Széchenyi 2020
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Change in the approaches in the BA of Applied Economic

"We put knowledge first, not the teaching process" - says Eszter Szabó-Bakos, who is in charge of the renewal of the Applied Economics Basic Programme. She believes the key is to transform the approach of the whole programme and “the focus will be on students being able to acquire knowledge”. What does a change of attitude mean? According to Eszter Szabó-Bakos, among other things, the basic training programme focuses on economics and empirical methods. “The knowledge acquired by the students will be the most important” - considers the specialist. We intend not only to provide students with general knowledge, not a little of everything, but also to equip them with the knowledge of data analysis in economics and to be able to apply it.
Students will also encounter unique eight-credit subjects at the university. Each semester, the compulsory subjects will include an eight-credit economic and an eight-credit data analysis, empirical subject. Students also need to work more independently to complete the subjects. They have to communicate a lot with each other, research, read, use different software.

An important element of the transformation is that students acquire practical skills in addition to subject knowledge. Practicality has a somewhat different meaning in economics than business life. “In economics, it means that a student can identify a problem and know which tool to use to solve it. ” The specialised seminar and the dissertation process will also be transformed. The novel structure is the first to appear at the university in the Applied Economics Department.

One goal is to avoid procrastination. "Students also need to demonstrate the development of their knowledge, so we've included a project subject every year." Students synthesise their knowledge gained through compulsory subjects and solve problems. Every year they are expected to have a different level of knowledge and problem-solving ability. In doing so, they can build skills that are also relevant in the job market: presentation, writing, research, teamwork and quantitative analytical skills. One of the end results of the project subject will be an individual piece of writing: students will have to combine three studies as a dissertation.

Therefore, the reviewer of the dissertation will also be able to assess how much the student has developed over the three years. The transformation of the dissertation system is a novel initiative, which we have not seen before, not only at Hungarian universities, but also at foreign universities. Currently, the Applied Economics can be studied in Hungary, in Hungarian only at Corvinus University. "We also felt strongly during the course development process that we have a very big responsibility in how we will think about economics in ten years' time.” The changes are strongly linked to the university’s goal of becoming an internationally recognised institution.

We paid special attention to the fact that the English-language equivalent of Applied Economics, the Applied economics programme, is exactly the same as what we teach Hungarian-speaking students, so the only difference will be the language alone. The transformation will affect first-year students this year, but successful techniques will also be applied to upper grades. Course development also took into account the needs of employers. "Students need to have mostly problem-solving and quantitative skills, and we can guarantee that." With the block “Economics Applications” in the training, students are encouraged to use the knowledge they have acquired in the compulsory subjects. “In addition to knowledge, we also try to develop skills. We believe that these are the main ways to help the student find a job in the future.”

Graduates can fill a wide range of positions. The area where our students can get a job is very wide. The students of the university also took part in the transformation of the basic course with their suggestions and remarks. “From the beginning, my project assistant and I have felt that the responsibility and opportunity to participate in professional development is huge and honourable,” - says Viola Beck, who was a project manager for the course development group as a member of the student self-government. As a project manager, I am primarily responsible for bringing the process together and managing it, but we also have, for example, weekly reporting.

However, we are very pleased that although the professional side of the project is not primarily our responsibility, but of the teaching colleagues, yet they seek our views and ensure that students ’views are also reflected in the work of the committee. "Transforming the course involves a lot of work and a lot of responsibility, as students' careers will be determined by what changes we achieve." - says Viola Beck. In her view, the essence of the new curriculum will be practice, and this will make Applied Economics really applicable.

Source of the article: Közgazdász Online

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