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Thor Tofthøj Hejlesen, from CBS to USI

Thor during one of his hikes on the mountains around Lugano.
Thor during one of his hikes on the mountains around Lugano.

International Relations and Study abroad Service

Thor Tofthøj Hejlesen is a master student at the Faculty of Economics. After spending a mobility semester at USI, he decided to enrol and complete his master degree in Lugano. We took this opportunity to ask him few questions about his experience and his decision to stay.

Thank you for accepting our request of a short interview to share with our readers. Could you please briefly introduce yourself and your academic background?
I am a 25-year-old man originally from Denmark. I have always known that I want to live abroad since I have always been interested in getting to know other cultures and live in different place. This made me choose the bachelor in Economics and Business Administration at Copenhagen Business School, which provided me with a wide range of different business skills universally transferable across borders. During the 5th semester of my studies I went on exchange at the University of Bath in England. I continued to do a Master in Finance and Strategic Management at Copenhagen Business School.

Why did you choose USI and Switzerland as a study abroad destination in the framework of the SEMP programme?
Since I wanted to go on exchange again during my master, I looked through the options and Switzerland seemed like an interesting place known as being a finance hub, having a high standard of living, being culturally diverse and having an amazing nature. I found USI particularly interesting since it is located in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland and they have a low teacher-student ratio.

In which way has your study abroad period at USI enriched you, academically and personally?
I got a lot of great experiences from being at USI, I had the opportunity to meet and work together with people from all over the world, I learnt a little Italian and I enjoyed traveling around Switzerland and hiking in the nature. Academically, I also had to do a lot more group work, and I was in much smaller classes compared to what I was used to in Copenhagen. I felt like I learned the material much better this way.

You are now enrolled in the Master in Management at USI, what motivated you to follow this academic path?
The master I was doing at CBS was half finance and half strategy, however after doing the master for a year I figured out that I was not so interested in the finance part anyway but much more in strategy and marketing.  By doing the exchange semester at USI I focused much more on marketing and communications subjects. Furthermore, I also prefer the teaching style at USI with smaller classes, a lot of group work and the option to do a wider range of different courses at the same time. The master I am doing is a supplement to the one I have already been doing but at the same time it also enables me to follow a path which I am much more interested in. 

What are your academic and/or career plans for the future?
At the moment, I am also taking a German course at USI, because I want to work in Switzerland after I have completed my studies here, and knowing German is crucial. I mostly see myself in a position where I am working in Sales or Marketing. I am also looking into doing Swiss mobility in the fall semester 2019, since I want to try to live and study in the German speaking part of Switzerland.