A masters in international business management conducted entirely on the internet has been set up by the University of Picardy Jules-Verne in Amiens, France.
The course in management of organisations in an international context began in October and is being run as a partnership between Jules-Verne, two Budapest business schools and a French-language centre of advanced studies in Athens. Five of the 15 teachers are Hungarian, the others French, and all are expected to work 100 hours above their normal annual workload.
Alain Deppe, professor of marketing at the faculty of economics and management at Jules-Verne, spent nine months planning the one-year course, which consists of 12 modules and includes a compulsory six-month business placement.
It is open to students with a French licence (equal to a bachelors degree) or equivalent in any field of studies, or professionals taking continuing training.
Thirty students have so far signed on; apart from one Greek, all are French or Hungarian aged between 25 and 35, who enrolled to raise their level of knowledge and diversify their skills. They pay standard fees of E155 (Pounds 97) a year.
Students follow individually tailored schedules that allow them to join the course at any time and work at their own pace over one, two or three years. They keep in frequent contact with their teachers via email.
"To take the course in a year, students must spend at most two weeks on each module, so teachers must respond very quickly, within 48 hours," says Professor Deppe, who keeps students' progress under strict electronic supervision.
He says his course can take a maximum 50 students but he hopes to collaborate with French-speaking foreign establishments, including universities in Tunisia and Turkey, which will recruit tutors locally. Professor Deppe is also planning a trip to Shanghai to investigate helping set up a training programme there.