The 10th edition of the Master of Science in International Business (MScIB) reaches its final stages with a recognition for its quality and achievements: the AMBA accreditation for MBMs (Master’s in Business Management).
The AMBA accreditation –a seal conferred by the International Association of Masters in Business Administration– represents the culmination of the tenth anniversary of the MScIB and requires not only a celebration acknowledging its main contributors but also reflecting on the origin, challenges, advances, and our vision for the future of the program.
Grounded on the existing master’s and postgraduate programs that ESCI-UPF was offering, the project to create an official master’s degree to capacitate recently graduated students for middle-managerial positions in International Business initiated well before 2 years of its launching. In the design phase of the master’s, we devoted time and efforts to gather insights from companies, public administrations, our alumni and faculty, as well as benchmarked with the best reputed international programs to capture needs and expectations and to formulate a value proposition that was an adequate fit. A year after, we joined forces with the recently created UPF Barcelona School of Management (former IDEC). We mutually designed the operations and communication strategy as well as a common quality assurance mechanism. Finally, once the officialization of the program was approved, we integrated it into the UPF BSM MSc portfolio, coordinated by the Department of Business and Economics of the UPF.
The program was launched in the 2012-13 academic year with 30 students from 18 different nationalities, an average age of 24 years, and a vast diversity of backgrounds. Since then, the size of the group and student profile hasn’t diverged much. We have kept the group below 40 students, the percentage of local students has remained under 20%, and there has been a balance between students coming from economics/business and those coming from other disciplines – including a diversity of social sciences, life sciences, and engineering.
Despite the challenge it represents to manage academically, the heterogeneity of the group of students that the master gathers is amongst the essential success factors of the program. Such a contrasting group is key to work on the competences that are required to succeed in today’s changing business environment. Adaptability, intercultural communication, and comprehension of different views to interpret international socio-political events are as necessary assets as mastering the techniques for managing business strategy and operations in domains such as marketing, finance, or logistics.
ANECA revalidated the officiality of the title and accredited it in 2017 by recognizing its proven ability to professionally prepare its participants. This was achieved after an exhaustive evaluation of the program to which we devoted intensive months of work. To sustain its quality standards, we have kept vigilant along the different editions of the master to ensure that the courses cover the most recent business trends, incorporating insights on technological and digital developments, reviewing emerging sectors and industries, incorporating sustainability concerns, and maintaining courses up to speed to breaking international events, by adapting the syllabi to the needs of international companies. Moreover, we have had to do some additional unforeseen adaptations due to the pandemic, as classes and even the international week were necessarily temporarily realized on a hybrid format. All these challenges have made the program grow and ultimately deliver. Proof of it is the plethora of alumni, totalling 264, that are nowadays working in middle and top managerial positions of reputed multinational firms.
It is the constant adaptation and search for quality of the program which has deserved the AMBA accreditation the year we reach the 10th edition of the MScIB. In my opinion, together with that of the participants, the merit primarily goes to the excellent faculty team we have formed. Present and past professors deserve my deepest gratitude for having made the academic direction of the program an enjoyable and enriching job.
Hoping not to leave any out, here goes the list of professors that have taught in the program (in alphabetical order): José Miguel Aliaga, Mireia Artigot, Josep Luís Aznar, Daniel Batlle, Eduard Beltran, Jaume Bonet, Valentí Camps, Clàudia Canals, Oriol Castells, George Chondrakis, Andy Coles, Rosa Colomé, David Cosculluela, Carlos Cotos, Carlos Gabarró, Santiago García-Milà, Jordi Garolera, Elena Golovko, Casilda Güell, Manel Guerris, Andrew Ivchenko, Christophe Marquet, Federica Massa, Jorge Mongay, Lluís Mosella, Alexandre Muns, Ezequiel Navarro, Estíbalitz Ortiz, Roger Pagà, Luz Parrondo, Joan Pere Plaza, Tomislav Rimac, Mercè Roca, Ernesto Rodríguez, Cristina Tomàs, Ramon Xifré, Toni de Weest Prat.
Nonetheless, it is imperative to mention that our academic work would not have been possible, nor so enjoyable, without the commitment of the great line-up of program managers, advisors, IT managers, career service, quality technicians, and communication teams at both the UPF BSM and ESCI-UPF. Naming the administration and services’ staff that has contributed to the program in one way or another would be an impossible endeavour as everyone at both schools as well as at the UPF itself has at some point been of essential help. To all, for their tireless work, the program owes gratitude and appreciation.
Ultimately, our students, alumni, and the companies that give them the opportunity to put the gained skills into practice and professionally develop are our raison d’être. I believe that the program has outstanding prospects, as well as I know that the academic direction of the Master of Science in International Business will remain a challenging venture. The world’s complexity and interconnectedness don’t cease to increase and thus the need for educational programs to adapt and form professionals that are up to the defiance. Our aim for the coming editions is to keep improving the program, ensuring it provides education of the highest quality that capacitates the future business leaders with the competences, skills, and values that international companies and society as whole demand.