Business Know-How from All Over Europe2011.04.04
The Budapest Business School (BGF) and three Western European higher education institutions have developed a joint education material entitled Virtual Campus. We have asked Dr József Roóz, Rector Emeritus of the BGF, about the cooperation among the institutions and the specialties of the program.
When did the cooperation launch, and how were responsibilities distributed among the institutions?
The project entitled Virtual Campus for Small and Medium Enterprises launched in 2007, with the ultimate aim of establishing a Master program. Six institutions participated in the project, and the Budapest Business School was the lead applicant. There was a French partner, the ESC Tours-Poitiers, an English higher education institution, the University of Essex, and a German one, the Hochschule Wismar, and two employers' organisations also participated: the Confederation of Hungarian Employers and Industrialists and the Bundesverband Mittesandische Wirtschaft. The latter two organisations were involved in order to supervise the practice oriented materials that were produced during the project. We have jointly developed an education material comprising 17 modules for the management of SMEs. For the time being, no joint Master degree has been created from these due to differences in the national accreditation rules of the participating countries.
How can the different business cultures of the participating countries be represented in the education material?
For example, the practice of controlling prevalent in continental Europe does not exist in England, so they built this part of the material differently from us. The material of each module was first prepared in English, and then in the different national languages, and the educational materials matching the national specificities were selected from among these, which means that the system is fairly flexible. Individual modules are taught in a mixture of traditional and online methods, also known as blended learning. One institution, the University of Essex has already introduced the program, and the French and German colleagues are currently working on introducing it.
Is the material of the program already available to the BGF students?
We are organising a two-year specialisation course for enterpreneurs, which has already been announced, and this aims to cater for an important market niche, a need we experience on behalf of the enterprises. Blended learning solutions are extremely popular among students, they like to work on real-life company projects.
Instructors of BGF have been given access to the 17 module material, and they are taking the opportunity to download materials and use them in their daily teaching activities.
What innovations has the program brought to the structure of education at BGF?
It has reinforced multiculturality, as every participant nation was interested in the others' methods, and we learned a lot from each other. Another novelty is that the program is realised in a virtual space, and no other program within Europe can be generally applied to SMEs. The latter fact is especially significant these days, when we are witness to the internationalisation of SMEs.