At the Corvinus University of Budapest, several degree programmes have been renewed and students can expect significant changes in the future as well. Vice-Rector for Education Lajos Szabó spoke to Portfolio about, among other things, why the innovation was needed, what exactly it covered and what the current and future students of the university can expect.
In the year since the transition to the foundation form, significant changes have taken place at the Corvinus University of Budapest. As a result, several degree programmes have been renewed and new degree programmes will be launched in the future. Deputy Rector for Education Lajos Szabó told Portfolio that the changes are closely related to the fact that an important strategic goal of the university is internationalisation: on the one hand they want to continuously increase the number of foreign students and, on the other hand, they want to provide Hungarian students training after which they are perform well in international labour market. In addition, the learning-based approach was the guiding principle in the compilation of the new curricula, i.e. the student performance to be achieved from week to week, from semester to semester, was kept in mind.
“Internationalisation has required us to develop, to change. This was not necessary because something did not work well in the past, but a slightly different operating logic is needed to move on”, he remarked. Currently, the ratio of foreign students at the university who primarily study in Hungary is 7-8 percent, but together with Erasmus students arriving for one semester, the number is already around 10 percent. The aim of the university is to attract more students from the Central and Eastern European region and to provide students knowledge with which they can easily find a job after graduating from the university.
"We asked partners, companies, potential employers of graduate students what they would expect from a student who graduated from a given study programme. We also conducted a survey among our previous students on what their experiences are, what they see as employees that was good in their training, what might have been missing, what they think and what competencies are needed now in the labour market”, the deputy rector explained. Based on this, the approach was reversed in the development of new curricula: instead of defining what to teach, the emphasis was on what the student needs to acquire.
"We put knowledge first, not the teaching process." It is not a question of breaking up the balance between theory and practice, but of teaching theory to be applied in practice, through life-like tasks, examples, said Lajos Szabó.
As the first step, from the autumn of 2020, four study programmes of BCE will start in a renewed form:
- Applied Economics bachelor programme
- International Economics Bachelor Programme
- Economic Analysis master’s programme
- the Executive Master of Business Administration course
The change in International Business Management has affected not only the approach but also the training time and the language of the training: instead of the previous seven semesters, the training will now last eight semesters and can only be completed in English. And the students will spend the extra semester abroad in an organized way, using BCE's international relations and cooperation with partner universities.
The reason for the reform of the Applied Economics and Economic Analysis courses is twofold: “In Hungary, only Corvinus University launches such economics courses, so we have to be up-to-date”, said the Vice-Rector for Education about the renewed courses.
“Modern economic knowledge includes various economic trends, but at the same time it is important that students learn to use it to suit today's requirements - both in Hungarian and English”, he noted. According to the Deputy Rector, the concept of bachelor courses requires a fundamental change.
“In the business field strange fragmentation began in bachelor training with the introduction of Bologna training. There are too many bachelor programmes, we start with too specific courses, and we also receive student feedback that part of the master’s programme is filled with repetitions. Because of this, many people prefer to enter the labour market immediately after their bachelor course.” said Lajos Szabó. That is why the aim of the renewal processes is also to make the undergraduate programmes truly basic, and the master's programmes should provide specialized knowledge. Lajos Szabó emphasized that they are also working hard to shorten the two-year master's programmes to one year.
The expert said there is no disadvantage for students who started earlier in the renewed degree programmes this year, the new methodology will also be introduced in the courses of the senior years, the change of attitude will be felt by all students in the degree programme concerned, including those who are now in their first or second year of the master's degree programme.
The current programme developments are just the beginning of a long process - Corvinus would like to review each study programme later. They are also discussing the launch of further new programmes, as first and unique programmes in Hungary. The Data Science in Business, designed specifically to answer business problems and questions and offered in English only will be introduced as a bachelor programme.
The Philosophy, Politics and Economy (PPE) bachelor degree programme is also expected to start next year, also in English, which will actually give students an integrated, economic, political, philosophical approach.
Corvinus intends to be the first in Hungary to start Political Economics. Although the name of the degree programme is the same as the name of the old subject, its content will be completely new and modern - with one focus on Europe and the other on Central Europe.
A master's degree programme currently under development will be Behavioural Analyst course, where the focus will be on the trio of organizational behaviour - consumer behaviour - social movements. The master's degree programme in International Development is also being developed, the basic concept of which was also embraced by the Hungarian Development Bank, and Corvinus was assured of its support.