How the Geneva Business School Stays Agile in the Digital Age

Dr. Steven Mallon and Dr. Roy Mouawad

Executive Dean and Professor at the Geneva Business School

September 17, 2019

Europe’s Geneva Business School (GBS) is a forward-thinking business school for the world’s future leaders. We are one of the few MBA programs that starts with design thinking and lean thinking as our core set of ideas, while most traditional MBA programs focus on business skills like management, accounting, and finance. At Geneva Business School, we’re taking a different approach. Our goal is to help students learn to think differently, listen to different perspectives, and be more efficient on how they create customer value. Design thinking is a human-centric approach to problem-solving that puts the customer at the centre of everything. Lean thinking takes it to another level by maximising value for customers while minimising waste and using fewer resources in the process.

We have campuses in Geneva, Switzerland, Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, various centers in Kazakhstan, and a new center in Myanmar. Our class sizes are intentionally small, generally with no more than 25 people in them. We offer both undergraduate and graduate-level degrees. We aren’t trying to be really big, but we are trying to be really good. We want to give students an amazing experience that questions their assumptions and ultimately helps them think out of the box.

As our President, Professor Francis Kahn says, “Geneva Business School is all about quality. We want our students to learn in quality environments, with quality professors, and to participate in quality programs. At the end of their time with GBS we want 100% of our students to recommend us to their friends who might be wondering what to do with their lives. If they choose GBS, they won’t regret it!”

We see the business school experience as a holistic process. Rather than breaking all our business school topics into individual components, we connect one topic to another. That’s a key differentiator of our program. For example, when students are studying Design Thinking and Lean Thinking, they do them in tandem. This allows them to see the connections between the two concepts and enables our students to integrate them when solving a business problem. We do that with all of our courses at the Master’s degree level.

Udemy for Business helps us be more agile

In our era of rapidly evolving change, universities often struggle to keep pace with change. When new technologies disrupt businesses (think data science and artificial intelligence), universities have to play catch-up to provide training for today’s latest technologies. This often means hiring the right instructors or building new classrooms—and it can be a slow and costly process to meet growing student and industry demand. 

Universities need to become more agile to stay relevant in today’s fast-paced world. Udemy for Business helps Geneva Business School be more agile by offering continually updated online content on the latest skills in real-time. If there is a new technology release or trend, we can quickly tap into the world’s leading experts on Udemy for Business to enrich our curriculum. Find out how Udemy for Business can help your training be more agile and keep pace with change.

At Geneva Business School, we offer the best of both classroom and online learning by integrating Udemy for Business into our blended learning curriculum facilitated by our professors. Our professors don’t have to be experts on every topic. Instead, they can lean on Udemy for Business to complement their curriculum. Moreover, we have over 80 nationalities on our campuses and our faculty hail from diverse backgrounds. Udemy instructors come from all over the world, and this helps strengthen our status as an international university for the next generation of global business leaders.

An agile, blended learning program 

Our faculty design our 12-week blended learning courses by integrating pre-session online lectures on Udemy for Business with in-classroom discussion and project-based activities. For example, prior to class, professors will assign a few online lectures on Udemy for Business on the course topic like project management or design thinking. When students come to class, they don’t passively listen to a lecture. Instead, they discuss what they learned online with their peers, facilitated by the professor. They also break into small groups and focus on real-life exercises, so they can apply their skills. It’s active and social learning at its best. Download Reimagining Blended Learning Experiences: 8 Best Practices from Leading Companies.

Udemy for Business’ online courses are also available to all students to take on their own as well. To motivate students, we provide extra academic credit or an additional grade bump for those that enroll in Udemy for Business courses online. While working on their MBA, we wanted to offer an opportunity for students to gain micro-credentials or additional certifications through online learning whether it’s in lean management, data science, or public speaking.

In terms of success metrics, the engagement level on Udemy for Business is high. When students arrive on campus, they are happily surprised to learn they have access to online learning anytime on any subject. It’s an extra bonus for their business school education with us. Our faculty members also have the entire catalogue available for their own enrichment as well.

Training students with real skills to contribute on Day 1

Our philosophy is to equip students with real-world practical skills, so they can contribute on the job on Day 1. For example, we teach them and regularly use popular digital tools in the workplace to enable our students to seamlessly enter the workforce. Udemy for Business’ practical and applied skills taught by industry experts is also a critical component of preparing our students to excel in the workplace on Day 1. 

We want our students to be well versed in both the hard and soft skills needed to succeed at work. For example, a popular Udemy course with our students is Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence. Our students can dive into the EQ topic in a deeper way on their own time on Udemy. The winning ingredient? Udemy for Business courses are designed for business people in the workplace to learn and apply their skills right away to solve problems on the job. This helps add a real-world element to our business school curriculum. Find out how Udemy for Business can enhance your school’s curriculum.

About the author:

Dr. Steven Mallon is Executive Dean at Geneva Business School, responsible for developing the academic program for GBS campuses. He has been involved in education for over 35 years and is enjoying the new wave of digital tools that are disrupting the higher education scene.

Dr. Roy Mouawad is Academic Dean at the Barcelona Campus of Geneva Business School. He is a PhD graduate from ESADE in Barcelona, has published several academic papers, and has taught in a number of prestigious academic institutions.

Geneva Business School is a Swiss business school that was originally established in 1995. Its vision is to be a 21st century education institution that contributes to the development of a sustainable society. It offers students a practical business education that aims to develop their leadership skills to help them find success as entrepreneurs or in the workplace.

About Udemy for Business:

Udemy for Business is a learning platform that helps companies stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing workplace by offering fresh, relevant on-demand learning content, curated from the Udemy marketplace. Our mission is to help employees do whatever comes next—whether that’s the next project to do, skill to learn, or role to master. We’d love to partner with you on your employee development needs. Get in touch with us at business@udemy.com

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