I had a lot of doubts about whether I should apply for IB, mainly due to the reputation and rumors about the programme. I ended up applying for IB as my first priority, and then Economics at the University of Copenhagen as my second priority. I knew from the get-go that I wanted something to do with business- and economics, the questions was just which approach would fit me the best.
Originally, I became interested in applying for IB due to my passion for an international environment, and my own ambitions of moving back to New York after my bachelor’s degree, since I lived there during my gap year. I also really wanted to study alongside other students who really care about academics, because I do best when I work with likeminded students.
I chose to apply for IB for a couple of reasons:
Firstly, the international aspect and environment was very important to me. The fact that IB is taught 100% in English would help improve my English skills even further and give me a good foundation for creating possibilities for myself in the future – both workwise and through further education.
IB opens a lot of doors, also as a bachelor’s degree. I was interested in exploring my possibilities, also directly after finishing my bachelor’s.
I realized that I should not base my choice of programme on what other people might think of me, or on my own prejudices about what types of people study IB. Since my interests were aligned with the programme, I felt confident that it couldn’t go wrong entirely (and luckily, all my prejudices quickly got dismantled )
The last reason was the way of learning at CBS and especially at IB. The teaching style is mainly case based, so we work a lot with real life scenarios and analysis, which can give a valuable insight into the different industries. We do have a lot of theory as well, but it is manly taught through case work.
As I mentioned, I had a lot of prejudices about how IB would be as a programme, and it was also the aspect which scared me and made me almost not apply for IB. I was scared that the study environment would be too competitive, and that I would not find any friends which I would connect with. I knew nobody who had studied IB personally, so all of my ideas about IB was based on rumors. I therefore expected a very high academic level with ambitious students – which is very true. I’ve never met as ambitious and intelligent people as my fellow students.However, I was scared of the ‘type’ of people IB often get associated with. This type ended up being more a myth than reality. I have created friendships for life, with similar interests to my own.
I’ve been positively surprised by the course structure of IB, which consists of quarters of 6-8 weeks as opposed to semesters. They are short and intense, however it gives the option to dive much deeper in the different courses, due to the fact that we only have two courses at a time. At times, it can be challenging, especially in courses such as microeconomics or the like, where you need to be comfortable with a lot of information in a short period of time. It has pushed me to learn to study in a different way than what I’ve been used to, which has been very giving for my learning.
IB is a programme where people really focus on their education. It can be extremely motivating and can become the foundation for the ability to really immerse yourself academically with other students. However, you’ll quickly realize that everybody used to be a top student in their class – and in a university programme, not everybody can be a top student. For a lot of people, this is a difficult realization to come to, nonetheless an extremely important one. It has been highly important for me to balance the competitive study environment with a more relaxed view on my own performance and forgive myself when I’m not ‘perfect’. It is important to stay true to yourself, and for that reason, a lot of people also choose to focus on other aspects of their life, such as their job or hobbies, to create a more balanced mindset.
It has been quite essential for me to develop friendships where we can both discuss our readings and school, but simultaneously be able to let those topics go and do something completely different. Especially in the beginning school became my whole world and I was constantly comparing myself to my fellow students. To prevent this, we have in my friend group chosen to not really discuss grades and school a lot. It has created a more accepting and relaxed dynamic between us.
Furthermore, I was quite surprised with how social and engaged people are. There are ALWAYS somebody who are down to do something, whether its meeting for a cup of coffee or drinks. CBS and our student union, IB Union, are central for the social life of IB, because they put together the most fun and interesting events which people always look forward to attending. My favorite event is IB Dinners, hosted by IB Union, where you have dinner with a bunch of people from the different years of IB, and then all the dinner groups meet up afterwards and go out. It creates a sense of unity across years, which can be hard to form otherwise.
One thing I wish that I would’ve known before starting IB is that there is no reason to fear being the odd one out. There are so many different types of people at IB with different backgrounds. In that sense, IB is not that different from other study programmes. However, we do have a prevalent international environment, also across CBS, which is just makes our student body even more diverse. People are always nice, forthcoming and very social.
Remember to listen to yourself! Don’t base your choice of programme on what others might think of you – good or bad.
Be forgiving with yourself. Life is not always about doing perfect, and it is difficult to start university. Give yourself the space to discover how you handle this new situation the best.
If you know anybody who are/have studied the programme you’re considering, contact them – or contact one of us, if you don’t know anybody. It gives you the possibility to get answers to some things you might’ve wondered and are important to you specifically.
Hear the students' reflections on choosing their study programme and being a student on IB. Feel free to contact them with your questions.