How to avoid formalities at universities that deter educators from business sector: The Case of Poland

One of the barriers that discourage practitioners from cooperating with universities is their formalistic approach. What the business is used to do ad hoc, often takes months at the HEI. The decision chain is long and the HEIs employees are accustomed to planning the activities well in advance. From the other hand, the need to prepare a syllabus and conclude a contract, are often a barrier for practitioners who want to cooperate with universities. In Poland we still look for balance between formalistic and practical approach to education. The obvious need for supervision and quality assurance does not go hand in hand with an elastic approach.
In that regard, Modern Business Management (MBM) initiative is an institutionalized solution that allows smooth cooperation of business representatives (practitioners) with universities. The MBM Programme has been established on the initiative of the Polish Bank Association ZBP and at present it is implemented in 122 Polish universities and academies. The programme covers the entire Poland and ensures access to thousands of students and academic teachers.

Meetings with experts are organized at universities, during regular classes. The transferred knowledge is closely related to the curriculum; selection of the subject depends on the interest of students, an academic who conduct specific classes, and the university authorities. MBM was design to solve the problem related to substantive cooperation with experts from outside the HEIs. MBM assumes formal duties related to the development of the syllabus, reporting and free acquisition of experts. Moreover organizes evaluation of classes. These were and are the main barriers of cooperation between practitioners and universities. Program helps to avoid them.
Cooperation with universities is carried out cyclically. Due to the very good relations and high substantive evaluation of the classes, many MBM experts are invited by the universities to co-create the curriculum and assess the already developed syllabuses in order to increase the practical aspects of the transferred knowledge.

Who are the MBM trainers?

Trainers are mostly employees of banks, business information offices, but also Polish Social Insurance Institution. Institutional patron is Ministry of Science and Higher Education. MBM trainers are people in practice dealing with the widely understood financial market – provide their knowledge during regular classes.
How does it work?

MBM is preparing the product – lecture, and provide all documents required by the HEIs. Everything is prepared in cooperation with the trainer and coordinator of the Program on the HEIs. That allows to meet the formal requirements of the university and relieve the coach from formal duties. The university reports to the MBM and the parties set the date of the lecture and its subject matter (several modules are available).
Why it is important?

The aim of the program is to popularize knowledge of economics and entrepreneurship among students. MBM is not limited to universities with focus on economy, it is open to HEIs with a humanistic, biological and technical profile. In those areas there is often a deficit of basic economic knowledge. Starting own company can be a way to avoid unemployment (humanities and arts profiles) or market necessity (IT, architecture sector).

More and more often non-sectoral related institutions with finance and management introduce elements of entrepreneurship and economics to their education programs as a way to increase employment among graduates. Often, the MBM staff are asked to help in creating the topics and obtaining lecturers.

Cui bono?

Thanks to the mass and repeatability, MBM created a common and cheap tool for increasing students’ knowledge on the practical aspects of the functioning of the financial market and setting up and running a business.
HEIs receives access to a ready, tested product and an experienced trainer – a practitioner. This is extremely important especially in HEIs that do not have the right staff to conduct classes on such subjects or are located at a considerable distance from business centres.

The program implements one of the statutory goals of the ZBP – education about the financial system. The program is a missionary activity and is located in the CSR activities of Polish banks operating through their Association.

Last, but not the least, the beneficiaries are the students who have a unique opportunity to meet with practitioners and specialists who are able to explain the market mechanisms in a very accessible way, for we need every conscious citizen to function in the market economy.

If you want to know more about MBM, visit the http://nzb.pl/en/

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May 22, 2019

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