Exporting Business Engineers
The program took off in 2009, and presently has 36 students enrolled. A little more than half of them are from Sweden and the rest are from other countries. All courses are given in English, by teachers from Sweden, Thailand and South Africa.
“We started this program to meet needs in the business community,” says Roy Andersson, director of studies at the School of Engineering at the University of Borås. As the world becomes evermore internationalized, companies need employees that can operate the international market and that have insights into business culture across the globe.”
He says that the course contents have been developed through discussions with the business sphere, and that cooperation with that sphere continues throughout the education.
“That is done through project work and theses. The students also do a lot of group work, which also gives them insights into and knowledge of cultural differences between countries. Since the classmates are from all over the world, they get that kind of knowledge as well.”
A Mix Provides a Whole
The International Business Engineering program of three years is worth 180 ECTS credits. Subjects such as mathematics, economics, quality, logistics and leadership courses, a mix that provides overall knowledge for purchase agents, project managers or logistics staff at international companies.
The program starts with three semesters in Sweden. The fourth semester is at a multicultural university in Thailand, the Asian Institute of Technology, AIT.
“When the students arrive they get picked up at the airport and taken to their living quarters on Campus Bangkok, and international campus that is part of AIT,” says Roy Andersson. They pay for half of their airfare, and a small rental fee for a room at Campus Bangkok, and they get student loans just like in Sweden, since they are still enrolled at the University of Borås.
“AIT is one of the best universities in South Eastern Asia, which of course is a very expansive region. The Swedish business sphere needs people who know the region, and that is part of the learning experience that our students acquire during their education. The university is of high quality and the pace is fast, with focus on the entire region and not just on Thailand.”
Both Swedish and Thai teachers teach at AIT. Cooperation with the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, which has a lot of Swedish member companies, has also been set up. While they are in Thailand, the students are given the opportunity to do summer internships with Swedish companies such as ABB, Volvo and Husqvarna.
Exotic Degree Work
After the semester in Thailand, one semester in Borås is all that remains before a final semester of thesis writing somewhere in the world. Since before, the School of Engineering has cooperation partners in China, Brazil, Cuba, South Africa and Thailand, and is looking for more partners in other places.
Industrial Business Engineering at the University of Borås is one of only a few international engineering programs in Sweden. And it is a popular program. When it started in 2009, there were about 5000 applicants from 80 countries.
“We enroll about 40 students and are looking to achieve a mix where about half are Swedish and half come from other parts of the world. This is an incredibly inspiring educational environment!”