Derek - Copenhagen Business School

B Commerce
Semester 2, 2014

Academic Experiences

The courses I ended up studying at Copenhagen Business School were:

  • Neuroeconomics 
  • The Chinese Political Economy 
  • Language and Culture in Organisations 
  • Behavioural Finance 

Since it was the final semester of my bachelor degree, it was a bit difficult trying to find courses that lined up, but fortunately it all worked out in the end. The courses themselves I found really interesting. The format was a combination of lecture and tutorial into a single session each week. The classes were also much smaller, interactive and heavily discussion-based. Attendance is encouraged but not compulsory and assessment consisted almost exclusively of 100% pieces at the end of the semester. 

With no mid-semester assessment to keep you in check, it did make it hard to stay motivated and stay up to date on content. But that being said, although there is no lectopia equivalent, all assessable material is made available online. In other words, a few cheeky trips here and there in moderation during the semester wouldn't set you too far back when it comes to catching up on some missed classes. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that some courses are completed in half a semester. In other words, a few courses may finish or start half-way through the semester. One of my courses didn't start till late October and was finished within 6 weeks. It does mean that you have twice as much contact hours during that time though. 

In terms of assessment, 4 hour exams, 10 page papers and 20 minute oral exams are the norm. I was fortunate(?) enough to have all 3. Oral exams may sound daunting but they are essentially just a 20 minute conversation with your lecturers. There are also ways to steer the conversation into content that you are more comfortable with.

Personal Experiences

I don't think it would be much of a stretch to say that my exchange was one of the most enjoyable and memorable 6 months that I've experienced. I was fortunate enough to meet a great bunch of people from all over the place who I still keep in contact with. I learned a lot about different cultures and in total managed to visit 12 different countries. 

I think an exchange semester gives you an opportunity to actually live and immerse yourself in a city in a way that travelling alone wouldn't allow. It's enough time to explore the cool places that may be lurking behind certain side streets which you may not happen to come across whilst hopping to and from the main sites.


CBS has relationship with a few student residences but unfortunately the supply of available places in these residences is very limited. Applications are more stressful and competitive than signing on for classes on sinet. I managed to secure a spot at Porcelaenshaven only after someone pulled out at the last minute. 

That being said, although I was skeptical about private housing initially, it definitely isn't the end of the world. A lot of people ended up living with locals and ended up mingling more with the Danes, but at the same time they still managed to stay involved in all the exchange activities.

Porcelaenshaven was the only on-campus accommodation offered and it was only a 5 minute bike ride to the 2 other main CBS campuses. It was also close to bus and metro stops and about a 20 minute bike ride into the city. There were about 100 residents living at Porcelaenshaven, all of whom were on exchange.  Although it was good living with people from all over the world, it meant that you needed to go out of your way to spend time with Danes. 

One criticism I do have is the lack of access to a communal area. Although there was a common room, you needed to request for its use several days in advance. Some residences had communal kitchens that was always buzzing with people. The trade-off though was that the kitchens were quite filthy a lot of the time. The rooms at Porcelaenshaven all came with a fridge, stovetop and kitchenette, which was great when you were after some alone time, but not having access to an oven became a bit of a hassle.


Denmark is notorious for having a very high cost of living. The average price of a coffee is double of what it is in Australia, and rent was around $1000AUD a month. There are ways of saving money though like not eating out as much, and you get used to the prices after a while. You also end up saving lots on transport costs by biking around everywhere. Many people ended up selling their bike for around the same price they purchased it for at the start of the semester.

Academic Development and Employability 

I think in terms of academic development, my exchange gave me exposure to different methods of teaching and learning. Most of the courses I studied drew upon recent articles regarding contemporary issues relevant to each field, and questioned many accepted beliefs. In fact, my Behavioural Finance elective was essentially dedicated toward challenging the legitimacy of models I had previously been taught to rely upon.

In terms of employability, I think having had the opportunity to meet and interact with people with a range of different backgrounds provided me with a deeper awareness of different cultures. CBS also had a number of networking opportunities with individuals from around the world.


I would say that the highlight for me was the week I spent in Iceland. I was there for a five-day music festival with some friends I met on exchange. Bands played at night in venues ranging from concert halls to book shops, leaving us the days to explore glaciers, venture through lava caves and snorkel between tectonic plates in 2 degree crystal clear water. We were even lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the northern lights.

Top Tips 

I think signing up for all the O-week activities that your host university may offer is a pretty good idea. We had 2 weeks of events organised at CBS and it was the best way to meet people as well as see the city. 

I also think that although it's easy and comfortable, you should avoid falling into the trap of exclusively hanging out with other Australians on exchange and that it's important to at least try and branch out. 

Finally, if you're considering doing 2 semesters on exchange, I think it's a good idea to at least apply for it as it's much easier to cancel your second semester than it is to apply for a second semester while you're over there.