FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE
The ancient city of Lucerne is a wonderful setting for one of Switzerland’s newest universities, which was founded in 2000 from a merger of separate colleges that date back more than 600 years. The University of Lucerne’s dynamic combination of old and new is nowhere more apparent than in its Business Law Institute (IFU/BLI), launched in 2009.
“Our size affords us the freedom and flexibility to do things that other colleges can’t,” say Franco Taisch, Professor of Business Law and Chairman of the board of directors. “We try to collaborate with all the university’s faculties to establish a fully integrated perspective. We teach subjects in combination, and look for the places where they overlap and impact on one another.”
Applied learning and basic research
Operating at the intersection between law and business administration, the Business Law Institute delivers research, education and scientific consultancy, and has cultivated a healthy and productive dialogue with industry. It eschews the traditional faculty model of a purely theoretical approach, instead sending its students into the world of work, where they can apply their trans-disciplinary skills to help solve business problems.
“We bridge the gap between science and practice,” says Professor Taisch, “and our students’ methods are proving extremely effective. Companies very often take up their suggestions, which makes us especially proud.” In return, the research teams have drawn on their discoveries in real business practice to inspire further research.
The institute specialises in the legal and regulatory business environment of enterprises, with an emphasis on those with a strong personal focus. For instance, it has taken the unusual direction of partnering with hospital managers and physicians to offer training for an executive certificate in healthcare business leadership. And just one example of how instrumental its active involvement in start-up partnerships has been is the co-development of Healthbank – an important international medical records database.
In a recent survey, Switzerland’s National Bureau of Statistics observed not only that master’s graduates from the University of Lucerne enjoyed 97 per cent employment rates, but also that after five years, almost half of its former students were in leadership roles. “I think that this clearly demonstrates that we are educating the leaders of tomorrow,” says Professor Taisch.