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Change of approaches in the BA of Applied Economics: how Corvinus trainings are renewed

As a part of the transformation of Corvinus University, the Applied Economics Bachelor's Program will be renewed. We asked Eszter Szabó-Bakos, who is in charge of the program to tell us a bit more about the changes.

07.09.2020 Written by Anna Kovács

"We put knowledge first, not the teaching process"

- says Eszter Szabó-Bakos, who is in charge of the renewal of the Applied Economics Bachelor's Program. She believes that the key is to transform the approach of the whole program and also that “the focus will be on students being able to acquire knowledge”.

What does a change of attitude mean? According to Eszter Szabó-Bakos, among other things, the training program focuses on economics and empirical methods. “The knowledge acquired by the students will be the most important” - considers the specialist.

"We intend not only to provide students with general knowledge, not just a little of everything, but also to equip them with the knowledge of data analysis in economics and to be able to apply it."

Students will also encounter unique eight-credit subjects at the university. Each semester, the compulsory subjects will include an eight-credit economic and an eight-credit data analysis, empirical subject. Students also need to work more independently to complete the subjects. They will have to communicate a lot with each other, research, read and use different software.

An important element of the transformation is that students acquire practical skills in addition to academic knowledge. Practicality has a somewhat different meaning in economics than business life. “In economics, it means that a student can identify a problem and know which tool to use to solve it. ”

The specialized seminar and the dissertation process will also be transformed. The novel structure is the first to appear at the university in the Applied Economics Department. Another goal is to avoid procrastination.

"Students also need to demonstrate the development of their knowledge, so we've included a project subject every year."

Students synthesize their knowledge gained through compulsory subjects and solve problems. Every year they are expected to have a different level of knowledge and problem-solving ability. In doing so, they can build skills that are also relevant in the job market: presentation, writing, research, teamwork and quantitative analytical skills.

One of the end results of the project subject will be an individual piece of writing: students will have to combine three studies as a dissertation. Therefore, the reviewer of the dissertation will also be able to assess how much the student has developed over the three years.

The transformation of the dissertation system is a novel initiative, which we have not seen before, not only at Hungarian universities, but also at foreign universities.

Currently, the Applied Economics can be studied in Hungary, in Hungarian only at Corvinus University. "We also felt strongly during the course development process that we have a very big responsibility in how we will think about economics in ten years time.”

The changes are strongly linked to the university’s goal of becoming an internationally recognized institution.

We paid special attention to the fact that the English-language equivalent of Applied Economics, is exactly the same as what we teach Hungarian-speaking students, so the only difference will be the language alone.

The transformation will affect first-year students this year, but successful techniques will also be applied to upper grades. Course development also took into account the needs of employers. "Students need to have mostly problem-solving and quantitative skills, and we can guarantee that."

With the block “Economics Applications” in the training, students are encouraged to use the knowledge they have acquired in the compulsory subjects. “In addition to knowledge, we also try to develop skills. We believe that these are the main ways to help the student find a job in the future.” Graduates can fill a wide range of positions. The area where our students can get a job is very wide.

The students of the university also took part in the transformation of the bachelor's course with their suggestions and remarks. “From the beginning, my project assistant and I have felt that the responsibility and opportunity to participate in professional development is huge and honorable,” - says Viola Beck, who was a project manager for the course development group as a member of the student self-government. As a project manager, I am primarily responsible for bringing the process together and managing it, but we also have, for example, weekly reporting. However, we are very pleased that although the professional side of the project is not primarily our responsibility, but of the teaching colleagues, yet they seek our views and ensure that students ’views are also reflected in the work of the committee.

"Transforming the course involves a lot of work and a lot of responsibility, as students' careers will be determined by what changes we achieve." - says Viola Beck. In her view, the essence of the new curriculum will be practice, and this will make Applied Economics really applicable.

Images: Zsóka Szép, Viktor Bera, Kinga Ressely

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