A Conversation with Minerva Graduate Student Trym Berger

Aug 25, 2022

This is part of a series of profiles introducing students from Minerva’s incoming Fall 2022 graduate class. Learn more about our graduate programs here.

"You can't just be knowledgeable about one thing."

That was one thought that drew Trym Berger to enroll in Minerva's Master of Science in Decision Analysis (MDA) program, as a member of the Class of 2024.

Shortly after finishing high school, Trym enrolled in a business university in Norway, however, as he soon discovered the program was not the best fit for him, he decided to drop out. In an attempt to explore different opportunities and shape his career journey, over the next couple of years, Trym worked at several volunteering organizations, joined the military for a year, and founded his own public speaking company.

At the age of 25, Trym began his undergraduate studies anew, yet, he found that he still did not feel challenged enough by them. In consequence, Trym decided to speed up the regular three-year duration of his program and completed his Bachelor's degree in Pedagogy and Education in two years. During his studies, he began his career in the human resources field, working for a student organization and a start-up at the University of Oslo.

Looking for the next step in his educational journey, Trym started exploring various Master's programs, both in his home country of Norway and abroad. In his research, he realized that even though there was a big focus on career relevance at universities in Norway, the educational setting was very academic.

"I really think that when you are going to spend several years in an educational setting, it needs to contribute to your development on some personal level . . . I think of education as self-development, and I needed to find a program that actually aligned with how I wanted to develop myself."

Trym discovered Minerva when he met with students applying to its undergraduate degree. The program intrigued him, but it did not match his life's trajectory at the time. After finishing his Bachelor’s degree, he decided to spend more time exploring various graduate programs when he found out about Minerva's Master of Science in Decision Analysis, which resonated well with his future plans for learning.

Trym finds Minerva's active learning approach more applicable to his development than a traditional lecture-based setting. He also appreciates Minerva's interdisciplinary curriculum, which allows him to apply his broad interest by gaining and applying knowledge in multiple domains. Trym highlights the importance of working across contexts in our increasingly complex world. From his experience, companies and particularly HR departments nowadays need people who are knowledgeable about things outside the scope of their immediate profession's competency.

“While I don’t see myself as a data scientist, I want to understand computational thinking . . . The good thing about it is that I will be able to communicate with a computer scientist, even though I am not [an expert in this field].”

Trym also emphasizes that it is essential for leaders to be able to make more information-based decisions, because people often tend to be biased toward action.

"One thing you can forget is that your action can actually make things worse."

He believes that we can often avoid serious consequences that stem from impulsive decision-making through a more data-based approach. Trym also emphasizes that we need to always keep in mind not to blindly follow information either—this could be problematic too, for instance, in artificial intelligence, where such behavior often reproduces biases and false patterns. That being said, a combination of a precise understanding of data and the ability of human judgment is what, according to Trym, makes a good decision maker.

He wants to apply this dual competence to exploring different career paths throughout his MDA journey by exchanging knowledge with fellow students in Minerva's international community. Trym's ultimate goal is to find the perfect career fit that will allow him to have the most impact, while exploring the idea of effective altruism along the way.

"My invitation [for prospective students] is to just try to define. Try to define what exactly you wish to get from your educational experience. I think when you start to really determine what the actual purpose is of investing time into education, you become more intentional about it—for me, it is about being challenged. And, think: What kind of person will I become throughout this journey?"