Another successful meeting – IBSEN meets XAMK in Kouvola, May 2024

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Every six months, the members of the IBSEN network ( meet to discuss further projects for closer cooperation. IBSEN (The International Business Studies Exchange Network) is an important pillar in the internationalisation strategy of the member universities. These come from 10 different universities: Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences (Germany), University of Cagliari (Italy), University of Valenciennes (France), Izmir University of Economics (Turkey), Asper School of Business (Canada), Indian River State Florida (USA), Prague University of Life Sciences (Czech Republic), Hallym University (S. Korea), The Hague University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands) and of course XAMK – South-Eastern Finland Univeristy of Applied Sciences.

The idea of this network is to do more with selected universities than just normal partners, as each university actually has up to almost 100 partner universities in its portfolio. The number of members of the IBSEN network is limited and there is a “one country, one university strategy”.

Director of Business, Ari Lindeman, welcome the IBSEN partners

The fact that you always meet with the same members every six months ensures that the to-dos are worked through on a sustainable basis. Many of the participants have known each other for years, they grow together and any challenges that arise can be resolved relatively quickly through personal connections.

Student and lecturer exchanges are the minimum level of cooperation within the network. In the meantime, there are double degrees at Bachelor’s and Master’s level, or a joint IBSEN summer school, or currently the implementation of an IBSEN certificate. In addition, many applications for grants in the field of research and teaching are of course discussed at both an EU and national level.

Head of International Services and Education Export, Santeri Koivisto, explains Xamk’s international strategy.

The format is always the same: The meeting lasts 2 days, after an update on the latest events from the campuses, meetings are planned with colleagues and/or students or companies at the host university. Then there are current topics from teaching and research areas which are highlighted in various ways.  Another pillar is the focus on current and future products/services, such as double degree, certificates, summer schools, etc.

At the meeting in Kouvola, after reviewing current news at the different campuses, the upcoming summer school in July 2024 was finally discussed and any remaining questions were clarified. This year it will be organised by The Hague University. This was followed by the results of the working groups. One group had thought about the realignment of IBSEN’s vision and mission. Another group reported on a series of seminars on entrepreneurship (starting winter semester 2024), whereby the member universities can register their lecturers and students. This would be a first example of a certificate of the IBSEN network. As in every meeting, funding possibilities were also discussed, and deadlines agreed.

Content-related inputs from the host university included a keynote speech on the efforts in the field of entrepreneurship, the use of a business game simulation in teaching and a presentation of the student magazine (Insider) of the departments. A workshop and some impulses on the topic of AI from a company and a member of the university rounded off the meeting. 

The exchange in the unofficial formats such as the joint sauna visit after the first meeting day consolidated the fruitful discussions, which led to many great ideas and initiated projects.

As always, the trip was worthwhile, and many to-dos were taken back with us. On behalf of IBSEN, I would like to thank the XAMK organisers, especially Sara, Mia, Hugh and Ari. With your great organisation we had very nice days in Kouvola with many memorable experiences. The preparations for the next meeting in Canada have already begun…

Prof. Dr. Riza Öztürk
Dean Bielefeld School of Business

Text: Riza Öztürk (edited Hugh Clack)
Photos: Hugh Clack