Nicklas Snekloth Kongsgaard was an international visiting student from Copenhagen Business School who attended Columbia in fall 2012. Drawn to Columbia's prominent professors and prestigious reputation, he spent his semester taking classes at Columbia Business School, immersing himself in the university's community, and building his network. Currently an associate at the Copenhagen office of The Boston Consulting Group, he spoke with us over the phone about what he loved about Columbia and how the university provided value for his career.
What brought you to Columbia?
I went to Columbia as part of the graduate visiting student program. I wasn't so much drawn to New York per se; I wanted to go to Columbia to study under the professors who had written the articles that I studied when I was getting my bachelor's and my master's. I also wanted to see if I could compete with the best students out there.
I was ecstatic about going to Columbia. As a graduate visiting student from Copenhagen Business School, it gave me the opportunity to take a wide variety of different courses. I was majoring in business economics, so I took M.B.A. courses at the business school and Ph.D. courses at the department of economics. Whatever I wanted was open to me, and I really appreciated that.
What about your experience at Columbia? What classes did you take, and what were they like?
In a word, it was amazing. Before I went, I checked out all the courses that were in the catalog and checked out all the professors. One of the best courses I had was with Prof. Michael Woodford. I took his course in monetary economics. That was fantastic. He's the world authority on that subject; before I started at Columbia, I studied many of his articles. It was a great chance to pick his brain and discuss my papers with him. That was the highlight of it all.
Why don't you tell me a little bit about your experience in New York?
First of all, I was very involved in the school. I immersed myself in a lot of opportunities. I was a teaching assistant for the course global emerging markets, and I tutored students in corporate finance. So actually, a lot of my life in New York revolved around Columbia. But Columbia aside, of course New York is a fantastic city.
I had been to New York before, but this time I was able to experience it with my classmates – who were locals. So you really got an insider's tour of the city. To me, that was the most special thing about coming to New York.
What do you feel was the most valuable part of coming to Columbia?
It will be valuable for my career going forward. I had already signed a contract with the Boston Consulting Group before coming to Columbia. But Columbia will help me in the future simply because it's such a well-known school. If you tell a potential employer you went to school there, they know that your education was high quality.
Is there anything else that you wanted to mention about your Columbia experience or opportunities that opened up as a result of coming to Columbia?
I expected a lot coming to Columbia. It's a big investment, and it's half a year of your life. But all my expectations were met, and I got even more than I could have imagined. It was really amazing, especially because the students at Columbia are extremely friendly. It's a welcoming environment; I think that's worth mentioning.