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"Truly International" Is Still Our Motto

Two guest lecturers speak about their experiences of an international semester online at ESB Business School.

Roy Mouawad from the Geneva Business School in Barcelona taught in the programme MBA International Management Part-Time last winter semester.

Konstantin Kostin from the Saint-Petersburg State University for Economics (UNECON) taught in the programme MBA International Management Part-Time last winter semester.

By Heike Trost and Sven Rottner

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, ESB Business School is still focusing on its international orientation. Earlier this year, Konstantin Kostin from Saint Petersburg and Roy Mouawad from Barcelona taught in the MBA International Management Part-Time programme. In this interview, they speak about the benefits of online lectures and their special motivation to teach at ESB Business School.

What makes it so special for you to teach at ESB Business School?

Konstantin Kostin: Teaching at ESB Business School is, in fact, always a two-way street. I also learn from the students and this is what makes the process especially rewarding.

Roy Mouawad: At ESB Business School, students‘ backgrounds are rich and diverse, something which enriches the classroom interactions and learning experience. In the MBA International Management Part-Time, especially, many students are employed in top-notch companies and bring valuable contributions to the classroom.

What didactic adjustments were necessary to teach in a digital environment? Have the challenges faced in teaching increased?

Mouawad: Teaching in a digital environment requires additional focus on student engagement. In many cases, course delivery had to be adapted to make the experience more interactive. I regularly use breakout rooms where students work together on a specific task or debate on a specific topic. So communication flows in various directions, and not just between the student and the teacher.

Kostin: Especially for students, online teaching may be more beneficial. Actually, it puts more “pressure” on the professor, who can cover more material in the digital form, and hence, should spend more time on preparing the online sessions. The only drawback is the lack of physical presence, but from the standpoint of efficiency and effectiveness, online teaching is even better in some ways.

What do you think motivates a visiting student to attend courses at ESB Business School in the current situation?

Kostin: The beauty is that you could be thousands of miles away, but at the same time you are “very together”. It is wonderful to see that students from remote destinations can join the programme without worrying about crossing borders, finding accommodation and about other factors which require time, money and effort.

How do you as teachers achieve maximum interaction in your courses? How do international guest students perceive the digital learning environment?

Mouawad: I regularly open the floor for questions and discussions. I also incorporate diverse activities into the course delivery such as quizzes, debates and role plays. Student engagement skyrockets when the digital environment is safe, respectful and fun.

Kostin: Approached in the right way, a certain sense of humor can make online teaching much more interactive and productive. After all, you have to love what you do and be very passionate about it.

Thank you very much for the interview.

Konstantin Kostin teaches at Saint-Petersburg State University of Economics (UNECON). In the previous weeks, he has taught Business Development in the MBA Part-Time programme for the third time.

Roy Mouawad teaches at Geneva Business School, Barcelona, and has supported the MBA International Management Part-Time for many years. He has also come up with a number of ideas to leverage the digital teaching environment for his subject Leadership and Developing People.