Botevgrad International Business School – IBS, Vice-Rector
Professor Teodora Georgieva is a vice-rector at the International Business School in Botevgrad, Bulgaria, which was founded in 1992. The school offers bachelor, master and doctoral degree programmes in business, as well as VET education. Their Centre for Continuing Education offers specialised and practice-oriented training in the form of programmes, courses, seminars, teamwork and individual consultations. The aim of this training is to increase the competencies of managers in the private and the public sector and to broaden and build on the professional qualifications and individual skills of people of all ages who wish to acquire new knowledge and skills.
Project team: How do you personally understand the term ‘Europeanisation’ and how do you envisage it being implemented in your organisation?
Prof. Teodora Georgieva: For me, Europeanisation is the process of acquiring European values. For IBS, Europeanisation is the process of adopting the highest European educational and training standards and transferring the best educational practices.
Project team: Does your organisation carry out any European or international work already?
Prof. Teodora Georgieva: IBS has adopted the ECTS and studies the best practices within higher education and continuous learning. Our educational curricula and teaching methods follow the good examples of partners within the European educational area. Since it was founded, the school has set up effective educational and training exchanges with high schools and VET centres in Denmark, Netherlands and the USA. It has received financial support from the PHARE programme and has recently participated in projects under the cross-border and transnational cooperation programme for Bulgaria-Serbia.
Project team: Does your organisation have a Europeanisation or internationalisation strategy?
Prof. Teodora Georgieva: IBS is looking for new partners in order to expand its international network. Our Europeanisation and internationalisation strategy are part of our overall strategy for IBS development before 2020.
Project team: What are the biggest challenges that your organisation has faced in its European or international work?
Prof. Teodora Georgieva: The main challenges have been differences in educational legislation systems, cultural differences and the ongoing decision-making process. Language skills are also very important for effective cooperation. Time-consuming project development and project reporting are also major challenges. The solution is to maintain constant communication with partners in order to clarify responsibilities and any problems which arise.
Most resistance usually comes from the administrative staff which faces challenges in the areas of project management and financial management practices.
Project team: In which areas of your organisation has European or international work had the biggest impact so far?
Prof. Teodora Georgieva: Europeanisation, as part of the school’s internationalization, did not change our mission, vision or strategic management. However, it had a very important impact on human resources and project management areas. It contributed to the development of international knowledge and skills for both instructors and administrative staff. IBS acquired knowledge and skills relating to the design of project proposals and project implementation. Teamwork and the coordinated implementation of project tasks has also improved, as has our financial management.
These changes have all been a success for IBS. One major result has been the increased confidence of the staff when developing and implementing European projects and projects under the operational programmes in Bulgaria.
Project team: Where do you see your Europeanised organisation in the future?
Prof. Teodora Georgieva: IBS will widen its international and European network of partners for joint higher level and continuous education. The school will also serve as a centre for transregional cooperation with educational partners in the Western Balkans and as a technology transfer centre for European projects.
Project team: What would be your advice to other organisations so that they can better manage their Europeanisation or internationalisation process?
Prof. Teodora Georgieva: Do not be afraid to be actively involved in international cooperation. A hands-on approach is the best way to learn. Invest also in staff training and monitor of funding opportunities for Europeanisation. Plan Human Resources and finance for a successful process of Europeanisation.