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The Curriculum of the Integrated Business Faculty -IBF is drafted following the modeled integrated business curriculum-IBC (Integrated Business Curriculum-IBC), taught at the University of Idaho (University of Idaho-UI), United States. This unique undergraduate curricula, designed and developed in the U.S. over the past fifteen years, in 2003 received an award for its innovative and creative approach to business education[i].

There are four basic features that make the IBC Innovative:
1. The main areas of operation within a company (ex. finance, marketing, management, human resources, management of production and operational systems, business IT etc.) are taught in a way that emphasizes their interactive influence on each other and on the overall operation of the company and its ability to succeed. Of course, bearing in mind that the environment in which businesses operate is complex and more exposed to globalization processes and trends, which is illustrated below (Figure 1):

Image 1

2. Throughout the whole course students there is work in teams to learn and practice the skills of teamwork which in today's environment are becoming crucial to the survival of firms. Thus they realize how different functional areas can better work, and how they can realize synergistic positive and / or negative effects, influencing each other. The next figure (Figure 2), presents an example of structure of management-level issues facing any entrepreneur:

Image 2

Figure 2: Presentation of the curricula of the Integrated Business Faculty (IBF)

This is the model of holistic analysis that is taught to the students in the IBC program. A graduate student in IBF, after successfully completing studies and achieving undergraduate education, will have all the economic knowledge of the chosen direction (financial management, marketing management and sustainable development), and he/she will also have a knowledge and competence of the other operational aspects of conducting a business, and the "development of instincts" for ethical use of all means necessary to deal with business problems. The businessman, who must "do everything" when starting new ventures, must be well prepared after graduation in Business Economics.

3. The teaching staff is composed of professors, who de facto represent the various functional areas within a firm. Also, students in a realistic setting of market and institutional system  practice the acquired knowledge and skills, leading their own virtual small business;

4. The course lasts two semesters or one academic year. In the process of studying the competences of the competence of the students are tested individually for each subject area of the individual. The lectures on specific topics illustrate through analysis of existing problems in the Macedonian economy and case studies of selected individual businesses, so that would best reflect the challenges and opportunities facing the Macedonian businessmen viewed and resolved through the eyes of students. Thus, our students, learn to discover the complete solutions in the same way as the owner / manager of a company would. Following this approach BF provides the best form of education tailored for today's needs of the Macedonian economy.

Business and curriculum

American business education over the past 25 years from focusing primarily on large "mega" corporations expanded and included an education appropriate to the needs for establishment and operation of small and medium enterprises. In highly developed economy like the U.S., over 95% of enterprises are defined as 'small' and create over 85% of new jobs in the country. Over 70% of these jobs resulting from the new entrepreneurial businesses whose main goal is profitability, growth, risk taking and innovative strategic practices.

In developing countries, employment in small enterprises, results in an even greater number of jobs, so for example for illustration only, in Macedonia, 98.7% of all registered enterprises are SME’s and they absorb 79% of the available workforce in the country. Therefore, for economies such as Macedonia, creating curriculum relevant to business is vital. Entrepreneurs who start a business with these basic goals, must have in mind all strategic and operating decisions of the firm. Businessmen must be competent in all work areas and must look at the firm and the competitive environment as a related process or system. Every entrepreneur must also be able to assess risk both at operational and strategic level. The curriculum of the IBF brings all the other courses on business level by creating a culture of building business from multiple perspectives and assess the risks arising from work and / or strategic decisions.

The basic concept of integrated business education, during its application since the establishment of the Integrated Business Faculty in 2006, was further developed and upgraded by implementing the same approach of interactivity in all scientific disciplines. Namely, in addition to integrated business modules (IBC-1 and IBC-2)[ii], teaching activities for each subject  provide interactive instruction through various research activities of students in the field, for the respective thematic areas grouped in 3-4 complex topics, during each semester. Thus, team learning in the areas of finance, management, marketing, information systems, international business, quantitative analysis, economics and accounting, etc.. is accomplished through mastering the basic methodology of research in the field and in all available media (Internet, periodicals, literature, etc.).

This approach allows us to put emphasis on team work, practical experience and understanding of business systems, production planning and various business processes, decision making, managing resources and firm decisions on the operation of the business etc.., Enabling students to practical application of theoretical knowledge they acquired during their studies.

In the interactive approach in teaching, IBF for its students organizes monthly summer practice in various enterprises (banks, IT, pharmaceutical and steel industry, NGOs, state administration and local government, etc.).

Actually, the fact that 80% of our graduates are employed, speaks for the uniqueness of selected integrated approach that we apply in business education and its superiority over the so-called, "classic" studies of economics at other universities in the country and region.

[i] MOSCOW – The college of business and Economy of UI, with 1300 students, 40 regular faculties, small groups, new high technology capacities and innovative curriculum was awarded the Prize for Innovative and Creative Education by the International Academy of Leadership in Education.

[ii] More detailed description of IBC-1 and IBC-2 moduli can be found in the part Integrated approach