Enhancing students’ short-term mobility through International Business Week network

International Business Week (IBW) is a network of 13 higher education institutions from 11 European countries. LAB University of Applied Sciences has been a member of the network since the first years of its operations over a decade ago.

The aim of the network is “to bring students from different countries and cultures together to work on a business/financial case” (LAB 2021). Each institution organizes a business week annually or every second year. All business weeks are open to all network members’ students. Thus, students have an opportunity to choose an intensive week from several different options.

Planning and developing business weeks in annual network meetings

Organization of intensive weeks requires some coordination between the institutions. A network meeting is organized annually at the end of each academic year. This is an important forum to discuss the feedback from the intensive weeks organized during the past year and to plan the schedules etc. for the coming academic year.

This year the network meeting was organized in Setúbal, Portugal in May. Members from ten institutions were present in the meeting. The schedules for the business weeks of the coming academic year were decided. Again, several interesting topics and destinations are available for students all over Europe. LAB will organize its own intensive week 12‒16 February 2024 with the theme Run a business – a simulation game challenge.

[A group of people in the meeting room.]
Image 1. Annual meeting of IBW network was organized in Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal in May 2023. (Image: International Business Week)

Shaping the business weeks towards blended intensive programmes

During the academic year 2023‒2024 most institutions will include a virtual period in their business weeks following the principles of Erasmus+ blended intensive programmes (BIP). The idea of the BIPs is to combine physical mobility with virtual learning. During the virtual period, students work online simultaneously on shared assignments. (Finnish National Agency for Education 2023.)

Compared to a pure physical intensive week, the added online part gives an opportunity for the students to team up and prepare for the programme already in advance. Or an online part after the intensive week enables a catch-up and a possibility to conclude the assignments. Secondly, a BIP-format programme allows sending institutions to pay grants for the students participating in the programme from their budget for European mobility (Finnish National Agency for Education 2023).

Benefits for students and institutions

Participating in an international intensive week is a great opportunity for students to gain international experience in a short period. All intensive weeks host students from several different nationalities and students are assigned to work in multi-national teams. Being part of the network is also an opportunity for the institutions to promote internationalization – and a good ground for creating new contacts and partnerships.


Sirpa Varajärvi works as a Senior Lecturer at LAB University of Applied Sciences. She has represented LAB in the IBW network since 2017.


Finnish National Agency for Education. 2023. European mobility for higher education 2021–2027 – general information. Cited 8 Jun 2023. Available at https://www.oph.fi/en/programmes/european-mobility-higher-education-2021-2027-general-information

LAB. 2021. Standards of the network of international business weeks. LAB University of Applied Sciences. Unpublished document.