On Thursday, February 23rd all first-year BSc International Business (IB) students were invited to the introduction of the EngAGE (Engage Applied Global Education) study program that is specifically aimed towards talented and ambitious students who want to enter the professional labor market directly after finishing their bachelor’s degree.
Danish industry demands educated labor faster, but …
Danish industries increasingly demand younger employees. The companies want access to young professionals in order to help influence and shape them as early in their careers as possible. However, it is still the trend that the ones who have completed master’s degrees are the ones getting the jobs.
This trend is part of the reason for CBS launching the EngAGE study program in close collaboration with a number of significant companies. The idea is that students work in and with the company partners as an integrated part of their education, and will thus acquire skills that will help them enter the professional job market immediately after finishing their bachelor degrees.
Talent development rather than elite-selection, or …
- The EngAGE study program is to some extent based on the same template as the GLOBE (Global Learning Opportunities in Business Education) study program.
However, where GLOBE is an elite program, EngAGE is meant to be a talent development program, explains the Program Director of both study programs, Associate Professor Martin Jes Iversen of the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy. It is hard to deny that there is an elite element that characterizes the new, practical, and application-intensive BSc program. Just like with the GLOBE program, the offer to apply to get into the EngAGE program goes to CBS’ International Business students; the CBS study program with the highest GPA among applicants of any tertiary study program in Denmark (11,2 – read more about the Danish grading scale here). But there is a reason for that:
- The EngAGE program is very demanding. For example, the students that are admitted will participate in a summer school in June, for which they will receive no ECTS points. Among other things, that is why we get the students from a program where we know that more than 80 percent are motivated to take on those kinds of challenges on top of their regular workload, Martin Jes Iversen explains.
Ready, set… and intense competition for only 22 spots
With a total of 160 first year IB students and only 22 spots on the EngAGE program, the Program Directors and the industry partners will use a unique recruitment technique.
- We need to find the most motivated IB students, who are also ready to start working full-time at a very young age. Many of the IB students will not be more than 22 years old when they get their BSc and obviously not all of them will be ready for the responsibility that comes with it, says Martin Jes Iversen.
That is why the students will not just be selected on the basis of their upper secondary school grades and the grades they have received at CBS so far, but also on the basis of a motivated application, creating a solution for a case competition and lastly, a round of interviews at CBS and subsequently interviews with company partners that will mimic a professional job application process.
Collaboration across companies and universities
The main focus of the program is on the integration of the business environment into the classroom. In the 6th semester, each company partner will provide full-time internships to one or more students. On top of that, companies will mentor the students throughout their entire time at CBS. Furthermore, the companies involved have participated in shaping the program’s curriculum, as well as providing case study materials for the courses.
In addition to the business-focused partnership with companies, collaboration with various universities, including Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, the University of British Columbia in Canada and the University of Southern California in the United States is also a part of the program. This will mean that the students of the EngAGE program will not only have 21 fellow students at CBS but also classmates on the other side of the globe. Using modern technology, the intention is to broadcast lectures with the partner universities throughout the program.
- Our vision is to establish discussion groups with the different universities via the modern technology,’’ says Martin Jes Iversen.
EngAGE introduction and partner company presentations
On Thursday, February 23rd, the students and five of the partner companies were introduced to each other for the first time. After the five company presentations from the partners, time was allotted for networking. CBS OBSERVER met Thomas Fogde and Frederik Arnesen, two first-year IB students, both ready to apply for one of the coveted spots.
- I see it as a huge advantage that we are able to get some practical experience in the program. And the ability to start working directly after the BSc is another big plus as well, says Thomas Fogde.
- I think the offer is very motivating. I am especially interested in the shipping companies Norden and Mærsk, since they have some tangible products I can relate to, says Frederik Arnesen.
Even though the whole package sounds considerably focused and ambitious, apparently there is still time for other things, so in spite of the grueling program description, the two students do not fear to be EngAGEd, bordering on being married to the program.
- Obviously we have less time for personal interests now than we did earlier, but if you want to make it work, you can make it work, as soon as you find the routines. I think it is going to be like that with the EngAGE program as well, says Frederik Arnesen.
- When we started in the IB program, I feared that the others would only care about studying. Of course there are some that are like that, but by far the most people have interests outside the program, and we make it work, Thomas Fogde adds.
The goal is to spread the concept to other CBS study programs
Even though the IB students are those with the highest GPAs both before and during their education at CBS, the EngAGE program still has a strong focus on introducing the concept to other programs.
- Our long term wish is that the idea spreads to other CBS study programs in the future. We hope to be able to expand the project to other programs with two or three spots next year, says Martin Jes Iversen who, along with EngAGE Program Director Robyn Remke from the Department of Intercultural Communication and Leadership, had the pleasure of introducing companies and students to each other for the first time.
All applicants in play until the very end
The second round of introductions between partner companies and IB students took place on Thursday, March 1st where the last five companies introduced themselves, after which the interested students went home and began to write their applications. The deadline is Thursday March 15th, followed by a case competition March 22nd.
The selection process will ideally lead to approximately 30 students being chosen for interviews. Even though a student might not be called for an interview right away, they should not necessarily fear having been rejected.
- We have a large puzzle we need to solve. The companies have defined a profile of what type of students they are looking for, and then we try to match their criteria with an applicant. Since it is not certain that we hit the bull’s eye right away, a situation can easily arise where we will call someone in at a later time. All applicants are in consideration until June 1st, where we will be sending out the final answer to whether they have been accepted or not, Martin Jes Iversen explains.
EngAGE partners and open spots
A.P. Møller-Mærsk 3
Ernst & Young 1
D/S Norden 1