“I wanted to know about the business side of things”

As an Icelandic supreme court attorney, Herdis Hallmarsdóttir played a key role in litigating one of the world’s biggest bankruptcies. But when she found breathing space in her schedule in 2018, she applied herself to a Global EMBA at CBS and is set to graduate in 2020.

When we concluded negotiations between the Icelandic government and the creditors, I found myself with some legroom. I wanted to better myself and, while I could’ve explored other law options, I wanted to know a bit more about the business side of things, so I looked into studying for a GEMBA at CBS. I have invested in, and am currently helping to set up, a spa with a hotel and restaurant that will open in 2021 and this project is my case study for the course.

At the same time, the course will enhance my legal career. Law touches on everything and litigators have to become knowledgeable about the businesses they are involved with. Similarly, we are also managers and the skills I am learning on the course will definitely help me in this respect.

Denmark and Iceland are close, and we have a natural appreciation for each other’s culture and way of doing things. I did my research and saw that the school was ranked very highly and the way it was set up really appealed to me. The global approach was another deciding factor, as was the executive add-on.

I’m finding it an endless quest to try and fit in all my responsibilities, but I’m learning that it’s all about devoting set times to your studies throughout the working week.

We attend classes in Copenhagen every six weeks – alongside modules in London, Chicago and Shanghai – and I stay in the city for 10 days or so each time. Copenhagen is an absolutely lovely city with a fantastic atmosphere.

The people are warm and welcoming, and I enjoy the culture in the school, which is often based around working as a group. The tutor makes us shift around and interact with each other and that’s a great way of breaking down any perceived barriers. The student mix is very broad – we have lawyers, businesspeople, auditors and engineers to name just a few – and this adds introduces a range of viewpoints and perceptions. In addition, we come from many different countries.

My legal background gives me a different approach, but that’s why I wanted to do this. I wanted to embrace new ways of working and new challenges. Certainly, it’s been hard work, but that’s all part of the experience.