The Blended Intensive Program (BIP) Sustainable Banking and Finance, which took place at VŠFS from 27 to 31 March 2023, is an international program for European universities that supports students' creative and scientific activities and teamwork at the international level. Throughout the program, students improve their communication and presentation skills, as well as their language skills. The entire program is conducted in English and is intended for full-time bachelor's or master's degree for students in the fields of Finance and Economics and Management.
The University of Finance and Administration has been taking part in the program for the seven consecutive years. Students who participated in the program always evaluated it very positively and were interested in participating again. However, students can only participate in the program once.
A different university hosts the program each year. This year, 2023, the host university was the University of Finance and Administration. The entire project has been managed and coordinated by Inholland University of Applied Sciences in The Hague. The following universities participated in the program in 2023:
- Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Holland
- Zaragoza University, Spain
- University CEU San Pablo, Madrid, Spain
- University College Ghent, Belgium
- University of Finance and Administration, Prague, Czech Republic
- University of Economics, Katowice, Poland
- Université Catholique de l’Ouest, Nantes, France.
Students were divided into six international teams (Topics), in which they worked on scientific papers on current issues in the field of sustainable banking and finance. International teams of students are always led by two experienced educators from the participating universities who serve as international coaches. Students prepare scientific papers under their guidance, prepare for the Oxford Debate, National Pressure Cooker and Personal Reflection. Scientific investigations are usually divided into the following topics:
- Sustainability Indices and Rating
- Taxation, Financial Regulation, Sustainable Fiscal and Monetary Policy
- Non-financial Reporting
- Evolution of Banking 2030 and Beyond // The Influence of Fintech
- Alternative Ways of Financing for SMEs
- Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) / Sustainable Developments in Banking and Finance
Each student is expected to choose one topic and international teams are then created around each topic. There is only one student per university in each team. They first work on the topic online (Virtual Part 1), which is a preparatory phase further divided into four stages. At each stage, there are precise instructions on what the students and their coaches shall do. The aim of the preparatory phase is to write a scientific paper and its presentation on each topic.
The BIP culminates in the physical part of the program (Part 2 Physical), in which students in international teams present the results of their scientific work done over the past two months. The face-to-face part of the program also includes other guided activities such as Oxford Debate, National Pressure Cooker and Personal Reflection. Guest lectures on Sustainable Banking and Finance and Cross-Cultural Management are organized for students, in which they discuss the differences in customs and life in other countries.
In the afternoons and evenings both students and teacher got an opportunity to partake in events, arranged by VSFS International Department, such as a tour of the Old Town and Prague Castle with excellent guides, a boat cruise on the Vltava river, a visit to the exhibition centre of the Czech National Bank and the City Game. We are glad that the guests´ feedback indicated that they had enjoyed the activities immensely.
After an interesting and eventful week it was time to say goodbye. Students and teachers received certificates, small gifts and the program was concluded with a festive dinner in the typical Czech restaurant U Fleků. The BIP program was an unforgettable and enriching experience for both the participating students and their teachers, full of motivation, enthusiasm, meaningful work and creativity. We already look forward to the following BIP 2024.
The University of Finance and Administration team had been led by Jana Kotěšovcová and Jan Mertl, who have been participating in the program and coaching the international teams almost since the program´s beginning. Organizational support was provided by Eva Kostikov and VŠFS International Department led by Lucie Finová and her team. Lots of gratitude and congratulations are in turn for all the participants and the ones involved into organization of such an engaging and challenging event.