The Slovenia Times

Slovenia as a learning laboratory?



This made me think about Slovenia. What is the unique value that we can offer potential graduates to set them up for success that goes beyond "generic" business education? How different is Harvard beyond the asymmetry in resources, supporting infrastructure and the esteemed brand? I am convinced Slovenia has the potential to be the leading CEE learning hub, as identified by the award-winning documentary film maker, Michael Moore, in his film "Where to invade next" in which he was captivated by Slovenia's education system.
Other than their obvious differences, both the Faculty of Economics and Harvard Business School share one important essential element in common: internationalisation, not just any kind of internationalisation, but a specific type which I call "mosaic internationalisation". Contrary to renowned UK, German or French business schools, when I enter my English class in Slovenia to teach "How to do business with China?", I have 55 students from 22 countries and 5 continents. This means only two or three students from the same country. When teaching at a top German and UK school, almost half of my international students were Chinese, a quarter Indian and the rest a mixture of Western European students. A very different kind of internationalisation where each clique simply sticks together.
Like Harvard, the education process in our flagship English track at the Faculty of Economics forces students to interact cross-culturally and to network. It becomes a matter of sink or swim and so builds important cross-cultural skills ranging from communication and time management to conflict resolution and even differences in creativity. To further facilitate better team work and avoid the typical divide-and-glue-together approach, I assign my students videos instead of written works. Think about it: how often does your boss have time to read a 40-page report? Videos have unleashed unimaginable creativity and teamwork. One company that has recognised the value of this is Akrapovič which has engaged our students in helping it to be more successful in the Chinese market - I don't know who was more enthusiastic and had learned more by the end: the students or the company? Working on cases is a further similarity to Harvard.
Slovenia's educational potential lies in its environment and unique mosaic internationalisation. Its geo-strategic position in Europe also offers students the opportunity to discover Europe through short trips. As an old Chinese saying goes: it is better to travel 10,000 miles than read 10,000 books. By studying in Slovenia this can be achieved through both inward and outward internationalisation at a fraction of the Harvard tuition fee. Yes, there is a difference, but does the difference in cost reflect that value if you want to live, work and study in Europe?


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