Independent University Newspaper
Copenhagen Business School

Popular searches:

Independent University Newspaper

Copenhagen Business School

CBS copes with coronavirus: Niamh will be working at Harvard, but from her apartment in Copenhagen

Niamh Higgins was just about to leave for Boston, to start up her three-month internship at Harvard University. Coronavirus changed her planes. (Photo: Anne M. Lykkegaard)

A dream had come true for CBS student Niamh Higgins. She was accepted for a unique three-month internship at Harvard University starting in late March. That was until coronavirus closed the borders here and in the U.S. Now, she will do the internship from Copenhagen. “You learn how to make lemonade out of lemons.”

Coronavirus |   17. Mar 2020

Anne Thora Lykkegaard


To Niamh Higgins, Bioentrepreneurship student at CBS, the outbreak of coronavirus seemed far away. China, Italy. Places she was not planning on visiting. It probably would not be a problem, and it certainly would not come between her and her plans to leave for Boston on March 22 and begin a unique internship position at Harvard University.

“On March 10, I received an email from my supervisor at Harvard, who informed me that they were starting to ban all international staff travel. I was shocked and upset. Would this mean my dream job would fall through? I looked up whether I could still travel to the U.S. from Denmark, and briefly but seriously considered leaving and getting in the next flight,” says Niamh Higgins, who is originally from Ireland but is studying for the second year of her MSc in Business Administration and Bioentrepreneurship at CBS.

Niamh Higgins’ “dream job” at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering is to join a business development project focusing on evaluating the commercial potential of a new technology platform developed at the institute from Dr. George Church’s lab.

“I will work with both inventors of this technology and the business development team and will have the opportunity to use both my scientific and business skillsets,” she explains.

But after a talk with Harvard University, it became clear that the situation was more serious than first anticipated.

“I talked to my dad about leaving for Boston. This is on my bucket list, and I really want to learn what makes scientific innovations so brilliant there. I guess you could say that my ambitious side took over as I began thinking if there was a way around this. But I realized there isn’t really a responsible way around and I should stay in Denmark. And when Trump banned all flights from Europe, the decision was made for me,” she says on the phone from her apartment in Copenhagen, from where she will be doing as much of the internship as she can, until further notice.

Silver linings

Usually, students studying for an MSc in Business Administration and Bioentrepreneurship do internships at one of the major pharma or biotech companies in Denmark, including Novo Nordisk, Novozymes, Agilent and Leo Pharma. But when Niamh started her studies in the fall last year, she already had her mind set on an internship outside Denmark’s borders.

Niamh Higgins will now be working remotely from her apartment in Copenhagen. (Photo: Anne M. Lykkegaard)

“I had contacts in Boston and was determined to make it happen. And luckily, the staff at the Wyss Institute liked me and my background and everything was settled just a month ago. So it was a race to get VISAs approved with no guarantee of success,” she says and explains that this year, her program allowed students to create an alternative thesis project if they weren’t matched up with a partner company.

“So I was pretty lucky that CBS allowed me to pursue Boston this time,” she says.

Niamh Higgins was more than ready to leave Denmark. She had already half packed her bags when it became clear that the trip was off. So what then?

In collaboration with the Wyss Institute and her new colleagues there, she can do parts of the internship remotely.

“If the situation improves in a couple of months, I can join them and get the full experience, but for now, I’m just happy that I can do something from Copenhagen. And I will learn alot, I’m sure. You learn how to make lemonade out of lemons in a situation like this,” she says.

In fact, Niamh Higgins sees several redeeming features evolving from this unusual situation.

“I think it shows how adaptable we are, and that you shouldn’t underestimate what can be done remotely. I believe we can accomplish more than we might initially think. In that way, it may be easier to outperform the expectations set, and that’s my attitude right now. To think positively and just treat it like a challenge. Also, we can have meetings with our bosses in pyjamas. It’s the tiny silver linings that are important here,” she says.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

CBS copes with coronavirus: Niamh will be working at Harvard, but from her apartment in Copenhagenby

  • News

    Staff layoffs: What happens if you’re fired

    The clock is ticking. On Thursday morning (5 October), CBS employees will know if they are up for dismissal or not. But what will happen on the day? What emotional stages are you likely to encounter? And who will be there to pick you up when you are feeling the blow of being laid off? CBS WIRE has talked to HR and the consulting agency Actief Hartmanns to provide you with answers.

  • News

    Network, network, network – CBS graduates advise on getting your first job

    There are many approaches to finding your first job. Three recent CBS graduates talk about how they landed theirs. Their approaches were quite different, yet they all highlight networking as a key element.

  • News

    A-Z of the dismissals

    In these final days of September, the fate of a number of CBS employees is being decided. The final amount of money saved on salaries via voluntary severance agreements (aka redundancy packages, Ed.) and senior agreements will be known.  After this, the actual number of employees up for dismissal will be decided by management – and then the individuals will be selected.

  • News

    Layoffs break the crucial trust between organisation and employee

    CBS is laying off a number of employees soon, which will affect our university in different ways. When employees are fired without having done anything wrong, it shatters the trust between the organisation and employees, while also taking a toll on productivity, according to a CBS expert. Layoffs also affect the ‘survivors’, who are forced to adapt to a changed workload and the loss of cherished colleagues.

  • News

    Here to help – at the touch of a button and at Campus Desk

    Exam anxiety? Lost student card? I’ve wedged my car between a Fiat 500 and a lamp post, can you help? You never know what you’ll be asked next. But that’s just how the Campus Desk team like it. And if they can’t fix your problem, they’ll know someone who can. CBS WIRE asked the team about the whole range of topics they advice on every day.

  • Gif of the week
  • News

    CBS Quiz Time: Unraveling the success story

    A successful university environment such as CBS is often associated with academic pursuits, but campus life extends far beyond the classroom. At CBS Quiz Time, a student society motivated by creative thinking and social engagement, students join in a refreshing range of creativity, excitement, and social interaction. CBS WIRE talked to Celine Møller-Andersen to find out about the society’s vision, strategies and the factors that are driving its rapid expansion.

  • News

    Why so sudden? The CBS financial crisis explained

    Employees and union representatives have posed many questions in the wake of the 17 August announcement of a firing round. In this interview, University Director Arnold Boon explains how Senior Management has been working with the budget and a change of financial strategy since the fall of 2022, and why layoffs are now necessary.

Follow CBS students studying abroad

CBS WIRE collaborates with

Stay connected