From the outset, the School of Business, Economics and Law has always maintained a close relationship with wider society. 20 years ago the Partnership Programme was created, as a form of structured cooperation with clear benefits for all parties.

Annelie Dagerklint (middle) has been involved in developing the School’s Partner Programme since its inception in 1999.

Annelie Dagerklint and Ingmarie Karlgren helped to launch the Partnership Programme in 1999.

“Of course, we looked at what other business schools around the world were doing. Some places adopted more of a cocktail party approach, but we wanted to focus on collaboration and content. It was hard work, but we got several partners on board in the first year. It felt like there was a pent-up demand to have contact with the academic world,” explains Annelie Dagerklint.

Employer branding and skills development

There were early indications from the partner companies that they wanted help in finding the right students, and so the Career Service was set up in autumn 2000.

“We can’t be an actual headhunting company, but we can help our partners to show the students what they have to offer,” says Annelie Dagerklint.

“As a partner company, you can have as much time as you want for employer branding. But any initiatives have to be of high quality. Students aren’t as easily seduced as they were 20 years ago. We know what is needed and are happy to help,” says Ingmarie Karlgren.

Skills development is another key area of the Partnership Programme. A number of opportunities for learning and development are organised each year: from quick fixes in Meeting Points to longer and more in-depth collaborations such as those available through Executive Faculty (see article on next page).

“The trend over time is for companies to want a more customised partnership. For example, we held an Executive Workshop for 30 people from SKF with a visiting professor from San Francisco,” says Annelie Dagerklint.

Keeping education alive and relevant

In a genuine partnership, knowledge flows in both directions. Via its partner companies, the School gains an increased understanding of the challenges and skill needs in society.

“There’s an auditors’ network within the group of partners. They identified a need for the students to learn more IT skills as part of their education. In response, a course has now been added to the programme – a concrete example of how things can work,” says Ingmarie Karlgren.


Senior Partners:



Carl Bennet AB

Elanders AB

Göteborgs Stadshus AB



Region Västra Götaland


Stena AB

Stena Metall AB

Sparbankerna Västsverige

Volvo Car Group

Volvo Group

Associate Partners:



Ekan AB

Hogia AB


Mannheimer Swartling Advokatbyrå AB


Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre

Public Associate Partners:

The Administrative Court of Gothenburg

The Swedish Migration Agency in Gothenburg

The Swedish Tax Agency


In 2019, two new partners joined the School’s Partner Program: the consulting company Ekan AB and Göteborgs Stadshus AB, the group company for all companies within the City of Gothenburg.


Taking skills development to a new level

Executive Faculty is completely different from traditional skills development. The concept matches a researcher from the School of Business, Economics and Law with an executive at a partner company. Together, they embark on a 1.5 year-long journey that aims to develop them both.

Evangelos Bourelos is a researcher at the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Staffan Vidén is Vice President, Manu- facturing at Volvo Trucks. Over the course of 1.5 years, they have met every three weeks to discuss and challenge each other.

“It felt good straight away. We quickly found areas of shared interest and were both keen to establish a good partnership,” says Evangelos Bourelos.

“I have quite a lot of exchanges with technical universities, but with this I gained a different perspective. We always have extremely interesting discussions. It hasn’t exactly been difficult to fill the time,” adds Staffan Vidén.

A unique Swedish opportunity

Both agree that business and society face major challenges, and tackling them will require new forms of collaboration.

“Change comes very quickly these days. Those of us who work in production often make investments over a 20 year time horizon. Many of the companies on today’s Fortune 500 list haven’t even been around that long! So it’s particular important to ask whether we have the right perspective, the right business models,” says Staffan Vidén.

“Very few countries have managed to get industry and academia to work together in a way that gets results. Sweden has cultural advantages in terms of its capacity to collaborate, and we’re a good example of that,” says Evangelos Bourelos.

Opportunity for cross-pollination

Artificial Intelligence and Big Data were subjects that both had immersed themselves in, creating the potential for cross-pollination.

“I wanted to know about the cutting edge expertise in the field and learn from what others were doing. A university offers greater scope for this and Evangelos was very knowledgeable on the subject,” comments Staffan Vidén.

“We also saw an opportunity here to engage with the students. I invited Staffan to come and be interviewed and give a talk. Many of the students were inspired, as evidenced much later when they were choosing their degree projects,” says Evangelos Bourelos.

Valuable exchange

After 1.5 years of Executive Faculty, the feedback has been extremely positive and the exchange continues.

“It worked out really well. I recommend that others try it. Even if you already have good contact with the academic world, this is a whole different ballgame,” concludes Staffan Vidén.


A long-term, structured programme that gives experienced professionals an opportunity to develop their expertise in an academic environment. Via a matching process, each participant is assigned a senior researcher with a suitable profile. Only available for the School of Business, Economics and Law’s Senior Partners.