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Professor Jasna Baloh, Director And Founder Of The Doba Business School, Maribor

Education For The 21st Century

In the 10 years that it has existed in Serbia, studies at the DOBA faculty have been completed by 410 students, 64 per cent of whom advanced following graduation, and most of whom have rich experience and major ambitions

Students pursuing online studies in the Serbian language have three Bachelor programmes and three Master programmes available in the fields of business, international business, marketing, and sales and tourism, and they see the highest value in the faculty’s flexibility, the availability of professors and mentors, as well as the ability to acquire special competencies and soft skills

Ten years have elapsed since the first generation of students enrolled in Serbia. Have your expectations been fulfilled?

Serbia was the first stop for the DOBA Business School ten years ago when it began expanding its exclusive internationally accredited online programmes to foreign markets, while today those studies include more than 1,200 students from 46 countries around the world. Our expectations have certainly been fulfilled. Our work during 10 years in Serbia has been marked by the success and satisfaction of students, connecting with the economy, expanding knowledge in companies, practical graduate and master dissertations and excellent online tutors. Otherwise, as many as half of our students who opt to study in Serbian live and work outside of Serbia, and for them, this represents a connection with their birth country and language.

Your model for fully online learning is internationally accredited. How do students communicate with professors; how do they prepare for and take exams; is there any consultation…?

Our model of online study is one of our biggest and most successful research and development projects. We are the only educator in Serbia to conduct 100% online studies and we are the only faculty in Southeast Europe with internationally accredited online studies that can be compared to those of the world’s best universities.

All of our professors are Slovenes who speak Serbian, while our online tutors are Serbs who complete a threemonth course – with only the best being able to become part of the DOBA Business School team. We also have programme managers who follow students, as well as excellent technical support

Our competition doesn’t succeed in outdoing us, because high-quality online studies are organisationally demanding – good personnel is required, i.e. professors who are almost constantly accessible, and who are practical and come from the economy. Mentors are also required, as specialists in a particular field who are available to students seven days a week.

Students are online practically every day, for many hours, and that is their way of life. As such, viewed from their perspective, flexibility is the greatest advantage of this type of study. But flexibility requires discipline, good organisation, active weekly work and the timely submission of course work.

Alongside professional knowhow, increasing value is being attached to the special competences and “soft skills” that are key to advancement. Do you develop them among your students?

We last year conducted research among employers in Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Turkey on the soft skills that they will need by 2020. Proving to be the most important to them were: problem-solving skills, customer focus abilities, risk management and crisis communication, while creative and critical thinking, as well as the use of digital/social media, are also highly valued. These skills are actually at the essence of all of our programmes because online studies develop teamwork, digital communications, networking and the organisation of time better than classical studies.

For all those seeking additional information, everything is available via our Serbian website: www.doba.rs

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