you’re willing to take the opportunity.

The next MBA intake will be October 2023. Final deadline is June 2023 for non-EU students and July 2023 for EU students.

If you’re interested in pursuing and MBA and internship programme with us, head over to our information page for more detail.

You can get in touch with Andrew Mellor, Admissions Manager [here] if you have further questions.