The academic year has started for the only double-degree MBA programme in Central Europe

Széchenyi István University, in collaboration with the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, US, is launching from the current semester an English-taught double-degree MBA, offering a unique opportunity in Hungary and in Central Europe. The special feature of the four-semester programme is that participants receive a degree from both institutions. The Pallas Athéné Domus Meriti Foundation (PADME), established by the Hungarian National Bank, is supporting the studies of ten Hungarian students with scholarships.

On Saturday 19 September, in light of the epidemiological situation, the Commencement Ceremony for the new double degree programme was held online. The event was officially opened by Dr Maling Ebrahimpour, Dean of the College of Business at the University of Rhode Island, who at the outset put it, “Together we have created something new and exciting”. He emphasized that this is the first English-language MBA programme accredited by the highly renowned AACSB to be launched in Hungary. He added that in order to maintain this accreditation, the highest standards must be maintained at all times, including in the areas of student support and education. He said that after tireless efforts, many discussions and collaborative work, the ideas had become a reality. Addressing the students, he stated,“From today forward, you are a member of the University of Rhode Island Community. Please know that we are pleased and proud for you to join us. We hope that your experience will make you equally pleased and proud to call URI your academic home.

Dr. Maling Ebrahimpour


In his speech, Barnabás Virág, Deputy Governor of the Hungarian National Bank, drew attention to the fact that of the more than 16,000 MBA programmes worldwide, only 5 percent are AACSB accredited, considered to be the “gold standard”, of which this is the only one in Central Europe. He added that the MNB is pleased to see the excellent performance of Hungarian Higher Education Institutions on the lists of the two major rating organizations, Times Higher Education and QS, and since the new double degree bears all the hallmarks of a quality academic programme, the support via PADME directly contributes to even an higher ranking in future lists. He also talked about how together with Dr György Matolcsy, Governor of the Hungarian National Bank, they welcomed the application of Széchenyi István University, because they believe in international accreditation of university programmes as an important indicator of global quality.

Virág Barnabás

Dr Zoltán Dubéczi, Chief Advisor to the Governor of the Hungarian National Bank and Secretary General of the Hungarian Rectors' Conference, recalled that since 2016 the MNB had also been supporting Széchenyi István University's Doctoral Program in Business Administration, the only English-taught programme in economics at this academic level in Hungary. As a result of these positive experiences, they decided to support the new MBA degree programme. He emphasized that as the common goal of the government and the Bank is for Hungarian Higher Education Institutions to become more globally visible in the future, they encourage the launch of such double-degree programmes in cooperation with universities in both North America and in East and Southeast Asia.

Dr. Dubéczi Zoltán

Dr Gifty Ako-Adounvo, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Rhode Island, explained that technological advances have enabled businesses and communities, small and large alike, to make new connections around the world, regardless of borders and time zones. She believed that students, wherever they live, need to be prepared to live and work in a globalized economy and world if they want to stand their ground, and this innovative programme contributes to this. The Vice-Rector expressed the hope that the epidemic situation would allow participants to visit their university in person at the end of the programme.

Dr. Gifty Ako-Adounvo

Dr Eszter Lukács, Vice-Rector for Educational Affairs at Széchenyi István University, recalling the developments of recent years, placed the launch of the institution's first double-degree programme with an American university into a broader context. She said the process of internationalization at the University has progressed over the past two years at a dynamic pace. This is indicated by the fact that whereas in the 2018-2019 academic year applicants were able to choose from only 7 English-taught academic programmes, in the current academic year, they have a choice of 35 English-taught programmes at undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and postgraduate levels. The Vice-Rector highlighted that the new MBA programme not only contributes to the enhancement of the University’s global visibility, but also offers a huge opportunity for the two institutions to work together to gain international educational experience, providing a new environment for students to further develop their competencies.

Dr. Lukács Eszter

Dr László Komlósi, Director of Széchenyi István University’s Doctoral Programme in Business Administration (SzEEDSM), emphasized that he was proud that colleagues at the University of Rhode Island found it worthwhile to launch the double-degree MBA programme at Széchenyi István University. The professor wished this initiative long-lasting success and development.

Dr. Komlósi László

Dr Shaw Chen, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Global Business Area Coordinator at The University of Rhode Island, a Taiwan-raised American scholar, said that Chinese has a special symbol for quadruple happiness, that is heavenly happiness, which he now feels. And why? He got to know special friends and colleagues at the University of Győr; talented, promising students have applied for the new MBA training; he has received immeasurable help from colleagues to launch the programme; in addition, the Hungarian National Bank and other organizations are providing support to make all this sustainable. “So I thank all of you for bestowing quadruple happiness on me today. I wish the same for all of you and look forward to a long and beneficial partnership together,” he concluded.

Dr. Shaw Chen

The closing word went to Dr Brenton DeBoefé, Dean of the University of Rhode Island Graduate School, who likened the partnership between the two institutions to a marriage. He drew student’ attention to the fact that they can take advantage of all the rights and privileges  that their American counterparts enjoy.

Dr. Brenton DeBoef

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