St. Olaf College | News

Program gives students hands-on experience in international consulting

This year's Norway Innovation Scholars are (from left) Camille Morley '15, Janna Jansen '15, Sarah Elder '15, and Joe Briesemeister '16.
This year’s Norway Innovation Scholars are (from left) Camille Morley ’15, Janna Jansen ’15, Sarah Elder ’15, and Joe Briesemeister ’16.

As part of a program that gives St. Olaf College students hands-on experience in international consulting, four Oles spent Interim working with a Norwegian cardiac device company in Oslo.

Modeled after the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program, the Norway Innovation Scholars Program enables students to spend four weeks performing a market analysis, evaluating intellectual property issues, and creating strategic development plans in an international business setting.

This year’s scholars — Sarah Elder ‘15, Janna Jansen ‘15, Joe Briesemeister ‘16, and Camille Morley ‘15 — come from a wide range of academic interests and majors, including chemistry, economics, nursing, mathematics, and business, but were brought together by their collective interest in health care innovation and business.

“I am very interested in small businesses and the unique organizational challenges they face. I also have a strong interest in the health care industry,” says Morley, who has previously interned for the U.S. Commercial Service and the Northfield Enterprise Center. “This program allowed me to explore research- and consulting-based work and also gave me a good perspective on living and working internationally.”

Throughout the month, students conducted biotechnology market research and completed a case study for Cardiaccs, a small medical device company in Oslo.

“I feel as though our recommendations and conclusions may ultimately be valued more by a small company with limited resources as opposed to a large entity,” says Briesemeister, who also participated in the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program. “I’m glad that our work has the potential to directly influence the company’s decisions.”

While in Oslo, the students collaborated at NLA University College, a private Christian college in the city.

“We read a lot of articles from scientific databases and spent a lot of time getting a sense for the medical device market — size, products, prices, etc. Since most corporate information is kept private, we had to get creative to find this kind of information,” says Elder, a chemistry major with an interest in intellectual property.

Each afternoon the students met with their on-campus advisors, Associate Professor of Biology Kevin Crisp and Associate Director of Entrepreneurship Roberto Zayas, over Skype to discuss the day’s work.

They were also guided by a Norwegian advisor, Professor Magne Supphellen of both the Norwegian School of Economics and the Hauge School of Management. As one of the leading brand management and marketing experts in Norway, Supphellen helped the students through the marketing and management aspects of their project.

When they weren’t researching their product’s place in the market or reading up on regulations, the students were out exploring Oslo, immersing themselves in Norwegian culture and forming relationships with Norwegian students.

“I loved exploring different neighborhoods and spending time with the Norwegians we met,” says Jansen, a senior nursing major interested in health care innovation. “One of my favorite nights was one of our last. We invited all the Norwegian students we had met to our apartment for food, including delicious Norwegian chocolate. It was a great night celebrating the new friendships we made over the past month.”