My Business School Experience

I have two Bachelor Degrees, one in Nutrition and one in Business Administration. When I was younger, I completed a degree in economics at a private business school in Norway, which ranks as one of the top business schools in Europe. At this school, I was the only vegetarian and, amazingly, most of the students had not even met a vegetarian before!

During my last year of study, I took a course in Marketing Management. This course had two components to pass: the written exam (done by 3 students) and small group work with other students. For the group work, we had to present a paper and defend it in front of the professor and other students. In addition, we had to present a marketing strategy for each of the other groups’ subjects. The case topics varied greatly from group to group, including topics such as furniture sales, cars and fish farm sales.

Immediately I knew that I could not discuss and argue about how best to market and make a profit from fish farming, which one of the other groups presented on. It felt wrong to devise a plan to make the highest possible profit from a business that exploited fish. Like other animals in cages, I cared about their lives and wanted them to be free, swimming in the ocean. However, if I did not join the discussion, I risked failing the course and not receiving my economics degree. Friends advised me to go through the argument pretending I was debating the sale of something else, like a boat. But I could not do it - it did not feel right.

When the defense day came, we all sat in a circle, ready to begin the discussion, I told the censor and the group that I cared for fish and could not participate. I sat in silence while the other students talked. When the discussion was over, the censor (who appeared to be a young man) stood up to give us our marks. When he came to me, he looked down at his paper, then back at me again and spontaneously said: “I give you a C!” What?? A passing mark? I was blown away - it was amazing! 

The censor told me that this was the first time, during his ten years as leader of the course, that he had experienced a student stand up for something they believed in, and he hoped it would happen again. I flew all the way home! I was so happy and overjoyed that someone had respected my deep love and care for animals. 

The following piece discusses fish farming, or fish agriculture, today.

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