International MIB EPAS Consortium: business teachers exchange experiences, students compare skills

A team of LUT's Master's students in international marketing management has won a business case competition at Jean Moulin University Lyon 3 in France. This is evidence of the fact that the LUT School of Business and Management is doing things right.

Polina Glukhova, Daria Tcvetkova ja Mikko Murphy.

The business case competition was arranged by the MIB EPAS Consortium, of which LUT is a member. The other members of the consortium come from Sweden, the UK, the Czech Republic, Latvia, and three French universities. Also the University of Vaasa is involved.

Olli Kuivalainen, Professor of International Marketing and Entrepreneurship, is pleased about the team's success.

"This proves that we are doing things right. It feels good."

All of the members of the consortium have EPAS accredited Master's programmes in international business.  LUT's Master's Programme in International Marketing Management (MIMM) has had the quality label since 2012.

The academic and administrative staff members of the MIB EPAS network meet regularly.

"We compare our degree programmes in business and develop them following best practices. We promote the international mobility of students and also collaborate in research to some extent", explains Kuivalainen.

In addition to competitions, the consortium provides students with student exchange opportunities. The double degree partner university of the LUT School of Business and Management is the University of Economics, Prague, the Czech Republic.

"Competitions demonstrate the level of students in relation to their peers. The consortium includes high-level institutions. It's nice to know that our students fare well in international competitions", Kuivalainen beams.

The degree programme is the key to the victory

Before the first prize in the business case competition, the LUT School of Business and Management also won the best Master's thesis award in 2017. For the first time, students in the MIB EPAS consortium could take part in both competitions.

Reeta Munther's winning Master's thesis deals with the adaptation of cleantech business models in relation to international opportunity recognition. The thesis is entitled: Business model adaptation and its relation to international opportunity recognition Case: Finnish SMEs in cleantech sector.

Our students fare well in international competitions

- Olli Kuivalainen, LBM

In the thesis competition, each accredited programme in the MIB EPAS Consortium first chose a thesis to present to a panel of judges composed of consortium members. The panel valued the academic quality of the winning thesis and the importance and relevance of its topic.

According to Olli Kuivalainen, students of the LUT School of Business and Management are not especially coached for competitions. The school simply gives related pointers as in any course.

"We steer students to do background work and gather information with care. We steer them to do good work", the professor sums up.

A case for marketing Lyon

Daria Tcvetkova, Polina Glukhova and Mikko Murphy did their background work well. The three MIMM students won the MIB EPAS Consortium's business case competition in early January. The contestants were charged with increasing the appeal of the city of Lyon, France, to tourists and international investors. The competition was hosted by the marketing organisation Only Lyon.

One approach was to develop Lyon's marketing ambassador network.

"We proposed that Only Lyon focus on the most active ambassadors with the widest networks. Concrete actions should be proposed to the ambassadors, such as a certain number of social media posts a week", the winning team's Mikko Murphy elaborates.

The team also proposed the establishment of a LinkedIn group to enable the ambassadors to exchange ideas.

Networking could increase the international appeal of businesses based in Lyon. The Lappeenranta team sought partners from suitable industry sectors from the UK.

"We found pharmaceutical companies suitable for cooperation between the two countries. In addition, Birmingham regularly hosts a significant food and drink expo. Lyon's most important export products are cheese and wine, which is why local companies could attend the expo to network", Murphy states.

The team also proposed extensive social media marketing targeted for businesses. Rather than striking landscape photographs, companies benefit from data and statistics on why Lyon would be a good location for a factory or an office.

"In the competition, we focused more on business than tourism, which was one of the reasons we won. With regard to tourism, we suggested that Lyon cooperate more with travel bloggers in the UK."

Sweet success

The international panel of judges in the business case competition praised the LUT team's ten-minute presentation, which contained many ideas that the marketing company could adopt immediately. The winning team was awarded with a gourmet gift basket.

"The competition provided us first and foremost with international experience and demonstrated what the everyday work of consultants is like. In a manner of speaking, we were the company's consultants", says Murphy.

The team spent a week in France, and the competition itself took 2.5 days. Murphy had hoped for more networking opportunities for students arranged by the MIB EPAS Consortium.

"If the teams of all five competing countries had stayed at the same hotel or close to each other, the students could have networked on their own. On the other hand, the competition did take up most of our time", Murphy ponders.

Murphy's team applauded the arrangements and challenging competition assignment. Erasmus sponsored their flights and LUT University assisted them with the accommodation expenses.

"The competition was a wonderful and tasty experience that taught us a great deal. The gourmet basket contained quality wines, chocolate, olive oil and spicy sausage."

The competition demonstrated what the everyday work of consultants is like

- Mikko Murphy, student

EPAS accreditation

  • Internationally oriented business and management degree programmes can apply for an EPAS quality label. The label is awarded by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD).
  • The LUT School of Business and Management's Master's Programme in International Marketing Management (MIMM) has had a quality label since 2012. The English-language Master's Programme in International Marketing Management (MIMM) merges studies in strategic marketing, international business and technology management.
  • The EPAS quality label is normally valid for three or five years at a time. MIMM will next apply for the quality label for the year 2020.
  • For the teaching staff, the quality label is a tool for maintaining the high quality of the programme content. For applicants, it testifies to the high level of the programme.