Should you study at home or abroad? Focus on your study or gain practical work experience? Study in Slovak or in a foreign language? These are question that young people face when choosing a university. If they opt for the Department of International Management at the Faculty of Management, they no longer have to worry. Both at home and abroad, foreign languages, quality knowledge, but also time for work practice and money-earning all rolled into one.

05. 04. 2024 09.24 hod.
By: Naša univerzita Magazine Staff

In its current form, the Department of International Management is a relatively recent facility, established in 2019. Its first head was René Pawera. The department of international management is unique in all of Comenius University because tuition is offered in four languages: Slovak, French, German and English.

"In Europe today, English is a matter of course, but if our graduates want to succeed internationally, they need to master a second or a third language. And that is precisely what they get at our department, allowing them to stand out and achieve success later," says the current head of the department, Marián Šuplata. He emphasizes that learning other languages in addition to English is in line with the ideals on which the European Union was founded. "The vision of the founding fathers of a united Europe, Schuman and Adenauer, was not a 'melting pot': they thought it was important to build unity while appreciating the unique nature of our civilization’s roots, the richness of our cultures, diversity, subsidiarity and solidarity, all based on respect. These are ideas we subscribe to. Only then can we respect ourselves and be true partners to others."

With his passion for the ideals of the founding fathers of a united Europe, Associate Professor Šuplata could hardly deny the trace that his long-term engagement with EU institutions has left on him; during the negotiations of Slovakia's entry into the Union, he worked as a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the team of the main negotiator of the Slovak Republic with the EU; later in the European Commission, he was a member of the cabinet of the first Slovak European Commissioner. In the Prodi Commission the Slovak commissioner was responsible for enterprise and information society, in the Barroso Commission the remit of Slovakia’s commissioner was education, culture, youth, sport and multilingualism.

Long-term cooperation with French universities

The department has a long-standing cooperation with several French universities, most prominently University of Lorraine in Nancy. The director of its Center for European Studies Professor Yves Petit sometimes comes over as a guest teacher: "I really value our cooperation. Such mutual exchange is excellent and strengthens the dimension of a united Europe, which I consider important," he says. According to him, Slovak students are attentive, enthusiastic, and show an active interest. The possibility of studying in French was an attraction that brought Alexandra Sekáčová and Simona Kupčeková to the department. Both graduated from a bilingual French secondary school and for them, the international management department means an ideal combination of studying in their home country while at the same time not losing contact with the French language. "Everyone speaks English, so another language is an advantage. The study focuses on practical work, allows you to earn alongside it and gives you the opportunity to study in French, which opens many doors, and that is a great bonus," they say.

German as a huge advantage

The German programme is based on intensive cooperation with the entire German-speaking area of Europe, including the Swiss, French, German and Austrian chambers of commerce, multinational companies and country embassies. Teachers from Vienna regularly visit as guest lecturers and the department even has an in-house lecturer from Austria. These international contacts of the department make it easier for the students and alumni to obtain internships in Swiss, Austrian or German companies.

"I am very glad that international management in Bratislava is taught in German," said the president of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce, Peter Knap for Our University magazine. "Many think that in the world of business and multinational corporations, English is enough. But knowledge of German, especially in our Central European region, is a great advantage. It allows for closer personal contacts that I often witness personally." The chamber helps the department to find practical traineeships for its students.

According to Peter Knap, the goal is not to enable brain drain after study but the opposite: showing young people that they can build a career at home. "Companies should help people to stay and work here, in our country. We want to build a Switzerland here together," says the president of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce.


  • Teachers at the department teach in Slovak, French, German, and English, and publish in eight languages.
  • Over two hundred students study at the department.
  • Eight internal research and teaching staff and sixteen external Slovak and international collaborators are active at the department.
  • Graduates acquire the ability to find employment mainly at multinational companies, international organizations, and in international business.
  • The department cooperates with the Swiss, French, German and Austrian chambers of commerce, relying on their rich experience and a network of international contacts.
  • The department is a permanent member of the extended presidency of the ERECO-PGV international research and academic network . For years, the department has been invited to lecture at the European Economic Forum.


A wide range of opportunities

International management alumni do not just work for multinational corporations. They can go in different directions and find their calling in international organizations. The department actively helps them find internships with European organizations. For example, Nikola Žureková, a student of the German master program, completed two internships during her studies - in the Slovak Parliament and in the European Parliament, both in Brussels and in Strasbourg.

"Last but not least, students receive solid theoretical knowledge so they are well equipped to start their own business," says René Pawera, a long-time teacher and former head of the department. All of these advantages make studying at the department very attractive to applicants, many of whom are from other countries. With the help of Erasmus+ the department is truly international: students come from countries like Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Romania, Turkey, Pakistan and others. A number of students from these countries are interested in continuing with PhD studies.

Work internship during study is an advantage rather than an obstacle

Doesn’t studying suffer when students begin working too early? "It’s in the DNA of our faculty to support work stays during studies. Our master plan includes three points: teachers - work practice - students. We give students the freedom and teachers give them trust, but expect convincing results. Our classes are in true university style where it’s not the teacher talking and then giving a test, handing out marks, while students are passive all the time. Our teaching approach is different. For example, some time ago we did away with state exams. Now, exams take the form of a colloquium, at which teachers hold a discussion with students," says René Pawera.

The students we spoke to agree that the school lets them combine work and study, leaving time for other things. Both Alexandra and Simona work part-time in French companies, and Alexandra is also a research assistant at the department. Nikola Žureková works part-time for a German company and is keen on sports, riding horses competitively. Sabina Rýzková, who, like Nikola, is completing the German programme this year, joined an international project of the Sustainable Development Goals department, with took her to a conference in Georgia. She also received the Rector’s Award for her excellent academic results, for her involvement in international research, her successful involvement in the academic senate of the Faculty of Management, and for representing Slovakia in kick-box.

Research cooperation

The department maintains many international contacts, but does not neglect research activity either. "We publish in eight languages - with internationally renowned publishers: Springer, Routledge, Taylor and Francis, Emerald, Harmattan, Wolters Kluwer and others. Department members often participate in projects and the department also offers a subject on the management of EU projects and programmes. Like other subjects, it is closely connected with practice. In the past weeks, we submitted applications for several international and domestic projects: we cooperate with an Austrian partner as the lead facility to create a consortium in the field of international management involving dozens of universities from Europe, America, Australia, Asia and Africa. We are a member of the ERECOPGV Grenoble-based international research and academic network which has a 30-year tradition. Its president will visit our department in the coming weeks. Additionally, I consider it a sign of confidence that I was unanimously elected as a member of the enlarged Bureau at the 2021 plenary session in Porto, Portugal. The next conference and plenary session, which always take place at a different university and in a different country, will be held in Montpellier, France. In the next weeks, I will be negotiating on cooperation in international management with another notable consortium of universities. The chancellor of one of the most prestigious universities in the world has invited us to a dialogue," says associate professor Šuplata.

It is expected of the department members that they will transfer the reality of international practice to the academic field, develop international contacts, and promote active cooperation with international experts.

Plans for teaching in another foreign language

The Department of International Management has bold plans for the future. "Our vision is to add another language to the teaching in Slovak, German, French and English: our applicants most frequently demand Spanish. We also want to teach general professional skills, so that students become acquainted with the international environment - both from the perspective of the private and the public sectors in their field. They should, however, also learn the basics of diplomacy, understand the uniqueness and challenges of intercultural contexts, etc. University education can be made better by imparting knowledge which reflects deeper historical contexts associated with the field. Our students should grow up to be well-rounded personalities who can successfully establish themselves in the international environment. We interact with students and people from the field to see whether it’s really happening and how we can further improve our work," says Marián Šuplata.

Barbora Tancerová