Being an intern in Norfund – Florian’s story

December 18, 2023

My name is Florian, and I have been an intern in Norfund’s Strategy Department in 2023. Driven by a keen interest in developmental finance and seeking international work experience, I found Norfund to be the ideal place to work. It offered insights into sustainable investment practices and a unique work culture, providing valid reasons to move to Oslo. This text is a reflection of my experiences and learnings during my time at Norfund and hopefully sheds some light on how it is being an intern at Norfund.

The Internship Experience

I am originally from Germany and have studied international business administration at WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management. During my gap year between Bachelor’s & Master’s degrees, my interest in impact investing, fueled by several initiatives at my university, led me to join Norfund.

Once there, I quickly became involved in various strategic projects, with a primary focus on climate. A key responsibility of mine was to ensure that Norfund’s new investments were Paris aligned. Put simply, this means ensuring the investments are consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement, which aims to combat climate change and prevent its most severe impacts, particularly by limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. This task required the integration of these climate criteria into the organization’s investment process. The work culture at Norfund allowed me to shape my work independently, providing a challenging and highly rewarding learning experience.

Beyond my core tasks revolving around climate, I was able to gain insights on various other subjects. One of such projects was the intern project centered around Artificial Intelligence. This project was a refreshing change from my everyday responsibilities and enabled us interns to better connect with each other.

Culture at Norfund

Speaking of connecting with other interns, the most unique aspect of Norfund is likely the organization’s culture and its positive impact it has on both personal well-being and productivity. Right at the beginning, one was immersed by the culture with a New Joiners weekend at a cabin in the mountains and the ‘Norfund Week’. This event gathered employees from around the globe, offering an unparalleled opportunity to engage with a diverse and international community. It broadened my horizons significantly, giving me contacts and perspectives from all over the world. Next to these events, one could experience the culture daily, with a general curiosity among everyone about each other’s interests, regardless of whether you are upper management or an intern.

Social Life and Integration

Living in Oslo as a foreigner, the workplace became my primary social hub, which may sound less appealing at first. However, my colleagues were incredibly welcoming, ensuring that I never felt isolated in a new city. We bonded over weekend trips, hikes, regular sauna visits, and, notably, the quintessential Oslo tradition of a Friday morning fjord swim, even in the coldest winter – a cultural experience I wholeheartedly embraced.

Extending the Journey

As my internship neared its end, I decided to extend my stay for a few more months before moving on with my gap year and studying. This period allowed me to delve deeper into my projects and solidify the relationships I’d built. The experience at Norfund was nothing short of amazing, leaving me with not just professional knowledge and experience but also a wealth of cultural insights and memories from my time in Oslo. Norfund has shown me how work can be both enjoyable, intellectually stimulating and profoundly impactful, setting a high bar for my future career pursuits.