Digital marketing is evolving rapidly and keeping up with the required skills is becoming more and more challenging for professionals of all levels.
Universities as well are having a hard time updating their curricula, and this makes the pursue of a digital career a daunting task for many young students, who end up moving toward online course platforms, like Udemy or Coursera.
Blended learning, or “hybrid learning”, is a way of integrating new media with traditional teaching to give students a more flexible and customized learning experience, and it’s been proven effective in solving this issue for students and teachers alike.
In this interview, professor Dr Kyriakos Kouveliotis, Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Berlin School of Business and Innovation (BSBI), will explain to us the benefits of blended learning for people looking to start or further improve a career in digital marketing.
Please describe the story behind BSBI: How did it all start, and how has it evolved so far?
BSBI officially launched in May 2018 with a group of just nine students, offering bachelor’s and master’s programmes in business administration, marketing, finance, tourism and hospitality events management. Since then, we’ve seen more than 600 students successfully graduate and go on to start or improve their careers.
BSBI is built around three core concepts – enterprise, leadership, and success – and we try to combine traditional classroom-based teaching and blended learning. We also promote and organise a wide range of events, taking our students to visit businesses as well as bringing entrepreneurs to them so that they can learn from experts in different sectors.
Over the past year, we expanded the nationalities represented by our overall student and alumni body to a total of 104, including Latin America, South East Asia, China and the Middle East. Our international recruitment alone produced a student community belonging to 34 countries in 2021. This is an achievement that BSBI showcased with the production of over 40 testimonial videos and reviews from students. Today, BSBI has a student network of more than 3,000 students, including alumni.
We have a very diverse student body and faculty, which is a great sign of the global outlook of our proposal. Our staff, academic and non-academic, has experience in higher education in different parts of the world, which is an incredible added value for an institution like ours.
BSBI achieved 115% growth in enrolment in 2021 compared to 2020, and we recently celebrated our record intake in February 2022. The school has likewise expanded its programme portfolio and opened more opportunities by opening three new campuses in Hamburg, Paris and Athens.
What kind of courses do you offer?
We offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across four campuses in Berlin, Hamburg, Paris, and Athens, as well as offering a wide range of online and hybrid learning courses.
Since the start, we’ve worked with International Telematic University UNINETTUNO, a distance teaching university and true pioneer of distance learning. In 2020, UNINETTUNO was named as one of the top European online universities in a list compiled by Study Portals, inspired by the fact that the most popular university rankings usually don’t focus on online universities.
We also work with additional academic partners from all over the world, including the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) in the UK, Concordia University Chicago (CUC) in the USA, PPA Business School in France and Independent Studies of Science and Technology (IST) in Greece. Thanks to this network of collaborations, BSBI offer more than 30 programmes across five different faculties.
The range of programmes aims to equip students with skills and knowledge in a wide range of areas and industries, and BSBI portfolio features courses in business and administration, tourism and hospitality as well as health management, digital marketing and computer sciences.
With the recent opening of our second campus in Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city, and the launch of the Faculty of Creative Industries, we now also offer programmes in animation, graphic design and visual communication.
How do you stay ahead of your competition?
We aim to provide our students with an environment that supports all their learning needs from core modules, practical workshops, guest speaker events, dedicated career support and the option to learn German. With our excellent faculty, flexibility and small class sizes, our degrees enable students to enter the job market with confidence. Our commitment is to provide an education with rigorous standards that puts our students in line with the best in the world.
Our online sessions give students access to amazing resources like HD video lectures, virtual discussions and one-to-one time with faculty, making the learning personalised and easily accessible from anywhere in the world.
In April 2021, we announced the launch of the Faculty of Creative Industries in partnership with the awarding university, UCA. Thanks to this collaboration, we are one of the first institutions outside the UK to offer the unique opportunity to study these prestigious British courses in Germany. Hamburg is a renowned hub of creative arts within Germany and BSBI’s new campus is therefore well positioned to deliver its programmes to budding creative minds and to support the growing industry with talented graduates.
In June 2021, BSBI also announced new partnerships with PPA Business School and IST to deliver undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Paris and Athens. These collaborations will allow BSBI students to experience a multi-city education by starting their studies in the exciting cities of Paris and Athens and finalising their studies in Germany.
What are the Key Characteristics that Future Leaders should develop?
In leadership theories, we usually have three types of leaders: teachers, heroes and rulers. These leaders have influenced many generations, even centuries after they are gone. In this framework, the main element that future leaders should endorse is to acquire the relevant knowledge. This knowledge has a number of sources. In other words, leaders learn to lead via experience, examples and education.
Following this reference, what people want in a leader today is integrity, job knowledge and people building skills.
Would you say that digital marketing is still a good career in 2022?
The contemporary world is being dominated by marketing, which presents a lot of challenges. Its dynamic is so powerful that gradually the digital aspect will absorb the main marketing domain. This makes digital marketing not only appealing, but also a sound and safe choice as a career. Those that remain attached to the old methods and promotional tools will face significant constraints. We are now living in the digitisation era. This is the new globalisation, or the new industrial revolution if you want. One thing is certain, digital marketing as a career destination is a top choice.
But oftentimes we see digital marketing experts undermining the importance of formal studies. Can you tell us instead the reasons why marketing certifications are still worth it?
As always in this domain, there is the dilemma between experience and formal education. Marketing in general, and digital marketing in particular, is a sector that has seen cataclysmic changes in this era. New digital products, new software, new social media platforms and new tools.
There is hardly any other sector which has seen such a tremendous transformation apart from technology itself. In the case of marketing, these two sectors are now “married”.
Apart from that, technology itself is no longer a helping instrument, it has generated methodology and mentality itself and this is exactly where it met marketing. So, for any current or future marketeer, educational norms are required to learn the essential skills properly. After that, experience will do the rest. It is exactly what happened with architects many years ago when AutoCad was introduced, then the design of buildings which indirectly changed the profession forever. For marketers in particular, micro-credentials also provide a valuable resource.
Which trends or technologies should future leaders keep an eye on?
Here, the answer is very clear: artificial intelligence and the Metaverse.
Technology has become an ordinary and inseparable part of our lives today. Every day, we use smart parking lots, stairwells and sensory corridors, cameras and millions of small and large devices, all based on artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been introduced as a branch of science that tries to simulate the methods that humans use to solve their problems. AI experts try to teach the machine to act like a human. The term ‘intelligence’ is defined as the competence or ability to solve a problem, and artificial means any systematic human method that may accomplish problem-solving goals. As Canhoto and Clear mentioned just two years ago, ‘Meta AI’ refers to an artificial intelligence system that can automatically learn from given data or adapt quickly to new environments with minimal supervision by human experts. Because Meta AI can be a great automation tool, the Meta AI system can be used in a variety of deep learning projects.
In addition, in this highly connected and super-intelligent society, the demand for data processing is increasing. With this acceleration, Meta Artificial Intelligence will surely benefit many users in the near future.
The world is changing at an incredible rate, and different processes are using technology more and more every day. One of the applications of AI which is still very effective today, is the simplification of tasks for employees and office automation. In the future, robots will be able to, like a writer, produce articles or create conferences and instructional videos. The smarter AI becomes, the more advanced the new education system will be. AI provides a variety of possibilities for students with different physical problems. Finally, despite all the statistics and predictions, only time can show the real and amazing impact of artificial intelligence in our future world.