Students from six European universities helped companies respond to sustainability challenges

28 Jul 2023 Jana Sosnová

Students in the Innovation in Positive Management course | Ondřej Částek Archive

ECON MUNI offers many unique opportunities to connect studies with practice. In the spring of last year and this year, students had the opportunity to attend a course where they experienced what it is like to work on a project commissioned by the global cosmetics brand Yves Rocher. The best of the first round won a week's stay in Cagliari, Italy. Petra Cendelínová, a student of business economics and management, took part in the competition.

"The week in Cagliari was a great experience with amazing people," says the student. She learned about the course, which was created thanks to the collaboration of six European universities involved in the EDUC network, through an email from her lecturer. "I was very interested in the possibility of winning a trip to Sardinia, so I decided to give it a try," she says of her initial motivation.

In the Innovation in Positive Management course, students focused on sustainable business development. They also worked on an assignment from the natural cosmetics brand Yves Rocher, for which they received feedback directly from the company representatives. The course was taught in English by experts in the field online in parallel at six European universities. Students from ECON MUNI were teamed with their peers from the University of Nanterre in Paris. In addition to them, students from the University of Potsdam, Germany, Cagliari, Italy, Rennes, France, and the University of Pecs, Hungary, also took the course.

According to Petra Cendelínová, her stay in Sardinia helped her to gain even more insight into sustainability issues. "It has broadened my horizons in terms of what it actually means to be sustainable, and that every employee can contribute to making the company more sustainable," she explains. She also became more familiar with the seventeen United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which until then she only had a superficial understanding of. She also highlights the experience of working in an international team. "I've had the opportunity to see how other nations approach their studies and I have to say there are really big differences," she says.

Six students from each participating university attended lectures on sustainable development and positive management in Cagliari. In their free time, they explored local cultural and natural sites. "The main outcome of the week was a joint project where we worked in international teams to propose changes towards sustainability for a hotel in Sardinia," explains the student. The team members with the best proposal won three free nights at the hotel.

Working on a joint project with foreign colleagues has been an invaluable experience for Petra Cendelínová. "I appreciate the opportunity to fly to Italy for a week, three weeks before my final exams, and to broaden my horizons beyond the topic of my bachelor thesis. I gained inspiration and spent time with great people I probably would never have met otherwise at the faculty if it weren't for this course and our time together in Cagliari," she reflects. Among other things, the stay confirmed that she was comfortable working in an international environment – which is why she went to Austria for a study trip the very next semester. She decided to further explore the topic of sustainability in her master's thesis.

The unique Innovation in Positive Management course, which culminated in a week-long stay in Cagliari in 2022, was created as part of the EDUCating for Positive Management project. It aims to promote ideas of sustainability in university management education. According to Petra Cendelínová, students should not be afraid to get involved in similar projects. "I don't think I will ever go to Sardinia for free again. At the same time, you will broaden your horizons, understand a certain topic in depth and, consequently, you can dazzle people in a job interview or in your personal life," she sums up and adds that any experience of an international environment is indispensable in today's globalised world.

The project "EDUCating for Positive Management (EDUC+M)", registration number 0286/2020, is funded by Erasmus+ Key Action 2: Collaboration on innovation and exchange of best practices.

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Petra Cendelínová is studying for a Master's degree in Business Economics and Management at ECON MUNI. Her master thesis deals with ethical food purchasing. In life, she follows the motto that people regret more the things they didn’t do than the things they did. Therefore, she tries to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible for self-development.

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Petra Cendelínová in Cagliari, Italy | Archive of Petra Cendelínová

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