The web portal Study in Greece is campaigning for the promotion and international visibility of Greek Universities and the comparative educational advantages of our country. In particular, the campaign focuses on the foreign language study programmes that Greek Universities offer to Greek and international students. The initiative is supported by the General Secretariat of Higher Education of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In this context, a number of educational programmes and actions are presented in detail on a regular basis, such as undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, summer schools etc, to inform international students about the many foreign language options offered by Greek Universities.

Study in Greece interviewed Professor Manolis G. Kavussanos of the Department of Accounting and Finance of the Athens University of Economics & Business (AUEB), Director of the MSc in International Shipping, Finance and Management, about the programme’s features and what it has to offer to international students.

KavousanosProfessor Manolis G. Kavussanos is a faculty member of the Athens University of Economics and Business. He holds a BSc and MSc (Economics) from the University of London and a PhD (Applied Economics) from City University Cass Business School (Cass), London. He is the Director, since inception, of the MSc in International Shipping, Finance and Management. He is the elected vice-president of the Hellenic Association of Maritime Economists. He has also been the recipient of several awards and scholarships, including the Hanjin prize for best paper award and the Propontis foundation post-doc scholarship.

Mr Kavussanos, please tell us a few words about the globally recognised MSc in International Shipping, Finance and Management (ISFM) offered by the AUEB, which has been ranked 5th among the best masters worldwide.

Τhe Interdepartmental MSc programme in International Shipping, Finance and Management (ISFM) has been ranked 5th in the World by Eduniversal 2019 Masters ranking. Some further important highlights worth mentioning regarding the MSc Programme (which was established in 2015) are, amongst others, the following:

  • It is established in an International Maritime Centre, with the highest ownership of the world fleet, with hundreds of shipping and shipping-related companies established in Greece, thus providing opportunities for interaction with the industry at all levels, including visits to companies and employment opportunities.
  • Close cooperation of the MSc in ISFM programme with the industry.
  • The MSc Programme offers an international environment – our students come from at least 14 countries and have graduated from various universities around the world
  • It has established international co-operations with Top Universities around the world, such as EDHEC (France), KMOU (S. Korea), AASTMT (Egypt).
  • There are opportunities for Double-Masters degrees for graduates of the MSc in ISFM.
  • The professors teaching in the programme are top scientists and practitioners in their respective fields, with a number of them coming from abroad to teach in the programme.
  • Exemptions are offered from exams from international Professional Organisations, such as CFA, ICS and HAS.
  • The Programme has organised prestigious International Scientific Conferences, such as IAME 2019 and FEBS 2016.
  • It has gained awards from organisations such as Equal Society for our social responsibility.
  • Learning methods, apart from teaching, include group assignments and courseworks and a dissertation thesis. These are backed up by its state of the art laboratory, which is equipped with databases (e.g. Bloomberg, Reuters, Clarksons), access to newspapers/press (e.g. Lloyds list, Financial Times), scientific journals (e.g. MPM, MEL, TRE, etc.) and software (e.g. Stata, Matlab, etc.) that enable world class scientific and market research.
  • Placement positions are offered by companies at the end of the taught part of the programme.
  • For the 2020/21 class, relevant full-time employment is obtained by 95% of its students before graduation, by the time of being examined for their MSc thesis.

Shipping3Given that we are talking about an English-taught programme, tell us about its international orientation and aims.

The Interdepartmental MSc programme in International Shipping, Finance and Management (MSc in ISFM) is an academic programme taught by world class professors –all of them PhD holders– and conducted entirely in English. The language of the shipping industry is English. Thus, the programme is preparing its students for the workplace. Greece is an international maritime centre for shipping, and a number of non-Greek students choose to come to Greece and gain expertise and knowledge in this international shipping environment. It constitutes a valuable proposition not only for Greek but also for international students who are ready to work hard and have the ambition to reach top positions on the executive ladder. Throughout the years we have received students from various nationalities, including U.S.A., Canada, Singapore, South Korea, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Norway, Italy, Cyprus, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Albania, Poland and Turkey.

Given that the ISFM comprises a unique combination of three knowledge areas (shipping, finance and management), which professional opportunities are offered to its students?

The MSc in ISFM programme comprises a unique combination of the three knowledge areas, which are essential for those already employed or are interested in reaching managerial employment positions in the International Shipping industry. The location of the MSc programme, at the heart of one of the most important International Maritime Centres of the World, is deemed extremely important for the networking and the employment opportunities it offers to its participants. Several hundred shipping companies are established in Attica (around the port of Piraeus, in Athens and its suburbs), owning and managing a fleet of ships with the world’s highest tonnage capacity. Clients of these companies are also established here to serve them, including several hundred shipbroking firms, financial institutions, international auditing and accounting firms, insurance companies, classification societies and shipping lawyers, amongst others. This enables direct access to market resources, such as student placements – internships and employment positions with companies in Greece and abroad, guest speakers from the industry, visits to companies and organisations and significant networking opportunities. Our graduates are employed mainly in the Shipping Industry (65%) but also in the sectors of Auditing (8%), Finance (8%), Banking (7%), etc. Indicatively, within the Shipping Sector, they are usually occupied in Finance/Accounting (39%), Operations (18%), Commercial and Sales and Purchase (8%), Crewing and Human Resources Departments (8%), Chartering (3%), etc. It is also important to note that for the Academic Year 2020-21, 95% of the students found employment by the time they were examined for their Master Thesis towards the end of the programme and before graduation. Finally, it should be noted that the MSc programme is also targeting professionals of the industry that wish to enhance their knowledge in the sector, offering them a spherical view of the industry through the study of the interlinked areas of shipping, finance and management, thus enabling them to reach top executive positions in the sectors.

Shipping4Considering that AUEB invests a lot in international cooperation such as the cooperation of ISFM with EDHEC Business School in France, tell us which are the benefits for the students by this kind of collaborations?

The Double MSc-Degree agreement with EDHEC Business School constitutes one of the international agreements established between the MSc in International Shipping, Finance and Management of AUEB and other International Universities, including the Korea Maritime and Ocean University (KMOU) and the Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT), and it further confirms the international standing and profile of the Programme and of the Athens University of Economics and Business. Some benefits resulting from these agreements regarding the educational process itself are: exchange of professors for lectures or seminars, exchange of educational and teaching material, co-operation in joint projects and research programmes and visits to companies, public sector organisations and international institutions. For instance, approximately 15 students and professors from the Korea Maritime and Ocean University come to Athens every year –Covid permitting– for one month to be trained in subject areas of the MSc in ISFM. The interaction between the MSc in ISFM students and the KMOU students from South Korea enables the interaction of people from two of the great nations of world shipping, the better understanding of cultures and the creation of friendships and business contacts which are so important in the maritime industry. The cooperation with EDHEC Business School enables the MSc in ISFM graduates to follow one of four MSc programmes at EDHEC for free. Consequently, not only selected students harvest the benefits from gaining an international experience and a second master’s degree in the cost of one, but also students of the MSc Programme in general are benefiting through the enrichment of the educational process. For Greek students, they don’t need to leave their country, to obtain an international study experience. Needless to say, having an international background in a constantly evolving business world as well as having acquired a multicultural background through the MSc studies are vital in order to be able nowadays to collaborate and work effectively in business. Finally, universities and employers highly value experience in international environments as they search for candidates with transferable learning skills.

Shipping6In recent years, the international activities of universities expanded in volume as well as in scope, so how do you consider that these activities could contribute to Greece’s development and economy?

During the last years, due to the economic crisis, Greece has faced an unprecedented setback: the so-called “brain-drain”. A great percentage of Graduates has migrated abroad in search of a decent and better future, where they can gain a hands-on-experience and also utilise the educational knowledge they acquired, while some even decided to pursue a Master’s degree abroad in order to immediately find work after the completion of their studies. Through the universities’ international co-operations and activities, international students are attracted to complete their postgraduate studies in Greek universities, to live in Greece for shorter or longer periods and thus contribute to the national economy; from house renting, to the food and entertainment industry and even to employment positions by bringing new cultures in the workplace. In addition, Greek students will be encouraged to remain in Greece as they will gain the same international benefits (if not a lot more) as they would by studying at a university abroad, restraining thus the ‘brain drain’ problems mentioned earlier.

Tell us a few things about the Athens University of Economics and Business – its history, its success plans for the future and its efforts to evolve within the contemporary global environment of Higher Education.

The Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) was originally founded in 1920 under the name of Athens School of Commercial Studies. It was renamed in 1926 as the Athens School of Economics and Business, a name that was retained until 1989 when it assumed its present name. It is the third oldest University in Greece and the oldest one in the general fields of Economics and Business and has long been established in the academic community, and among students and the society, as a top Greek University in the scientific disciplines which it encompasses. AUEB is always evolving and adapts to international educational environments and one of its strategic goals is to develop prestigious international collaborations and to enhance its international impact and recognition through excellence in research and education. In keeping with these values, AUEB participates in numerous international organisations and rankings of institutions of higher education, such as Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), Eduniversal, SSR and CEOWORLD Magazine Rankings, so as not only to improve the provided services but also to strengthen its international standing – see for instance its 4 palmes ranking by Eduniversal.

Read also via Greek News Agenda: Greek Shipping: An important global actor in line with the Greek maritime spirit; Professor Apostolos Ballas presents the MSc in Financial Management at AUEB; Professor Dimitrios Skiadas presents the Master in Shipping and Sea Transports: Economics and Politics at UOM

N.M. (Images from the MSc’s official website & official FB page)