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Millennials, Luxury, and Culture

The Bachelor’s degree has traditionally been the target qualification for students at Swiss universities of applied sciences. In recent years, however, an increasing number of graduates have opted to continue to Master’s level. As a result, the number of graduates with a consecutive Master’s degree in Switzerland has almost doubled in the past decade, although the roughly 18,000 Master’s degrees issued in 2016 were still significantly below the more than 31,000 Bachelor’s degrees awarded in the same period.

While the vast majority of Master’s degrees in Switzerland is still earned at traditional universities, the nine universities of applied sciences are gaining ground: One fifth of all Master’s degrees in 2016 were awarded by universities of applied sciences. That is almost twice as many as in 2010, which emphasizes the growing importance of universities of applied sciences, including ZHAW University of Applied Sciences and its business school, the ZHAW School of Management and Law (SML).

The latest addition to the portfolio of Master’s programs at the SML is the Master of Science (MSc) in International Business, its first and only full-time Master’s program taught exclusively in English. The MSc in International Business program was created to meet the demand of qualified young talent and designed in cooperation with extensive feedback from Swiss international companies concerning their anticipated needs for the future.

The MSc in International Business was launched in 2016. It focuses on the key aspects of doing business on an international scale: particularly leadership and management, cross-cultural negotiation, planning and implementation of internationalization ventures, and responsible decision-making. The program’s core curriculum is based on the latest state of research in these fields.

In addition to the well-established principles of academic study, the program also makes use of the following integration activities to promote learning based on problem-solving and allow students to hone, among other things, their analytical and presentation skills:

  • a business boot camp and two consulting projects requiring students to analyze real-life business cases assigned by partner companies;
  • an internationalization and innovation camp during which students travel abroad and work in groups on various aspects of a real-life international venture; and
  • two research projects that enable students to practice their research skills and through which they contribute to the knowledge in specific academic fields.

Of the two research projects students need to complete, one is a case study of an international business venture. For their second research project, students address more general topics according to their own interests. Working in groups, they have six highly intensive weeks in which to complete their research with the support of lecturers from the International Management Institute. The students are given free reign except for the topic, which must be within the scope of the program, and the nature of their research, which must involve collecting empirical evidence.

Some of the topics that were tackled by student groups in the past include the following:

  • What Drives People to Buy Premium vs Mass Market Coffee? A Comparison of Switzerland and the United States
  • The Value of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Banking Industry: A Comparison of North American and European Banks
  • The Influence of Technology and Information Overload on Individual Work Efficiency: How WhatsApp affects the Work Efficiency in European Countries
  • The Influence of Ethnicity on Leadership Perception: A Comparative Analysis of the Situational Perception Between Two Leaders with Different Ethnic Backgrounds
  • The Influence of Culture on Negotiation Behavior: A Comparison Between Ecuadorian and Swiss Business Students and Alumni
  • The Effects of Mass Popularization on Luxury Brands
  • The Effect of Emerging Online Intermediaries on Brand Loyalty in the Airline Industry
  • Intercultural Training: A Comparison Between Theory and Practice in SPI-Listed Companies
  • Sexist Advertising in the Fashion Industry
  • Cross-Cultural Consumer Behavior in the Sharing Economy: Determining the Openness of Swiss Millennials Towards Renting and Sharing Clothing Items
  • Consumer Attitudes Towards the Consumption of Natural Color Cotton in Switzerland and China

Research projects such as these are an excellent opportunity for students to practice and gain skills that will be helpful to them in their professional career. At the same time, their findings add to the knowledge base of the International Management Institute. In the case of a few particularly well-executed projects, the publication of their research even contributes to the wider field of international business.

Here you find a list of the projects from the past two cohorts:
Top Ten Project List (PDF 338,8 KB)