Does the Curriculum of a Bachelor Program in International Business Meet the Competency Requirements of Internationalizing SMEs?

Louise B. van Weerden, Peter C. van der Sijde


This paper contributes to the research on discrepancy between employers´ needs and graduates’ competencies acquired at bachelor education. Given the fact that internationalizing SMEs have considered international relation competency (IRC) to be the key competency for starting export professionals, this qualitative study examines whether this key competency with its selected knowledge, skills and attitudes has been integrated into the curriculum of a bachelor program in International Business at a Dutch University of Applied Sciences. Based on a document analysis of this bachelor program and interviews with lecturers and alumni of this program, we found that the training of international relationship competency is almost absent in the curriculum. Both lecturers and alumni envision skills and attitude development to be incorporated into the curriculum of this internationally oriented bachelor program. The findings offer some suggestions for further research concerning developing cooperation between business and education and the assessment of international relation competency within the context of IB education.

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Copyright (c) 2020 Louise B. van Weerden, Peter C. van der Sijde

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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