Prioritizing internationalization: William & Mary - AUEB collaboration 

The Athens University of Economics and Business has put internationalization at the top of its strategic priorities. The University, based on its very successful presence in the Erasmus program which annually hosts more than 300 students, and its 8 English-language Postgraduate Programs, has made in the last year a number of contacts with international organizations with the aim of expanding its international activities. Specifically, these contacts concern:

  • Further improvement of the international ranking of its postgraduate programs taught in English
  • Adoption of an English-language undergraduate degree
  • Collaborations with leading Universities from the USA, the United Kingdom, China and India, aiming at the pursuit of educational projects of common interest such as: exchange of staff and students, joint research, global hubs, joint degrees, summer schools, etc.
  • Improved presence of the University in international fora via its participation in the Study in Greece program


William & Mary

William & Mary is the second oldest higher learning institution in the United States. It was founded in 1693 by royal charter officially granted by the English crown and is based in Williamsburg, Virginia. Known as the "alma mater of the nation," W&M has trained prominent leaders for more than three centuries, including US Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler. Recent alumni include Jill Ellis '88, who won two World Cups as the coach of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team, award-winning actress Glenn Close '74, current White House Communications Director Jen Psaki '00, and Secretary of Defense for George Bush and Barack Obama administrations Robert M. Gates '65. William & Mary has strong partnerships with leading universities in the world such as Oxford University, the Université de Montpellier, Keio University, Yonsei University, Beijing Normal University, and the National University of Singapore.


W&M – AUEB collaboration


W&M within the Global Immersion Program was hosted by the Athens University of Economics and Business, bringing to Athens its Executive MBA program, consisting of 17 students and professor, Mr. Rajiv Kohli. This is a very honorable collaboration for AUEB, as W&M traditionally visits China with its Executive MBA. The guests stayed for a week and a comprehensive program of visits was designed for them, which aimed at giving students a picture not only of the macroeconomic size of the country, but also of its entrepreneurship. The coordinator of the program is the Vice Rector for International Cooperation and Development, Professor Vassilis Papadakis.

Rajiv Kohli is Professor of Business at William & Mary University. Studies have ranked him among the top 20 researchers in the field of information management systems (MIS) worldwide. Dr. Kohli is ranked as the leader in a recent study on thought leadership in health information technology (HIT). He received his Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Dr. Kohli has taught at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Tsinghua University, RWTH Germany, National University of Singapore, City University of Hong Kong, as an Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Further, he has taught at the University of Notre Dame, Lehigh University, the University of Maryland College Park and the University of Maryland University College where he was awarded the Teaching Recognition Award. In addition, for more than 15 years, he has worked for or advised companies such as IBM Global Services, SAS Corporation, United Parcel Service, Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., AM General, MCI Telecommunications, Westinghouse Electronics, Wipro Corporation and Godrej Industries, and many healthcare organizations.



Short description of the Educational Program

Monday 25 October:

The visit started in the morning with a presentation by Dr. Marianthi Anastasatou, economist, Bank of Greece, who described the Greek crisis, how we managed to recover and the prospects of the Greek economy. 


Afterwards a lecture was delivered by AUEB’s Professor Nikos Vettas, General Manager of IOBE, who focused on the business environment, the sectors that contribute to the Greek economy and discussed strategy proposals for investment / strengthening of specific sectors of the Greek economy which the potential to provide significant impetus to growth dynamics.


In the afternoon, the Executive MBA students of William and Mary University visited remotely the Pfizer Global Center for Digital Innovation in Thessaloniki. Launched in 2020, GCDI now employs more than 300 people and focuses on innovative new products in support of Pfizer's digital strategy. The students had the opportunity to be informed by the Pfizer Management Team, consisting of Nico Gariboldi, Senior Director, Anastasia Matonaki, Senior Project Manager, Gely Iliopoulou, HR Manager, and Dimitris Papakonstantinou, Finance Partner. The executives explained the reasons why Thessaloniki was chosen among many European cities to house the GCDI and communicated Pfizer's vision for Greece. In addition, they discussed with the students the strengths and prospects of the Greek scientific potential in high technology fields.


Tuesday 26 October:

The next morning the Athens Stock Exchange welcomed the students of the Executive MBA of W&M, together with students of the Executive MBA at AUEB. The guest students, together with their teachers Mr. Rajiv Kohli and V. Papadakis announced the start of the program and attended speeches by Socrates Lazaridis, CEO of ATHEX, and Rozita Terlixidou, CEO's office at ATHEX, on: “Stock Markets Outlooks, the Present, and Challenges”. In addition, Mr. Dimitris Karaiskakis, COO ATHEX and Dimitris Gardelis, IT Systems Development Director at ATHEX, gave a talk on: ATHEX Digital Strategy. Finally, AUEB’s professor, Mr. George Doukidis, gave a talk on: Digital Transformation in the post-Covid Era, in which he presented four real case studies of digital transformation of Greek companies.


In the afternoon, the Executive MBA students of William and Mary University, guests of the Athens University of Economics and Business together with students of the Executive MBA at AUEB, visited the Ministry of Digital Governance. The students had the opportunity to attend a presentation by the Minister of State and Digital Government Mr. Kyriakos Pierrakakis on "Transforming the Greek State". The Minister developed his vision for the digital transformation of the state, analyzed his strategy for the realization of this vision and discussed with the students of the two institutions the challenges he faces in his endeavor.



Wednesday 27 October:

In the morning, Apivita (Cosmetics) welcomed the guests from W&M at its facilities in Markopoulo, Attica. The students had the opportunity to attend presentations by Mr. Tassos Tsoukalas, Head of Apivita HR, Education & Sustainability as well as by Mr. Sotiris Pastras, CSR Manager. The speeches focused on issues of sustainability and corporate social responsibility, as APIVITA is the first Greek company that has ever managed to be awarded the most recognized certification in the world, which is given to companies that achieve the highest levels of social and environmental responsibility. An important part of the day was the visit to the Apivita beehives and the excellent description which portrayed the way of life and development of the bee community.


At noon, the CEO of OTE (Telecommunications) Mr. Michalis Tsamaz and the top management team of the Organization welcomed the Rector and Vice Rector of the Athens University of Economics, Professors Dimitris Bourantonis and Vassilis Papadakis, respectively, together with the professor of W&M, Dr Rajiv Kohli, and the 17 Executive MBA guest students. The American students had the opportunity to discuss with Mr. Tsamaz and the top management team of OTE the Organization’s transformation program in the last decade, while analyzing the challenges that OTE encountered as well as the vision for the future of the organization.


Thursday, October 28:

On Thursday, W&M students and their companions visited the archeological site of Delphi.


Friday, October 29:

On Friday morning, the guests visited the ACEin Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at AUEB where they had the opportunity to attend a presentation regarding COSCO's investment in Piraeus. Guests of the Athens University of Economics and Business were also Mr. Tassos Vamvakidis, Commercial Director and Mr. Panagiotis Zerefos, CFO of Piraeus Container Terminal S.A - China Ocean Shipping Company, Limited - COSCO. The two executives presented COSCO's vision for the development of the port of Piraeus in one of the largest ports in the EU as well as its prospects. They also engaged in answering students' questions.


The program of visits ended on Friday afternoon by AUEB’s professor Katerina Pramatari, who presented to the students and their companions the Greek business landscape for start-ups. At the same time, she presented the actions undertaken by Universities like AUEB, to encourage both students and graduates to move towards a more entrepreneurial direction.


What participants said about the Program:


Michalis Tsamaz (CEO of OTE):

It is a special satisfaction of the entire management of the OTE Group of Companies (HTO) but also our duty to share our experiences with young students. We believe that in this way we contribute to the strengthening of their education in order to acquire additional knowledge and skills, necessary for their further development. With this in mind, we welcomed the students of the Athens University of Economics and Business as well as the William & Mary - Raymond A. Mason School of Business accompanied by their professors, Rector Bourantonis Dimitrios, Vice Rector Vasilis Papadakis and, Dr Rajiv Kohli professor of Business. The students, having studied the case study @OTE: Managing in times of National crisis by Harvard Business School, exchanged with us views and suggestions related to the problems and solutions that the OTE management had to face at that time. Warm congratulations for the students’ level of education but especially to their teachers who give them the opportunity to get in touch with the real business world for their optimal education.


Rajiv Kohli (Professor, W&M):

"Our visit to Greece was insightful on so many levels. Thanks to our friends at the Athens University of Economics and Business for arranging the visits to Greek businesses and institutions, we learned about the Greek economy, its culture and most importantly the Greek people. We were most impressed by the sense of community and resilience that helped Greece overcome the challenging times as it now looks to a bright future.”


Kaarta Maron (W&M student, Chief of Staff at Windpact):

“I just returned from Greece and a week-long Global Immersion that is part of the Executive MBA Program at William & Mary. Without a doubt, this experience was one of the most eye-opening, educational, and productive trips I have ever been associated with. I come away from this trip with a much deeper understanding and appreciation of Greece, the history of the country, the state of business, and the wonderful people who live and work there. Thank you for your hospitality. Thank you – ευχαριστώ – efcharisto!!!”


Constantinos Coursaris (Associate Professor, HEC Montreal, visiting professor at AUEB, who partly attended the program):

“It was a packed week-long schedule that comprised site visits and senior management presentations - with companies ranging from cosmetics to telecommunications - made possible by the extraordinary effort of host and Athens University of Economics and Business Vice-Rector and EMBA Director, Vasilis Papadakis!

At the end of the week, I was happy to hear from the participants how valuable they found it to be and how much they had enjoyed their time in Greece!”


Last updated: 3 January 2022