Recent trends in education, and business education in particular, emphasize the importance of applying new interactive ways of learning. Leading business schools abroad have enriched their academic curriculum with out-of-the-classroom activities such as field trips for their students to better prepare them for a successful career in the challenging and dynamic business environment of today. A field trip abroad is viewed as a valuable tool to gain international perspective, to strengthen team-building and time-management skills and to diversify learning experience. Most importantly, such experience creates the habit and the enthusiasm for the life-long continuous learning, which is ultimately the key to our professional success and superior job satisfaction.

CIIM Business School has been committed to the excellence in postgraduate business education for more than 25 years. In the last 10 years the CIIM MBA programme has continued to maintain the international accreditation by EFMD/EPAS, which is a record for any programme in Cyprus. One of our many recent upgrades of the students’ learning experience is the introduction of educational field trips abroad, which allow our students to learn about innovation and entrepreneurship in a truly innovative way.

CIIM Field Trip to Portugal 2017

In February 2017, CIIM Masters’ students have had an opportunity to learn about innovation and entrepreneurship via a 5-day educational trip to Lisbon. Why Portugal?

In 2014-2015, Portugal had the fastest annual growth rate in innovation performance in EU. According to the recent Global Competitiveness Report, Portugal is now N36 out of 144 countries, as compared to N51 in 2013-2014. Portugal is currently in the top 20 countries in terms of availability of latest technologies, foreign direct investment & technology transfer, and in the top 25 in terms of collaborative innovation. Portugal has defined 17 sectors for its specialization within EU, and N1 is Aeronautics and Space. Other sectors include Creative Industries, Services (including Education), Agrofood, Healthcare, Tourism and Cultural Heritage, Sustainable Construction, and others. As we further learned from our visit to the Portuguese Innovation Agency ANI, Portugal has managed to receive from EU $20bn to spend on innovation till 2020. The government has provided substantial financial and tax incentives to the companies to encourage investment in R&D. The Agency has created an online platform for technology exchange ‘Bolsa de Technologia e Negocios’ to help Portuguese companies, especially SMEs, to make use of latest available technology. While Portugal is still considered as a ‘moderate’ innovator among EU countries, the same as Cyprus, and has a lot to improve to reach the EU ‘innovation leaders’ (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands), Portugal is fast moving in the right direction looking for ways to overcome the problems.

Portugal has achieved excellent results in higher education: it is now 4th in the EU28 in terms of the highest % of students enrolled in science and engineering, and 4th in the quality of management schools. The CIIM students have had a chance to visit two major business schools during our trip: the NOVA School of Business and Economics and the International Business School of the ISCTE University.

At NOVA SBE, we have had a lecture by prof Luis Lages and an interactive workshop with the NOVA students on the application of the Value Creation Wheel (VCW) Methodology. The VCW was introduced by Dr Luis Lages after 20 years of research and studying hundreds of projects in the fields of Value Creation and Innovation, International Business, Survival and Growth, and Tech-Transfer.  The VCW Framework facilitates finding solutions for paradoxes and difficult challenges that organisations may face.

Lectures and workshops for the CIIM team were followed by several company visits, such as a visit to a leading Portuguese company in the aerospace sector DEIMOS Engenharia where we had the presentation by the General Director about the company and the presentation of a Case Study of one of the technologies: MyFARM (using the Value Creation Wheel Methodology) by the Innovation Manager.

We have also had a most valuable insight into a new type of entrepreneurship – social entrepreneurship. We visited ‘Chapito a mesa’ – a remarkable social entrepreneurship initiative in Lisbon, an arts and circus school, which includes programmes for troubled youngsters and lonely elderly people (68+) to help them re-discover themselves and find their place in the society. This was something new and unusual for the mind set of students.

Lisbon trip 2017 was organised by Dr Olga Kandinskaia, Director of the Master of Science in Management Programme at CIIM. CIIM is currently organising several field study trips every year. Other destinations are Israel (Tel Aviv), Greece (Athens), Germany (Frankfurt) and USA (New York). As Benjamin Franklin famously wrote: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Dr Olga Kandinskaia

Programme Director of MSc Management

CIIM – Cyprus International Institute of Management