Diversity of Thought Headshot

Kine Kjaernet

MA(Hons) International Business 2008

Partner, Head of Governance, Risk and Compliance Services, KPMG

Having worked for Deloitte and KPMG in Norway, plus a spell back in the UK with the Norwegian Central Bank, Kine believes that utilising the unique differences in people leads to innovation, creativity, and better solutions.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Edinburgh Business School?

I always wanted to study in the UK after I visited from Norway when I was just 13, and I chose to study at the University of Edinburgh Business School for two main reasons.

Firstly, because the University of Edinburgh is a well-regarded university and one of the top universities in the UK and the world. The second reason was to get international experience and the University of Edinburgh was the perfect match of a great business school, diverse, good clubs and societies, and international student environment.

I did not regret one second, Edinburgh holds a special place in my heart with the beautiful city, campus, nature, and the lovely, friendly people, both Scottish and international.

Tell us about your career path after graduating?

In my final year, I was thinking about getting a job in London, where several of my friends started to work. However, after graduating, I decided to go back to Norway and pursue a graduate position in Deloitte, working with accounting and financial audit.

It was a steep learning curve and I enjoyed working with large and international companies, learning everything from audit, to internal controls, to risk management. After two years of working, the firm supported an additional full-time Master’s degree in accounting and audit, similar to the Chartered Accountant / Certified Public Accountant in the UK.

Returning to work in 2011, I took a greater interest in governance, risk, and internal control at the audit clients and decided to transition into a newly established risk advisory team, supporting clients with IPO’s; establishing or improving governance structures, risk management, and internal controls systems.

For a long time, I dreamt of returning to the UK for work and in 2016 a recruitment company contacted me to ask if I was interested in a position in London. I did not take long to accept the offer and I got an opportunity to work for the Norwegian Central Bank, Norges Bank Investment Management (Government Pension Fund Global) in the London office.

We established a Compliance and Control function for the new part of the organisation, who invested in high-quality real estate in a few major cities and with key partners, like the Crown Estate. I really loved working in London and its way of life; I think I could have lived in London forever.

In summer 2018, however, I did return to Norway and came back to advisory. I had the opportunity to lead Governance, Risk, and Compliance Services (GRC) in KPMG. We are a dedicated and diverse team with education in business, social sciences, law, and engineering — everyone has experience from the 'real world'.

Together, we support our clients with advisory, assurance, and audit in the fields of governance, risk management, internal control, compliance, and internal audit. We advise and support on establishing, improving, or auditing governance systems and are often used as advisors to executive management, audit committees, and the Board.

In addition to my daytime job, I also have the privilege be part of the Executive Management, responsible for leading the Inclusion and Diversity agenda in KPMG in Norway. I’m a firm believer of diversity of thought, because diversity in the workplace leads to new ideas, and different perspectives and perceptions.

Utilising the unique differences in people and working together, and with partners, we encourage and accelerate innovation, creativity, and better solutions to overcome the challenges we need to solve for the future.

What key thing that you learnt at the Business School do you still rely on today?

My degree gave me a solid foundation for my career. However, I think what shaped me most was the truly international environment that I was part of and all the people I got to meet and learn from.

Tell us about any recent involvement with the Business School and what you have gained from being involved?

I was recently involved as a Mentor in the Alumni Mentoring Programme, as part of the Edinburgh Award in Effective and Responsible Leadership.

I signed up to be a mentor as I have had a mentor for the last few years myself and she has truly made a difference in my career and my life. She questions me, challenges me, facilitates my thinking, and supports me to focus on the specific challenges I face, and I want to be able to give that back to someone young who is about to graduate and start their career. It is very rewarding to know that I can make a difference to someone else’s life.

I had the pleasure to be a mentor for a clever and lovely student, and I’m grateful for our conversations. We discussed topics among others related to job applications, resilience, the pandemic, and female leadership. I hope it was as useful to her as it was to me.

It was a unique opportunity for me to gain a close understanding of the world through the eyes of a young student, especially in the middle of the pandemic. It really made me think how this insight can be applied to my team and my organisation to make a difference.

Fellow alumni, I encourage you to sign up as a mentor for next year, both to inspire and mentor a student, but also to have a rewarding experience yourself.

Alumni wisdom — if you could offer one piece of advice to current students, what would it be?

Only you can set yourself up for success. Choose your choices wisely. Plan ahead, prepare, and get organised, and give yourself the best conditions to succeed in career and life.

Also, use your time to explore the city and Scotland and get friends from all over the world.

Mentoring gave me the opportunity to gain a close understanding of the world through the eyes of a young student, especially in the middle of the pandemic.