Partnerships are at the heart of the School of Management Fribourg (HEG-Fr). As part of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO), it is a key player in the ambitious project to overhaul and adapt vocational training launched by the Swiss federal government in 1998 and a member of a large network of universities, private companies and public administration. HEG-Fr works in partnership with regional and national Swiss higher education institutions and has also developed close links with institutions in Europe, north and South America, Asia and Australia. Founded in 1991, HEG-Fr has developed significantly over the years and offers training programmes leading to bachelors and masters degrees as well as executive education.
On the Executive Master of Business Administration – Integrated Management (EMBA), partnerships begin with the application process, which asks employers to confirm their support for prospective students. “Most of the students have financial support,” notes Eric Décosterd, the course director, “but they may also have been given a problem to solve from their own workplace. It’s also important for employers to be willing to respond to student surveys –it’s not always easy for students to get access to information.” HEG-Fr works closely with employers from different sectors, such as Groupe-E in Fribourg, a major electricity supplier for the cantons of Fribourg and Neuchatel, and the Raiffeisen Bank, which is the third largest banking group in Switzerland. “One employer has decided to send all their middle managers on the EMBA in order to guarantee managerial cohesion within the group,” adds Eric Décosterd. Students on the EMBA are typically aged between 30 and 45 years old and come from the different sectors of industry, government and administration. “25% of the students have an economics background, 50% are from engineering plus we are committed to accepting 25% on the basis of their work experience,” emphasises the course director.
The two-year part-time EMBA programme covers five modules and focuses in particular on innovation, addressing environmental change and risk management, culminating in the key final module The Integrated Manager, which enables students to apply their competencies to a series of integrated case studies. All the students are required to be proficient in French, German and English as one unique aspect of the course is that it is taught in all three languages: the EMBA at HEG-Fr is the only trilingual executive MBA programme in Switzerland. The course also includes the exceptional opportunity of a two-week stay in China or United States, organised with a partner institution. “The students from Switzerland and the foreign students are mixed together as part of the international experience,” points out Eric Décosterd. This year the class will go to China, where lectures will be combined with visits to companies in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.
The international experience provided by the EMBA is also enhanced by a joint summer school with students from the prestigious EGADE Business School at Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (TEC Monterrey). The two-week programme is held in August and focuses on the areas of leadership and innovation, with a strong practical orientation, including a whole day of company visits. The summer school is taught in English and is designed to give students from Mexico and Switzerland the intercultural opportunity of working together on projects.
The School of Management Fribourg also runs two open enrolment summer schools as part of their international programme, one at postgraduate level and one for undergraduate students.
In June, a two-week summer school on entrepreneurship and innovation gives masters students from other countries the opportunity to study Swiss national companies and multinational companies based in Switzerland and acquire the knowledge and tools needed to undertake entrepreneurial activities in an international environment.
A further one-month programme for undergraduate students runs from June to July, made up of a module on financial management followed by an introduction to entrepreneurship and presented through a varied programme of guest lectures, company visits and case studies. Both summer schools offer guaranteed credit at students’ home institutions due to the bilateral partnership agreements that HEG-Fr has established.
Faculty exchanges are also part of HEG-Fr’s philosophy of partnership, with participating lecturers from institutions such as Grenoble École de Management and HEC Montreal. The aim of these exchanges is to provide education which responds to international standards and develop international projects. Partnerships with the local community are also important and a key aspect of HEG-Fr’s mission is to maintain close relationships with employers in order to meet their needs for education and training. “Companies come to us with suggestions,” says Eric Décosterd, “For example, we opened a Certificate in Advanced Studies in supply chain management at a company’s request.” Designing and offering innovative courses tailored to specific requirements is another aspect of HEG-Fr’s mission to provide high quality continuing education through building on partnerships.
For more information visit: http://www.heg-fr.ch/EN/Pages/School-of-Management-Fribourg.aspx