8 June 2021. "The global pandemic has had a major impact on international student exchanges. A normalisation is probably not yet to be expected in the autumn semester of 2021," says Peggy van der Wallen, Head of Student Mobility Services at the HSG. In order to offer students an additional opportunity for international exchange, eight European business schools, including the University of St.Gallen (HSG), have founded the "European Common Online Learning" (ECOL) network. Within the framework of ECOL, credit-bearing online elective courses are provided that students from all participating universities can take. The courses are designed specifically for online teaching according to innovative pedagogical approaches. In addition to the development of subject-specific skills, the focus is also on intercultural skills and international exchange, for example in the context of team projects.
Broad range of courses
The courses are aimed at Bachelor students and will be available from the autumn semester 2021. The HSG offers the following courses as part of the ECOL programme: Poverty Alleviation, International Water Governance, Business, Culture & Ethics, Strategic Forsight, International Management and Management in the Digital Economy. "We are pleased to be able to make this offer to our students together with high-calibre partners," says Ulrich Schmid, Vice-President External Relations at the HSG. "We are convinced that the offer will also be very well received by our partners."
Cooperation between leading European business schools
The founding of ECOL was preceded by various bi- and trilateral initiatives by the participating universities. A pilot at HSG in the autumn semester 2020 was very successful and the continuation of corresponding courses in the spring semester 2021 were also evaluated very positively by the students involved. "Particularly students who work part-time appreciated the offer. They were able to gain international experience at an HSG partner university despite having a job in Switzerland. Among other things, we were able to address those students with an exchange offer for whom a physical exchange was never an issue," says Felicitas Strittmatter, Programme Manager ECOL.
The eight founding members of ECOL are among the leading business schools in Europe and belong to the CEMS and PIM alliances: Aalto University School of Business (Finland); Bocconi University (Italy); Copenhagen Business School (Denmark); Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (Netherlands); Esade Business School (Spain); HEC Paris (France); University of St.Gallen (Switzerland) and WU Wien (Austria).