He talks with us about growing up in Norway, his love of football, and why he wants to go into strategic consulting for his career
Samrawi Berhane Abraham is a 24 year old Masters of International Business student from Oslo, Norway. He completed his bachelors degree in marketing from Kristiania University College in Oslo.
"One's true belief in themselves is the root to unlock their potential."
Q: Tell us about your hometown, what was it like growing up there?
A: Growing up in Oslo was great! Especially my suburb, Manglerud, what a great place! Playing sports is quite common in Norway, Oslo included. Most of my childhood was spent playing football on the playground or on the field up the street. I would have to say the best part is our long summer days, which is a blessing for any child loving to play outdoors. So yeah, growing up there was pretty cool.
Q: What's a phrase or saying in your native language and what does it mean to you?
A: I really like the phrase “tro kan flytte fjell”, which directly translated means ”belief can move mountains”. Although I was pretty average in school for most of my life, I have had too many teachers either not believing in me or telling me to aim lower. Yet somehow, I am here today.
Most people know that talent is nothing without hard work and dedication, and I personally believe that one’s true belief in themselves is the root to unlock their potential. If you do not truly, truly believe to the bottom of your heart that you are capable of getting whatever you set your mind to, how else are you supposed to have the drive to work hard enough to get it?
Q: You come from a country with a very high rate of education, how does that make things easier or harder for graduates entering the work force?
A: To be honest, it makes it way more challenging for graduates to enter the work force. Education is free in Norway, which is a key driver for the high rate of education back home. Although this system is great and allows everyone to study higher education, one side of this is that the number of students enrolling into universities are quite high, making the number of graduates also high. Having that said, this system does not increase the number of jobs created, making the ratio between available jobs and graduated increase every year.
The other side of this is that having so many people graduating from the universities makes the diploma less valuable. Having a bachelor’s degree means less and less every year and taking a master’s degree is almost expected now because “everyone has a master’s degree”. So yeah, getting a master’s degree does not guarantee you a job and entering the work force is extremely tough.
"You get to work on different projects with clients from different industries and be exposed to a variety of environments and problems."
Q: You're in your last semester at MBS, how are you different than when you came in to the program?
A: I would say I am more purposeful now than when I moved to Melbourne two years ago!
I started at MBS without a clear idea of what type of career I would like to pursue, but now, three semesters down the road, I know what career track I want to pursue!
Q: What is the best class you've taken at UniMelb and why?
A: I would have to say Global Corporate Governance with Christopher Stewart. His class is the only one I have had at MBS where you can have done all the readings before a lecture and still learn heaps of new things in the lecture. For me personally, I think this class has been the most intellectual simulating.
Q: What has drawn you to want to do consulting for a career?
A: I find the nature of the profession quite challenging and interesting. You get to work on different projects with clients from different industries and be exposed to a variety of environments and problems. The learning curve is quite steep as you might have to learn about a whole company, industry and the complexity of the problem without having any experience and knowledge relevant for the project, and then somehow develop deliverables for the client. As I am curious by nature, the learning-environment of consulting is what draws me towards this career path. Strategy consulting is the field I find the most interesting!
Q: Who has had the biggest influence on you as you go through your University career?
A: I would have to say Prof. John Paul Rollert from the leadership program at Harvard University earlier this year, easily. Having the professor pulling you aside after the final lecture and telling “You really stood out in this class, I know you will achieve great things in this world” really makes an impact on you. That experience is something I will cherish for a long time.
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Q: You are a sporting man. How have sports played an important role in your life? What teams do you support?
A: Sports have played a major part in my life, absolutely. I have played football for 18 years now (and a few years or floorball and futsal), and it is fair to say I love it. Besides teaching me about hard work, collective effort and trust, I guess the most important thing football has given me is the opportunity to have a break from reality. It would not matter if I am having a tough week or going through a stressful time, going to football training or having a pick-up game with friends lets me forget all of these things for a couple of solid hours, which is kind of amazing!
My favourite football team is A.C. Milan. I know my godfather is a massive A.C. Milan fan as well, so I guess that is where I got it from
Q: Describe your experience living in Melbourne over the past two years
A: My gosh, my two years here have been fantastic! If I have to describe my time here with one word, it would be “empowering”. I have met some incredible people from all over the world, been challenged and pushed inside and outside the classroom, shared tons of laughs and experiences, and built friendships that will last a lifetime. Although living across the world from my two brothers has been quite tough, I would not have changed this experience for anything.
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