The cooperative education system – a cross-link between academic studies and practical experiences


COMPASS trainers hold lectureships  at different Universities of Applied Sciences and Business Schools. However, next to this, they also lecture  at the International University of Cooperative Education (IBA), whose teaching is based on the dual education system . COMPASS lecturers supervise the courses hotel, gastronomy and tourism.

IBA is the biggest private provider of universities for cooperative education. Since its opening of the Cologne branch in 2009, I am working there as a honouree professor, next to my employment as senior consultant at COMPASS GmbH.

What makes the system of the dual education at IBA unique is the integration of practical and theoretical phases within one week – the so-called “model of split week”. This includes 20 hours of work at a company and 20 hours lectures in business management.

Furthermore, every semester special block seminars take place which the students are attending once for 2 weeks in a row. Within these two weeks, they are taught about special, disciplinary topics as well as general business economic contents that are linked to their particular professional orientation. One of my lectures at these block seminars is called “International Hotel Marketing”.

Herein, I am linking theoretical principles to real case studies from my everyday work life as hotel consultant. With this management-oriented approach I can prepare the students on a current basis and for the efficient processing of executive functions. The focus lies on different channels of social media marketing and the use of the search engine google . However, it also includes more “substantial” topics like the development of a “hygiene-management-program” according to HACCP guidelines and the planning as well as implementation of mystery checks.

Next to those hard skills – the expertise – we also teach soft skills which are very important in hotel business. Therefore, I make use of my own experiences. Conflict situations in an international context that I encountered serve as examples and in that way I can prepare our students for such situations. These topics would not be dealt with in a pure academic study.

As a result more and more companies recruit graduates from cooperative educations because the exchange of scientific contents is closely linked to a practical training.

After six semesters of study and their final paper , students complete their studies and leave the IBA with an officially accredited Bachelor of Arts.

Then we, as their former lecturers, are looking back to a varied and exciting time.

Author: Guillermo Ribes

I studied Tourismus & Hospitality Management (B.A.) at the CBS in Cologne. My consultancy focus lies in emerging destinations and trade-fair marketing as well as in hospitality marketing. I am also main responsible for online marketing and offer management trainings and lectures. Contact:

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