The first editions of the Barcelona GSE Summer Schools in Banking and Clusters, which took place from June 25-July 6 2007, have received outstanding evaluations from participants.
The two-week summer schools were designed for practitioners, researchers and graduate students seeking to further their understanding of both theory and practice in their area of expertise. Courses were taught by a faculty composed of leading academics and practitioners, and both schools were organized to allow students to choose between an intensive training experience by participating in all offered courses or opt for a lighter course load of fewer classes.
Overall, both summer schools generated great interest and received a large number of applications. The Barcelona GSE Banking Summer School, directed by Xavier Freixas (Barcelona GSE and UPF) and Moshe Kim (University of Haifa and UPF), attracted 68 applicants from 32 different nationalities. Applicants varied in education level, but the majority (74%) held at least a master degree, with 26% holding PhDs.
Harvard Business School Professor Christian Ketels teaches a course on cluster strategy
Likewise, the Barcelona GSE Clusters Summer School, directed by Emiliano Duch (President, Cluster Competitiveness Group), received 71 applications from 24 different nationalities. The outcome of the Summer School admissions process resulted in an inaugural class composed of 102 participants of 38 different nationalities.
When asked about their decision to attend the Barcelona GSE Summer School, participants cited diverse reasons. Most attendees were practitioners who were motivated to learn the latest techniques and practices for their jobs and refresh their understanding of the theoretical concepts underlying their work. Some applicants were enrolled in PhD programs and wanted to learn more about the practical aspects of their studies.
Maria Pierrestegui, Consultant for the Productive Modernization Program of the Rio Negro Province of the Inter-American Development Bank, reported that she decided to attend the Clusters Summer School because "it was a unique opportunity to learn cluster strategy from the world's leading theorists and practitioners while meeting other people from around the world who are involved with all aspects of cluster projects. To top it off, it all takes place in Catalonia, Spain, which is one of the pioneers in cluster theory implementation, and specifically in Barcelona, which is a wonderful city."
Students and professors of the Cluster Summer School gather for a group photo at the reception
Banking Summer School participant Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Senior Economist at the Representative Office for Asia and the Pacific of the Bank for International Settlements in Hong Kong, said that she chose to use one of her two weeks of annual vacation to attend the summer school because "I knew about all the professors who were teaching the courses, and I wanted to learn more empirical practices useful for my job. Much of my work involves analyses and empirical research, so being exposed to top professors teaching new techniques is extremely enriching."
When asked to fill out evaluation forms at the conclusion of the summer schools, participants gave high ratings to both programs and reported a high level of satisfaction with their experiences. Asked to rate the quality of instruction, the structure of the courses, and the quality of materials on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being poor, 5 being excellent), participants in the Clusters Summer School gave the instructors an average rating of 4.22, the course contents and methodology and average rating of 4.17, and the materials and average rating of 3.99. Likewise, the Banking Summer School received an average rating of 4.2 for instructors, 4.23 for the course contents and methodology, and 4.2 for the quality of materials.
Barcelona GSE Board of Trustees Member member Joaquim Silvestre converses with Finance Summer School co-Director Moshe Kim
Regarding the course content, Banking Summer School student Alicia Garcia-Herrero reported "about 90% of the course content is directly applicable to my job." Speaking of the structure of one of the courses she enrolled in, she said "there is enough material for a full year course, but the essential content is distilled and taught during a 1-week interval."
Overall, the most valuable endorsement of the Barcelona GSE Summer Schools comes from its earned reputation with satisfied alumni: every one of the summer school participants reported that they would recommend the Banking and Clusters Summer Schools to both friends and colleagues.
From left to right: Barcelona GSE General Director Eduard Vallory, 22@ President Miquel Barceló, City Hall Director of Promotions Miquel Mateu, and Competitiveness Institute President Emilià Duch