by Professor Vassilis Papadakis, Vice Rector of International Cooperation and Growth at the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB)
The Athens University of Economics and Business is one of the most extrovert tertiary institution in Greece. Its impressive, for its size, Erasmus program, hosts more than 370 European students every year. To strengthen its international position it has adopted a new extroversion strategy. Professor Vassilis Papadakis, AUEB’s Vice Rector of International Cooperation and Growth explains:
“Our institution has implemented several actions to strengthen its international presence, including the improvement of our undergraduate and postgraduate programs in reputable international ranking bodies (i.e., QS), the achievement of international accreditations (e.g., AMBA, AACSB), the organization of international academic conferences, and the support to the members of our community to publish in high-quality international academic journals.
AUEB was a pioneer in the development of postgraduate programs. Today, AUEB is the undisputed leader in postgraduate studies in the areas of its interest, providing a large number of quality graduate programs, eight of which are offered in English. In this area collaborations are pursued with well-known foreign academic institutions through dual or joint degrees. Only the past few months we have signed into effect two dual degrees.
Collaborating with high-quality international universities is a long term process, which is based on mutual trust and mutual benefits. Through the International Academic Partnership Program, AUEB is in touch with leading US Universities, including Indiana University, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, William and Mary, and Michigan State University among others.
We seek synergies, ranging from low-involvement collaborations, as the one with Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, which involved the collaboration of students of both institutions. Forty-four students at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and the Athens University of Economics and Business participated in a joint case project studying a highly successful Greek business startup, e-satisfaction. The project, conducted virtually, was the inaugural activity of a new formal collaboration between the two business schools. The two schools eventually intend to create student and faculty exchanges and pursue other joint programs.
Similar collaboration projects are under preparation. AUEB aspires to become a European hub for high-profile international universities, hosting and educating their undergraduate and postgraduate students. Such collaborative agreements will eventually lead into agreements of higher commitment, such as joint and dual degrees, joint research programs and collaborations at the PhD level.
From USA to AUEB
In November, AUEB hosted for the first time students from the Executive MBA Programs of William and Mary, one of the most historic US Universities. Known as the “alma mater of a nation”, W&M has produced prominent leaders for well over three centuries, including US Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler, and the founder of M.I.T. William Barton Rogers.
W&M executive MBA students together with students from AUEB’s Executive MBA have visited the OTE group, where a special workshop was organized with the President and CEO of OTE Group, Mr. Michael Tsamaz and eight members of the top management team of the company. The subject of the workshop was OTE’s transformation program of the last decade, as reflected in the Harvard Business School case study.
OTE group was one of the significant parts of the overall visit. W&M students also visited the Ministry of Digital Governance, where Mr. Pierakkakis himself has presented his and his Ministry’s vision to digitally transform the country.
Students also visited the Athens Stock Exchange, Pfizer’s Digital Innovation Centre in Thessaloniki (digitally), Cosco and Apivita. In addition, they had the chance to listen to presentations by Bank of Greece (Dr. Anastasatou), IOBE (Prof. Vettas) and the Greek Entrepreneurial ecosystem (Prof. Pramatari).
Let me stress that students of the Executive MBA Programs of William and Mary as well as AUEB are mature professionals with an average age of around 39 and significant working experience. Some of them are Vice Presidents or heads of departments.
One of the participating W&M students, Mrs. Kaarta Maron Chief of Staff at Windpact, described the whole experience with the following words: “I just returned from Greece and a week-long Global Immersion that is part of the Executive MBA Program at William & Mary. Without a doubt, this experience was one of the most eye-opening, educational, and productive trips I have ever been associated with. I come away from this trip with a much deeper understanding and appreciation of Greece, the history of the country, the state of business, and the wonderful people who live and work there. Thank you for your hospitality. Thank you –ευχαριστώ– efcharisto!”
In its latest 2021 ranking, the US News & World Report (that publishes independent rankings in Education, among other sectors) ranked AUEB in the 218 position globally in the field of “Economics and Business” for 2022. AUEB is the only Greek university ranked by US News, and that makes us very proud for the quality of our colleagues.
Moreover, in the annual ranking of Universities by the international rating agency Round University Rankings (RUR) for 2021, AUEB is for another year in the 1st place among the respective Greek Universities in the field of Social Sciences. It should be noted that it is the only Greek Institution in the “Copper League” category. 20 evaluation criteria were used to form the ranking of the University, which are divided into the following areas: teaching, research, international diversity and economic viability. RUR collects data from “Clarivate Analytics”, which conducts research on the academic reputation of Universities and collects data from different research databases (Web of Science, Scopus, Google Scholar etc) and Universities.
Over the past few months we have signed into effect two dual degrees with one Italian and one French University (Pavia and EDHEC). These dual degrees bring together two of our postgraduate programs with the respective programs of the two foreign universities. AUEB students are given the opportunity to spend some time abroad in the collaborating institutions and get two degrees. We believe that this will not only attract more students from abroad to our eight postgraduate programs offered in English, but also will offer our students a unique experience studying in Greece and abroad at the same time.”
The article is published in the November/December 2021 of Greek Business File, available here.