At the centre of the world’s trade and negotiations, the University of Geneva’s quintessential location gives its MBA and Master’s students a first-hand perspective of the subjects found in their textbooks. This is why professors and lecturers at the distinguished university push their students to get out of the classroom and take advantage of the learning opportunities at their doorstep.
In particular, the University’s International Organizations MBA (IOMBA) makes use of the dynamic city that is at the intersection of business and international public affairs. The unique programme is designed to attract promising future managers of international organisations, global non-governmental organisations and trans-national corporations. In turn, the IOMBA faculty have an extensive and international background working in such prestigious institutions.
The IOMBA programme offers 24 modules and a three-month practicum that can be completed in one, two, or three years, reliant on the student’s schedule. The modules are divided into three distinct themes: The Global Context—which includes studies into the United Nation’s strategy and leadership; Business Fundamentals—which looks at emerging markets and international management challenges; and Professional Development—which fosters creative problem solving. Outside of the classroom, students complete 480 hours in a supervised internship with one of Geneva’s renowned institutes, through which they apply the theories learnt in class, develop new skills, and make professional self-assessments. Through the internship, students complete a Master’s Thesis project in collaboration with their host organisation that focuses on the practical relevance of one specific topic or theoretical perspective.
The ideal IOMBA candidate is between 25 and 35 years of age, has at least five years of work experience and has a hunger to learn skills that go beyond ‘business as usual,’ IOMBA professors say.
Likewise, the Executive MBA (EMBA) is structured to ensure that participants gain leadership training through active participation and a corporate executive philosophy. The programme grooms executives with a first-class general management education that works in tandem with students’ on-going careers.
“The programme strives to develop successful and responsible leaders through a real-world learning experience. The professors use materials that come directly from business and help the participants reflect upon learning in the context of their organisations,” says Sebastian Raisch, director of the MBA Programme.
MBA participants are hand picked professionals from diverse industry backgrounds, with an average of 12 years of work experience. The ideal candidate is looking to use their strategic and analytical skills to develop new solutions to problems rather than simply adopt ready-made solutions.
Depending on time constraints, candidates can choose a traditional bi-weekly structure, wherein students meet on alternate weekends, a block structure, or a mix of the two. In a block structure students meet in Geneva for six blocks of three modules and complete six independent virtual courses. In total, participants complete 24 modules in two years.
This new, compressed format allows international students more flexibility when completing courses since they only need to be in Geneva three times per year. After completing the first year of the EMBA programme, students can choose to join the International Management programme—which mirrors a traditional MBA curriculum—or pursue one of the 15 specialisations offered in English or French. Two of those 15 specialisations include Aviation Management and Commodity Trading.
The Aviation Management programme was created to foster tomorrow’s aviation leaders to better comprehend the challenges and growth opportunities in an industry that shows potential of significant volume growth. Considering that the aviation field has endured major challenges such as higher fuel prices and geo-political shocks, the field is ripe for significant volume growth and intelligent people to lead it. The programme combines up-to-date information from Geneva’s own International Air Transport Association (IATA) with a robust curriculum. It offers the opportunity to gain specialized training with full academic accreditation. Like the other University Master’s programmes, the Commodity Trading curriculum benefits markedly by the Geneva location since an estimated 40 percent of all international commodity trading takes place in the city. Nearly 200 businesses in the Geneva canton are directly or indirectly involved in this sector, representing about 5,000 employees. All of these businesses have one thing in common: the need for specialized and recently trained professionals in Geneva. In students’ second year in the programme they have the option to pursue different trajectories in corporate social responsibility, international management, modern management for non-profit organisations, and strategic marketing.
Throughout all of the EMBA programmes, students receive personalized evaluations and feedback from both professors and alumni. Students are assessed through presentations, exams, and a group project studying the student’s current workplace. These projects not only help students develop a sense of camaraderie and learn to collaborate effectively, but also seek to make a recommendation to improve the sponsoring company’s existing practices.
UNIGE’s MBA programmes are unique in that they are mutually beneficial to the student and the business or international organisation. Both profit when the student studies the organisation and brings a fresh eye to its triumphs and challenges.
Article by Paige Baschuk