In the interview the Dean said:
It has been a busy first month for Acting Dean Dániel Havran, continuously consulting with the programme coordinators and colleagues on the support side over the past few weeks. He is planning to hold monthly workshops with the coordinators and is looking for further engagement opportunities to discuss the restructuring of the Masters’ training portfolio. If all goes to plan, the framework will be agreed presenting the basic structure of the new Masters portfolio by the end of December, and starting to develop the curricula for the new courses from the beginning of 2024. The final target date is September 2025, when the new programmes will be launched and the entire Master’s degree portfolio will be revised.
Change is the only sure thing
International examples show that in higher education everything keeps changing. In response to labour market needs and external influence on students, such as the changing economic conditions pushing students to start work earlier, higher education institutions around the world are seeking to develop more flexible portfolios.
“I think the key is constant adaptation. We have to build an internationally competitive Master’s offer with a very clear and sound structural foundation, and the possibility to fine-tune and change specialisations later on, as necessary. If we can get the portfolio right now, I hope we will be able to keep it up structurally in the next ten years,” says Dániel Havran.
In connection with the changes, he sees it as a challenge to make the new courses attractive to both international and Hungarian students. According to Dániel Havran, this duality should be reflected in the structure of the training courses. He anticipates that students graduating from Corvinus master’s programmes in a few years’ time should be able to reflect on current economic and social events at both global and national level. This ‘double lens’ can then be the basis for starting an international career or even a complex management or expert role in a domestic company. He expects that one third of all applicants to the Corvinus Master’s programmes will continue to be foreign students, which will provide a balanced international learning environment for Hungarian students, adjusting the proportions to market trends later on.
What is the strategy for transforming the Master’s portfolio?
There have been several changes in the training portfolio in recent years, one of the most striking being that 80% of the courses are now available only in English, or in English as well as in Hungarian. The aim is to maintain this ratio, but with a great emphasis on the development of Hungarian language courses too.
“It would be a strategic mistake to abandon our specialisations that are valuable in the Hungarian professional environment. I would like to apply the same principle to the renewal of the entire training portfolio: What worked well in the old system will be transferred to the new one,” explains the Dean, adding that he wants to remove inconsistencies in the curricula, which are often found in the degree programmes, mainly due to the old faculty or institutional structure.
Dániel Havran finds it necessary to restructure the portfolio in order to better exploit the synergies between the different courses in a specific field: “My idea is to have fewer two-year general Master’s courses that branch out relatively quickly within the training period with an individual character (area of competence). The second year of these courses should also be available as stand-alone one-year courses”.
It is envisaged that the more general, well-defined competences which are taught in a two-year system with 6-7 courses (areas of competence) would be complemented with several one-year Master’s programmes. In total, up to 20-25 one-year programmes specialising in a particular field could be developed, building on the strengths of Corvinus’ academic workshops.
This would create a more transparent, streamlined portfolio based on organic links between the courses, and would also offer better learning opportunities in a domestic and international context, with programmes that cater to different needs. “A student entering a master’s programme with a freshly received bachelor’s degree needs a different type of training than a student who has been working in the labour market for a few years but is now back in school to obtain a master’s degree”, the dean explains. He believes that in the future both two-year and one-year master’s programmes will play an equally important role in Corvinus’ training portfolio, but will meet different student needs depending on their individual academic background and work experience.
He added that some elements of the plan are still being developed, and that a lot of information and new aspects (from focus group interviews and discussions) still need to be considered in order to come up with a concept that is acceptable at university level.
Dániel Havran makes no secret of the fact that the next nine months will be very busy for them, but he also believes that this is an exceptional opportunity to build on existing achievements and experience. He says that his colleagues have already done a great job in renewing the courses by converting them into English-language programmes. The coming year will be more about university-level structure, offering Masters programmes in line with international standards and expectations, supporting their recruitment process and, to a lesser extent, updating recently developed subjects and modules. However, the preparation of new subjects and programmes proposed by the workshops will be ongoing.
New standardised international admission system
In addition to creating and implementing a detailed strategy, one of the most important tasks for the newly appointed Dean is to explain the purpose and benefits of the standard international admission system that will be implemented next year to the students preparing for Corvinus Master’s programmes. In Hungary, Corvinus will be the first university to use the GMAC and ETS international questionnaires for its Master’s degree admission process. A big advantage is that the tests can be taken more than once and candidates can apply submitting their best results.
“Most international applicants will be familiar with this admission system, but it is important to explain the advantages to Hungarian students as well, so that they can see that they have nothing to fear,” adds the Dean.