How did the GBSB Global Business School start?
The school was founded by Olga Ivanova, who holds a master's degree and PhD in education. A key quality the market is expecting from graduates nowadays is a capacity to innovate and propose creative solutions. Olga is a pioneer in defining ways to ensure that students graduating from a business school acquire such competencies. She developed her own teaching methodology, which focuses on enhancing the innovation capacity of business students and finding ways to measure the impact of this methodology. In 2018, Olga received a prestigious award for her research from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Building this methodology required studying different teaching methods and approaches, which in itself was innovative. Her research forms the basis of GBSB Global Business School's philosophy.
How do you define global education?
We have students from more than 85 countries and faculty members from around 30 countries. This diversity is one of our core values. It is also something our students appreciate as it allows them to learn from each other and build a valuable global network.
What does the partnership with Microsoft mean for the school?
I have worked my whole life as a strategic consultant specialized in technology. When I joined three years ago, the first thing we did was improve the digital experience. We partnered with Microsoft because of its worldwide educational division, which provided us with the possibility to implement digital technologies. If you meet certain requirements, you can become a Microsoft Showcase School, which is what we are. What Microsoft offers is an ecosystem that makes students' lives easier. Every student is provided with not only an email account, but with a Windows 10 license and Microsoft Office pack. We encourage students to receive Microsoft Office certifications. There are two levels of certifications: specialist and expert. We are the only business school that does this in Spain. At GBSB, all interactions between faculty members and students are managed by a Microsoft application called Microsoft Teams for Education. This includes mobile and desktop apps which can be used to upload teaching materials, hold discussions, upload assignments, and access real-time information about classes and grades. This represents one of the major steps we took for the implementation of new digital processes.
What is the future of Spain's education sector?
One of the key criticisms that institutions receive is the lack of pace in adapting to the demands of the labor market. Three years ago, we did not have digital-related programs, and today we have programs for digital business, digital marketing, and even fintech. It is vital to have these skills today as most students will launch a digital business rather than an industrial, traditional one. It is also becoming more necessary to provide students with access to capsule trainings and mock training. Distance learning is also a common and growing trend. Our online programs have been growing at a high rate as student bodies are becoming diversified and life-long learning is becoming a norm.
What are your main objectives for 2020?
Our main objective is to generate opportunities for our students. For example, we have a job portal with offers from more than 180 countries. It uses AI algorithms to aggregate job offers for specific sectors. In 2018, we founded the G-Accelerator program for students who have an entrepreneurial idea. As part of this program, students are provided with an infrastructure and mentoring services to start their own business. The main objective is to develop the project within six months so that it's mature enough to be pitched to investors. We started with one project in January 2019, which turned out to be a great success. So far, we have partnered with different local and international partners like Crowdcube, Enpact, APTKI, and Marinel-lo. The networking connections we provide are crucial.