Professor Dragan Lončar: We Brought Companies to Our Faculty

The Faculty of Economics can boast that, in the last 10 years, it enabled students to do their work practice in the best companies in Serbia

A unique programme implemented at the University of Belgrade that will allow students to get acquainted with real business problems in auditing, marketing, banking, tourism, management, was launched at the Faculty of Economics in early October. Ekof Business Lab will give young people a chance to do their practice not in a company, but at the Faculty, for the first time. We spoke with Dragan Lončar, Vice Dean for Cooperation with the Business Sector and Organization of the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade, about what this programme entails.


A lab for young economists was launched at your faculty in early October. Can you tell us more about this programme?

— Ekof business lab is conceived as a unique project at the University of Belgrade, which will provide students with an unusual training programme this autumn. Through the mentoring process and inhouse work practice, done at the Faculty of Economics, they will acquire skills that will make them even more desirable candidates in the job market tomorrow. The mentors will be representatives of reputable companies, engaged in different business activities and will rotate every month, while the trainees will be able to acquire various knowledge and information.  The mentors will assign students with tasks that reflect the real-world problems that a company faces daily. The first month, EY will be the host of the Ekof Business Lab, so accounting and auditing students will discover the secrets of this business. In addition to the desire to provide students with top-notch knowledge in the field of economic science, we have made a special effort in recent years to fully equip them for the business world. This practice will develop practical thinking in students and provide them with useful business experiences.

How did the idea for this programme come about?

The Faculty of Economics can boast that, in the last 10 years, it enabled students to do their work practice in the best companies  in Serbia. This time around, we wanted to reverse the situation and bring businesses to college for students to get better acquainted with the business world. The most important thing is to allow them to study and see what real business looks like in our country, as well as to learn about the situations that await them when they graduate and start working.

You are the Vice Dean for cooperation with the business sector and organization at the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade. How would you rate your cooperation with companies and what do you think of the new law on dual education in higher education?

— The Centre for Cooperation with Businesses at our Faculty provides professional development for students thanks to its strong cooperation with the business sector. The Faculty has signed cooperation agreements with over 500 domestic and foreign companies operating in our country. I am very proud of the fact that we have come a long way in this process. It is projects such as the Ekof Business Lab that promote hands-on work, workbased learning and ultimately lifelong learning. The principles of the dual education system and the way this system is implemented in European countries in the education sector have brought great benefits to students, which in the end, has a positive impact on the economy of the country. Regarding our educational system, we will have to make numerous adjustments for everyone in this process to be winners.

Ekof is known for its innovative programmes that are an addition to regular education. Do you have another project in the pipeline?

— In addition to the Ekof Business Lab, we have a project that promotes student initiative, entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking called Startup Centre. In this centre, students develop their ideas and turn them into a business. For the last two years, Economics and Finance has been one of the most popular programmes at our faculty which is implemented in line with the programme of the renowned London School of Economics (LSE). The good news is that the Faculty of Economics is developing its cooperation with the LSE and, as of this year, is introducing another subject in the English language with a strong focus on business called “Business and Management”. Students who choose these programmes will receive two degrees at the end of their studies – one from the Faculty of Economics and the other from the London School of Economics, which explains the huge interest in these studies.

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