Big in business

June 9, 2006

Alan Osborn turns the spotlight on Liechtenstein in the latest in our series

Even though the inhabitants of tiny Liechtenstein speak German and the principality is sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria, most of the masters programmes at its only university are taught in English.

Liechtenstein focuses heavily on global financial services, an issue that is reflected in the courses on offer at the Liechtenstein University of Applied Sciences. Bachelors in business management and information systems and masters in banking and financial management, entrepreneurship and business information systems feature.

As a small university in a small country, it punches well above its weight.

It was founded in 1961 as a joint initiative between business and the state.

Klaus Nascher, the rector, said: "It is especially important, with five universities within a 50km radius, that we take advantage of our strengths and develop them.

"We are particularly close to the state and the authorities. We are able to work with the Government or with the state departments on projects, consultations, and knowledge and technology transfer."

Young Liechtensteiners attend the university but it is mandatory for local students to spend at least one year or semester studying in a country with another language.

Liechtenstein has halfway-house European Union membership as part of the European Economic Area and much importance is attached to cross-border student exchanges. Most exchange students come from German-speaking countries.

The pro-business nature of the Liechtenstein economy is reflected in a high level of business sponsorship for the university: almost half its annual budget of SF14.7 million (£6.5 million) is described as self-financing .

The university is working on a leadership project for the Government and a study on education as a public good. It was involved in drawing up a national economic mission statement with the Government.

KEY FIGURES

  • Number of students at the university: about 840
  • Population: approximately 35,000
  • Students who are Liechtensteiners: 85 per cent
  • Liechtensteiners who attend university: 30 per cent

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