INTERVIEW WITH PROF. DR. MEYER ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS DEGREE PROGRAMME

The third new class of the B.Sc. in International Business has joined H-BRS for the 2019/20 winter semester. Lectures are held in English and rotate each semester between Sankt Augustin and Rheinbach. 126 students are enrolled in the programme, 32 percent of whom are international students. Out of all applicants, only 45 students are admitted to the programme every year. The following interview was conducted on 23 October 2019 with Prof. Dr. Ralf Meyer, who took over the International Business programme on 01 August 2019. Lena Rosenberg, a student at the Department of Management Sciences, conducted the interview.

Lena Rosenberg:
You've been not just leading the International Business programme since 01 August 2019 but also hold your own classes in this programme. Which courses are you offering in the 2019/20 winter semester?

Prof. Dr. Meyer:
I'm teaching Principles of Accounting in the first semester and Finance and International Financial Accounting/Taxation in the third. I also offer the complementary Practice Project Ghana in the third-semester and the elective Research in Accounting and Finance in the fifth.

Lena Rosenberg:
Not all students are native speakers of English. Is everyone able to follow your classes in English? Did you have to adapt your teaching style to our university's international environment?

Prof. Dr. Meyer:
Our international students generally have a very high level and choose English-language programmes on purpose.
Our discussions in English are all very interactive. Students want to relate their lectures to the wider world and understand cultural aspects. So one way we try to offer tangible intercultural experiences in our International Business classes is by inviting visiting lecturers from our partner universities.

Lena Rosenberg:
What do you think is the best way students can benefit from the so-called mobility window, which extends across three semesters (5th, 6th and/or 7th)?

Prof. Dr. Meyer:
Since we're still developing the programme, we don't yet have much experience to draw from. I think students should spend their 5th semester abroad at one of our department's many partner universities to improve their second foreign language. Students should also make sure the partner university they choose offers their second specialisation. Then, in the 6th semester, students should do their internship abroad or with an international company to take full advantage of our programme's international orientation. In the 7th semester, students can then do their final thesis with an international company or one of our partner universities.

Lena Rosenberg:
What career opportunities do you see for our International Business graduates? Which fields will they be working in?

Prof. Dr. Meyer:
As we don't have any graduates yet, that's hard to say right now. However, it is clear that languages and intercultural skills are gaining importance and can boost careers. Our graduates can easily navigate international environments. That's great, since more and more German companies are going global. So our students’ prospects can be seen as very favourable, since there's a high demand for their academic and intercultural skills on the labour market.

Lena Rosenberg:
What is your vision for the International Business programme?

Prof. Dr. Meyer:
Our current goal is to produce the first class of graduates. Once that's done, we can think about how to develop the programme.
We're very happy with the market's response to our programme. Application numbers are high and rising. What is more, the German Rectors' Conference has featured our programme as one of ten English-language programmes in Germany in their HRK-EXPERTISE Manual. Prof. Dr. Wiesehahn and Mr. Görres deserve particular credit for this positive response. Their great work has laid the foundation for the programme's success. Our programme is an integral part of the department and contributes to its international appeal.
What we can say about the future is that we would like to increase teaching capacity by integrating more visiting researchers and making sure that lectures and thesis supervisions flow smoothly.

Lena Rosenberg:
Do you have a closing anecdote from the programme?

Prof. Dr. Meyer:
In one session, I told students that good time management is essential to professional and private success. In other words, that they should waste as little time as possible. One student from India replied that Hindus believe that you have infinite lives and therefore infinite time to get things done. Her comment made me think, since it shows how cultural aspects can influence our view of everyday issues. In these cases, you have to think about finding a common denominator. These differences are what make the programme so interesting.

We thank Prof. Dr. Meyer for the interesting interview!

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