UD's James O'Neill presents during a session at Varna Free University in Bulgaria.

Bulgarian business education

O'Neill delivers master's classes, given honorary title at Bulgarian university

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8:16 a.m., July 5, 2012--James O’Neill, director of the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware, recently joined a group of international faculty to teach a master’s class, “Leadership in a Global Environment: Global Aspects of International Economic Relations,” at Varna Free University “Chernorizets Hrabar” (VFU) in Bulgaria.

The class, which hosted over 150 master’s students, was part of a greater 10-day VFU event, “Experts and Students – Partnership for Competitiveness,” a major strategic initiative the school has in place to achieve sustainable competitiveness through what it calls the “triangle of knowledge” – connecting education, research and business.

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O’Neill, who is also professor of economics in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, joined George Vredeveld, Alpaugh Professor of Economics and founder and director of the Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati, and Richard MacDonald, assistant professor of economics at St. Cloud (Minn.) State University, to deliver lessons on factors of economic growth and entrepreneurship.

Anna Nedyalkova, rector of VFU, welcomed the professors and noted the program served as a “beautiful and powerful ending” to the other events VFU had initiated throughout 2012.

Each day included lectures by the three professors followed by case studies and role-playing to introduce the students to the main principles and facets of global trade relations. 

O’Neill focused his lectures on economic freedom and case studies in entrepreneurship.

“I discussed the Heritage Foundation’s evaluation of freedom and economic growth and the 10 factors that show positive correlation between freedom and growth,” said O’Neill. “The driving force of innovation is entrepreneurship, so countries need a system that will facilitate an individual bringing an idea to the marketplace.”

He closed the lecture with a case study on Apple, at which time students discussed the most important features every entrepreneur should have.

As part of the program, O’Neill and the other professors also had the opportunity to meet with the management board of the university and research directors of the master’s programs.

At that time they were introduced to the development of the university, an overview of its programs and the relationships it maintains with business enterprises.

At the close of the event and with approval from VFU’s academic board, Nedyalkova awarded O’Neill, Vredeveld and McDonald with the title “Member of the Academic Forum of VFU” for their service and contributions.

“This is a young university, established post-communism, and the rector is an astute visionary,” said O’Neill. “They are setting up a university that is innovative and gets away from some of the structured elements of the traditional business and economics colleges. It was an honor to receive this title and be a part of the development of the university’s students.”

Article by Kathryn Meier

Photos courtesy VFU

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