A Life-Changing Experience at HPU

A Life-Changing Experience at HPU

Haland Family at Aloha Tower

When Norwegian-national Petter Håland enrolled in the MBA program at HPU it was immediately clear that the University was a vibrant, global place, with students from over 60 countries and all 50 states. In one of Håland’s courses he sat down next to a young woman from Singapore named Jackie. A conversation ensued, they fell in love, married, and had two children. The tête-à-tête that sparked between two international MBA students continues on to this very day.

“My experience at HPU changed my life. I met my wife, fell in love, had Toby and Emma,” Håland  said. “I think of HPU as a small United Nations. Each class is comprised of students from all over the world. I learned the value of respecting cultural differences during my time at HPU, which has served me quite well in my career.”

Håland is the head of the finance and budget team at the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism in New York City. He and Jackie live in Westchester; they have also lived in many locations across the world. 

“I love traveling and exploring the world,” said Håland. “So far, I’ve lived in Norway, Canada, Hawai‘i, California, New York, South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia.” 

Håland is a Korean adoptee who grew up in Norway. Visiting South Korea was always of keen interest. “I was born in Seoul and was adopted at 6 months by a Norwegian family,” said Håland. “I grew up there, and studied at university in Norway, but Hawai‘i was always on my mind as a place to study. What a great experience it would be.”

After completing his undergraduate education in Norway, Håland was accepted into several graduate schools. “There was Australia, London, and Hawai‘i. I chose Hawai‘i and made the best decision to attend HPU.”  

It was on a study abroad trip at HPU that Håland had the chance to live and study in South Korea. But Håland’s study abroad experience almost didn’t happen! MBA students traditionally did not study abroad because of the short nature of the MBA program, but after speaking with several professors and the director of graduate studies Håland was selected to attend a semester program at Sogang University in South Korea.

“I was the first MBA student from HPU studying abroad,” says Håland, “and the first HPU student to attend Sogsng University. It was life changing. I received a summer internship in South Korea after receiving my MBA and got to really experience the international lifestyle of working abroad.”  

Håland states that attending HPU is a highly unique experience, mainly attributed to the University’s diversity, location, professors, and myriad opportunities. “There are many impressive professors at HPU,” said Håland. “One professor gave me the advice that I follow to this very day. ‘Always be aware how you come across to others.’ HPU gives students the opportunity to understand who they truly are, gain different perspectives on the world, and broaden their horizons into the future.”

To learn more about the MBA program at HPU click here.