“Jana Péliová, PhD – a Vice Rector for Managing International Projects and an associate professor at the finance department at the Economic University of Bratislava.
Jana Péliová is confident that a modern school has to be international, so she supports the Penta Scholarship keenly. Ms. Péliová was kind enough to talk with us about her institution, regional trends in economic education, and why the EUBA graduates are of a great demand on the labor market”.
Ms. Péliová, thank you so much for you time. To begin with, we know that you were directly involved into establishing the International Finance program at the EUBA. Would you kindly tell us more about the program? What are the highlights of International Finance?
International Finance is an English-led Master’s program at our university. Starting with the most interesting part – our students are granted a chance to get a double-degree with Nottingham-Trent University in the UK. Understandably, this is not a common feature in the Central Europe, let alone Slovakia.
Considering the content saturation of the program, we are combining the financial studies (courses like International Finance, Capital Structure) with advanced disciplines from the international economics area (monetary policy of ECB, international taxation). In order to lecture those disciplines we try to bring as many international faculty members into the program as possible.
Why would you feel passionately about the international finance?
Today’s globalized economy may challenge us with its variety and all the peculiar aspects to consider in order to compete efficiently. But it seems that a common denominator in the modern world is International Finance. So we understand the value of knowledge in the area of International Finance, the value of a complex understanding of the global insights.
Finance is a very progressive academic field. Although there are conservative approaches to the subject, many new ones emerge constantly. So just yesterday Richard H. Thaler was awarded with the Nobel Prize in economics for his pioneering works in behavioral finance (by the way, I have his book “Nudge” autographed by the author himself :).
How would you characterize the EUBA in terms of prestige? Is it hard to get here?
EUBA is the biggest traditional educational institution in the field of economics and business management in Slovakia. Still, the demand for our education outweighs our capabilities, so we remain selective in terms of acceptance.
Putting things into the business context: the product of a study program is a graduate. I have to say that our graduates are the most wanted – so this may be considered as prestige. Recent labor market surveys certify that our students belong to the best graduates on the market. So for us it’s easy to “sell our product”.
So the EUBA’s students are of a great demand. Does the faculty contribute to the employment of students in any way? Does it cooperate with any institutions?
But of course. We are a member of business-academic committee at AmCham, we’re also involved in other dedicated professional networks and organizations.
Attractiveness of Slovak labor environment has improved dramatically. Our positions in the area of shared financial services are strong with a growing number of vacancies in IBM, Lenovo, Dell, Accenture, Swiss Re, and other big internationals. Given the demand for the professionals in finance, it isn’t that hard to find a job.
More practically, the university offers information about available vacancies at our career office; we hold career fairs regularly; we also offer specific courses for the students to succeed on the labor market (like “Interview Simulation”). Most of our students work part-time – so they graduate being even more experienced. As I’ve said, we have a high value product.
How does the EUBA compare to other schools in the region?
We are competitive in all aspects: in respect to quality of research, in respect to variety of study programs; we are an example of a good practice in Erasmus + and other academic exchanges.
We have many colleagues in the region: Poland – Warsaw School of Economics, economic universities in Krakow, Wroclaw, Poznan, and other cities; our big partner in Austria – Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien to which we are similar structurally; in Czech Republic we have connections with the University of Economics in Prague; in Hungary – Corvinus University of Budapest, which is also quite strong.
Do you have many foreign students studying in the EUBA? What is their geography?
The EUBA is closely involved into Erasmus programs; we do have 400 students coming every year from the EU, mostly from France, Germany and Spain. We are involved into CEEPUS, which is a central European network for academic mobility. Of course, as a university we do have bilateral agreements with several institutions mostly outside the EU. For instance, we maintain a big exchange program with Mexican Technologico de Monterrey providing us 30-60 students annually. We do have joint degrees with the Asian University – there are always several students from Thailand.
We are working on improving our cooperation with Chinese and African universities: currently there are 4 students studying from China as well as several students from Kenya and South Africa. Of course, we always have several students from Ukraine and Russia.
I think that economics and business management are the areas suitable for studying abroad, because basic economic principles do hold in every country, in every region. Students do not need to make much effort, when they move from one country to another.
Are there many Ukrainian students at the EUBA?
One of our faculties is located in Kosice. So geographically, there are a bit more Ukrainian students there, studying in Slovak. Usually they are from the Zakarpattia region. In Bratislava, we also have several Ukrainian students; most of them are studying international relations.
Of course, we would appreciate a higher number of Ukrainian students. So far, our neighbors – Poland for instance, – are much more aggressive in presenting themselves to Ukraine; and to the whole post-USSR really. I’ve been to Astana once and a taxi driver there told me that his son is studying engineering in Kielce, Poland:
– How could you possibly come across this small polytechnic institute in Kielce from Kazakhstan?!
– So there was an agent, – the taxi driver said, – marketing the school.
If you would have a chance to address the Ukrainian students directly, what would you tell them?
It is very important to “leave the family nest” if you are willing to broaden your horizon and expand your opportunities for the future career. EUBA is offering high-quality study programs with a personal approach to each foreign student, we do offer support and we are willing to host international students.
Slovakia belongs to one of the safest countries in the region. So if you want to study peacefully in a nice country, in a beautiful city, having opportunities to travel – come to Bratislava.
Note that Slovakia has a project called National Scholarship program – students from abroad may apply for a short-term exchange to Slovakia. If you’re a Bachelor student and you don’t know yet if you want to study in Slovakia or not, – you may apply for the international scholarship and test the school.