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Advice from alumni: Daniel Dybdal Nilsen

Daniel Dybdal Nilsen from Norway was an IB student at EF Academy New York and graduated in 2015. Since then, he has pursued his interest in business at the Norwegian School of Economics and has begun applying what he’s learned to invest his own money in stocks. Learn more about Daniel’s experience and what he is up to now:

How did you hear about EF Academy and why did you choose to attend? 

I actually dropped out of high school in Norway because I found it boring and I had some personal issues so I just wanted to start working. My friend dropped out at the same time and his mother was so concerned that she did everything to get us back to school. She found EF Academy and told us about it and the rest is history.

I am very happy that I went back to school and joined EF Academy. My experience there was amazing because I met so many amazing people. Compared to Norwegian schools, the IB curriculum includes fewer subjects which enabled me to focus more. Moreover, the boarding school environment suited me much better and I just loved New York.

What is your favorite EF Academy memory? 

This one is a hard one for me; I have so many good memories. When looking back, I actually find myself cherishing the hard times. Our group of friends was not the best at planning but we would always put in the work necessary to get the grades. This resulted in quite a few all-nighters; sitting in the corridors studying. I still remember the time that a friend and I stayed up to 7 a.m. to study for our physics exams and we both did very well.

Do you keep in touch with your EF Academy classmates? 

My group of friends is still very close. For example, both Azmine and Raka have visited Norway several times. We also met up in London for the Alumni Reunion and had a great time together.

What do you miss the most? 

I miss the people such as teachers like Bobby in the gym and Mr. Barnes (my Economics teacher). Obviously, you become very close when you live together for two years.

What is one thing that you learned from EF Academy that you found valuable for university? For work life? For your personal life? 

I learned a lot during those two years, not only academically, but also about myself. The two most important things are:

How to handle life: I learned how to organize a large amount of work to be able to meet deadlines. My trick is to sit down and always get the work done before taking the time to have fun.

Why exercise is important: I personally feel much better when I am fit and exercise so that is why I always prioritize going to the gym. At the gym, I can just shut off my brain and relax.

What university did you go to afterwards? What do you study and why? 

I am currently studying Economics at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) in Bergen. I decided to study Economics because I realized during my IB studies that I really like the subject. In particular, I find stocks and capital allocation to be fascinating and I read a lot of books about it in my free time.

NHH Bergen was an obvious choice for me because I knew I wanted to go to university in Norway since it is for

free and the quality of the education is good. Moreover, NHH Bergen has the best economics institute in Norway.

Up to now, I’ve had a really good experience at NHH. I met a lot of great people and I even got a part-time job at a gas station.

What is your dream for the future? 

I am actually working on my dream, which is to have my own company that works with investments and capital allocations. In fact, I started my own company a few days ago through which I invest some capital that I have saved up on the stock market. By analyzing the financials of companies using different metrics and techniques (price, earnings ratios and debts, equity rations), I identify attractive long-term investments with low risk. I am very much inspired by great investors such as Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffet.

Compared to putting my money in the bank, I think this is a good way for me to learn about investment and actively manage my own capital. In the long-term, I would like to run a company that allocates capital for other people.

Do you have any tips to EF Academy students that want to pursue studies or careers in business? 

If you are interested in business, make sure to read a lot about it. I personally read a lot and my favorite book is “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham; it’s a good book if you are interested in investments.

What final tips would you give to current students? 

* Take school seriously and take care of your future but still have a lot of fun. You don’t want to have too much fun today so that you ruin your future. This worked out great for all of the people in my group.

* Always stay busy – For me, there is no point in spending eight hours playing video games when maybe two hours are enough, you need to make the most of your time and enjoy life

* Always lifts weights – I started going to the gym at school and had a lot of good times.

* What do you wish you knew before starting university?

I personally believe you should go in there a little unprepared and explore things. However, I would recommend that you engage in activities and clubs and make friends, especially people who are different from yourself. I am engaged in an organization called the Bergen Challenge, that arranges sports events and even has its own newspaper.

Who is the most successful alumni that you know of? 

Christoffer Hjelpdahl because he simply is one of the most interesting guys that I know and he thinks in his own way.

Short questions: 

* Name: Daniel Dybdal Nilsen

* Age: 20

* Nationality: Norwegian

* EF Academy campus: New York

* Graduation year: 2015

* Program: IB

* Residence or host family: Residence

* Favorite subject: Economics – the teacher was great and we had a lot of fun in class. Moreover the subject fascinates me, which is why I am studying it now.

* Favorite teacher:  Mr Timothy Barnes – he is a really great teacher, who is both a cool person to talk to and intelligent

* Favorite club / society: I was Parliamentarian in the Student Council and also had fun in the Stock Market Club, but mostly I went to the gym.

* Which is the next country you want to visit? I want to go to Indonesia to see my friends and Bali seems tempting.

* Who to interview next: Christoffer Hjelpdal

* Shouts outs to: 

* Robert Fatone

* Timothy Barnes

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