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Facts on CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY, Hungary

August 3rd, 2018

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The Central European University in Budapest has been the subject of an intense battle in Hungary. CreditDaniel Vegel/Central European University

The Central European University (CEU) has been at cross hairs with the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán since last year, when Hungary passed a law that imposes stringent conditions to license foreign universities.

The new law requires CEU to open a branch in its “home state” of New York alongside its campus in Budapest. It also requires CEU to secure a bilateral agreement of support from the U.S. government.

The law was met with criticism from universities around the world, the United States and the executive arm of the European Union. Mass protests filled the streets of Budapest, the Hungarian capital. Critics said the law was aimed at CEU and specifically at its founder, the Hungarian-born George Soros who has spent millions backing organizations that promote liberal democracy and open borders in Europe.

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A 2017 protest rally to support Central European University as Viktor Orbán visited Tbilisi, Georgia. Photograph Zurab Kurtsikidze/EPA

CEU prides itself on the diversity of nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures examining such subjects as emerging democracies, transitional economies, media freedom, nationalism, human rights, and the rule of law. The University is often seen as a bastion of liberalism, where thousands of students from across central Europe and the former Soviet Union have a received education in English over the past two decades.

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at a Fidesz party rally in Szekesfehervar, Hungary, on April 6, 2018. LASZLO BALOGH/GETTY IMAGES

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Mr. George Soros. Source: CEU website

Mr. Orbán, who himself was among the recipients of scholarships from foundations sponsored by the financier George Soros during the transition to democracy, now holds a very strong anti-immigration position and has accused Mr. Soros “of plotting to destabilize the continent by allowing millions of migrants to settle in Europe.” Source: The New York Times.

Mr. Orbán has championed the concept of “illiberal democracy” as part of his political platform. After winning re-election, declared: “The age of liberal democracy is over.”

In early May, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) – an international grant-making network also founded by Mr. Soros – announced it would close the Budapest office from which it has disbursed more than €400-million ($605-million) for democratic and civil initiatives over 34 years. Source: The Globe and Mail

Let us take a look at the origins of CEU and an overview of its programs:

History of CEU and its founder, George Soros

According to the information provided by the University’s website, “in 1989, a group of visionary intellectuals—most of them prominent members of the anti-totalitarian democratic opposition—conceptualized an international university that would help facilitate the transition from dictatorship to democracy in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Among them was George Soros, the Hungarian-American financier and philanthropist, who founded Central European University two years later.” The generous endowment given to CEU by Mr. Soros today stands at 500 million euros, or about $610 million making it one of the most successful and revered centers for social sciences in Hungary and eastern Europe.

The CEU website continues, “Soros championed the project because he understood that open societies can flourish only with people in positions of responsibility who are educated to promote them. His vision was to recruit professors and students from around the world to build a unique institution, one that would train future generations of scholars, professionals, politicians, and civil society leaders to contribute to building open and democratic societies that respect human rights and adhere to the rule of law.”

In 1991, starting with a little over than 100 students from 20 countries, CEI held its first classes in Prague. In 1993, the University relocated to Budapest.

CEU’s Accreditation

In the United States, CEU is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In Hungary, CEU is officially recognized as a privately maintained and operated university. The university was accredited by the Hungarian Accreditation Committee in 2004.

CEU’s Membership

CEU is an active member of the European University Association and of the Council of Graduate Schools in the US.

CEU Schools and Departments

CEU has 13 departments, two schools, and 17 research centers that focus on the social sciences, humanities, business, law, and public policy.

Central European University is a graduate-level university offering a wide range of degree programs at the Master’s and Doctoral levels. It has 370 faculty and approximately 1,400 students from more than 130 countries.

For a list of degree programs offered at CEU that are accredited by the Hungarian Accreditation Committee and registered by the Educational Authority, click here.

CEU’s Worldwide Rankings

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015 placed CEU among the world’s top 100 universities in the social sciences category.

According to the 2015 QS World University Rankings, the university is placed 29th worldwide in the field of politics and international studies, among the top 51-100 worldwide in philosophy, and among the top 51-100 worldwide for sociology.

The Economics department of the university has recently ranked eighth in Europe by the ERC (European Research Council), based on research excellence.

On the 2012 QS TOPMBA survey, the CEU Business School is ranked thirteenth as best MBA program in Europe.

And, according to a study published by German newspaper Die Zeit, the CEU Department of Political Science is among the top 5 political science departments in Europe.

English as the Medium of Instruction

The language of instruction for all master’s, doctoral and non-degree programs offered by Central European University is English. Candidates whose first language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in English by submitting standardized English language test scores.

Latest News on CEU’s Status

On April 9, 2018, CEU announced  that it had signed an agreement with the City of Vienna to open a new satellite campus there.

CEU has since set up a U.S. site at Bard College in New York State. A Hungarian delegation inspected the New York campus in March 2018.

CEU is still waiting for its agreement with New York to be signed by the Hungarian government, prolonging a period of uncertainty over the Budapest operation.

If CEU is pushed out of Budapest, the university could move to neighboring Austria and make Vienna its new home.

As of the posting of this blog, CEU students and staff are unsure of what the future holds. The university’s fate remains up in the air.

Links to additional sources:

https://courses.ceu.edu/programs

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39493758

https://www.bbc.com/news/education-43300785

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-michael-ignatieff-fights-for-central-european-universitys-future-amid/

https://sciencebusiness.net/news/central-european-university-talks-open-campus-vienna

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/15/central-european-university-ready-to-move-out-of-hungary

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Africa: Higher Education Interrupted

October 27th, 2017

Africa

In the past few months, government crackdowns on students and faculty protests at many African countries have disrupted and temporary halted classes and in some cases led to the indefinite closures of universities affecting thousands of students.

Here’s a look at some of the countries affected:

Cameroon

Cameroon

In the wake of demands by staff and students for greater independence for their English-speaking region, the two main public universities in Anglophone Cameroon, after months of partial closures, have been shut down indefinitely by the country’s president.  For more on the university closures in Anglophone Cameroon, click here

Democratic Republic of Congo

DRC

In August 2017, the teaching staff at the University of Kinshasa voted to continue their strike to express their unhappiness in solidarity with academic staff of several other institutions in the country over non-payment of salaries and the failure of reaching a resolution with the government. For more on this topic, click here

Guinea

Guinea

In June 2017, a number of private universities in Guinea suspended instruction complaining about delays in payment of student grants from the government and the signing of contracts for teaching bachelor-equivalent courses. For more on the suspension of instruction at universities in Guinea, click here.

Kenya

kenya

Students at the University of Nairobi are finding themselves in the crosshairs of politics brought on by the country’s elections and strike by lecturers. As a result, on October 3rd, following a rash of student unrest, the University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Mbithi announced the indefinite closure of the country’s second largest institution. Earlier, the students had protested against police use of excessive force and sexual harassment at the universities of Nairobi and Maseno.  On October 8th, Mount Kenya University shut its doors due to continued student protests and strikes by professors. For more on the university closures in Kenya, click here.

Rwanda

rwanda

Since March 10th, thousands of students have found their studies suspended because of partial or total closure of the private universities which failed to meet satisfactory standards of teaching. According to a report in UniversityWorldNews, 10 universities were given until September 2017 to raise their standards, or risk being closed permanently. An update of their status is not available.  For more on the university closures in Rwanda, click here.

Awareness of these events is key for international credential evaluators and institutions of higher education whose students may be from the countries cited above. These students may not be able to procure their transcripts because of the problems back home. With universities temporarily or indefinitely closed, students from the affected institutions will have a difficult time in requesting official transcripts and those who have been able to obtain their records may show gaps in their studies due to the temporary halt in their studies.

For further information on the world education systems and credential evaluations, visit our website at www.acei-global.org or contact ACEI at acei@acei-global.org

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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5 Fast Facts on Recent Reforms in Higher Education in China

March 10th, 2016

china_flag

On January 8, 2015, The Academic Degree and State Council of the Ministry of Education put to law the Degree (2015) No. 18, also known as the “Degree and Degree-Granting Information Management Approach.” This law directly affects the role of the State in the granting of the degrees by academic institutions throughout China.

The law is set to support institutional autonomy by allowing institutions of higher education to grant their own degrees. As of January 1, 2016, the State in China will no longer issue university degrees. However, centralization of all certificate date will continue to be managed by the Academic Degree Committee of the State Council.

Here are a few facts on the new law concerning the autonomy granted to institutions of higher education and their degree-granting authority:

1. Each institution has the freedom to design its own degree template, however, the information to be presented on the degrees must be in conformance with the law to include all the following:

Name
 Gender
 Color photo with embossed stamp of awarding institution
• Discipline or professional degree category
• Degree-granting institution name
 Certificate number (16 digit number where the first five digits are the institution code, the sixth is the degree level [ e.g. doctor is 2, master’s is 3, bachelor’s is 4], digits seven to ten are the degree year [e.g. 2016], and the last six digits are unique to the certificate holder)
• Signature of chairman of degree-granting institution

2. Some institutions have published the templates of their degrees but many have not published them yet are still having open voting from February-March 2016.

a. Sample Degree Templates from Capital University of Economics and Business:

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Capital University of Economics and Business

b. Sample Degree Templates from Zhejiang University  (http://www.zju.edu.cn/c1429839/content_2843290.html )

I. Bachelor Degree

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china_degree_3

II. Master

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china_degree_5

III. Doctorate

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3. Photos on diplomas must be in color (it’s mandated).

4. Even if an institution issued a degree certificate in English, it is essential that the Chinese version as issued by the institution be provided.

5. The recent changes don’t change the dual qualification framework where we still need to see the Degree Certificate and Graduation Certificate.

Alan

Alan Saidi  Senior Vice-President & COO

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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15 Facts on Impending Closures of 40% of Universities in Russia

April 23rd, 2015

russia

According to a recent report by University World News Global Education, the Russian Ministry of Education and Science has announced that it will be closing a number of its universities and university branches by the end of 2016. These institutions are being shut down as part of a federal plan the Russian government has implemented for the development of education during 2016 to 2020. The government’s plan is to establish strong federal universities located in the 10 different regions in Russia.

Here are some highlights on these planned cuts:

1. At present, according to data from the Ministry, there are 593 state and 486 private institutions

2. According to date from the Ministry, the state universities have 1,376 branches and the private universities have 682.

3. Seven million students are attending state and private universities.

4. Two million of the students benefit from state-funded education which is about US$3,500 per student.

5. Number of Russian universities will be reduced by 40% by the end of 2016

6. Number of Russian university branches will be reduced by 80% by the end of 2016.

7. According to Dmitry Livanov, Russian Minister of Education and Science, the number of universities since the collapse of the USSR has increased extensively, especially in the number of private universities, as compared to the USSR period. He is quoted in the University World News Global Education as saying: “Unfortunately, the results of our monitoring showed that the quality of education provided by some of them is very poor.”

8. On March, 2016 the Ministry began conducting quality checks of the universities. Results are due on May 30, 2015.

9. Up to 100 universities will be subject to quality assessments within the new few months.

10. Majority of closures will affect private universities that have been determined to provide poor standards of education.

11. The cuts will also affect some state-owned universities.

12. Some of the closed universities, including their faculty and infrastructure, may be absorbed by other universities that are found eligible to continue their operations.

13. Faculty from the national universities have been promised by the Russian government that their salaries will not be cut and the same provision will apply to scholarships.

14. 53.5% of Russians have university degrees, yet, many Russian students, teachers and employers are dissatisfied with the quality of higher education in the country.

15. According to Education Minister Livanov, some of the institutions on the chopping block behaved as “offices for the sale of certificates that do not have an established training process and qualified teachers.”

Please stay tuned as we await the results of the Ministry’s quality checks mid to late this year.

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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BA and BS Degrees: Similarities and Differences

March 5th, 2015

Graduation_Cap

One of the questions we frequently hear from our international student applicants, who’re having their transcripts evaluated by us, is on the difference between the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees. Students entering a four-year college here in the US expect to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, but they might not know which type of bachelor’s degree to select. Colleges typically offer both BA and BS degrees for many of their majors, and you should expect different experiences based on which program you choose to pursue. With the right research and an understanding of each degree, you can combine your interest in a major with the selection of courses that best fit your needs.

Similarities

Before embarking on defining the differences between the BA and BS degrees, let’s look at the similarities they share. Both a B.A. and B.S. degree require the completion of a four- or five-year undergraduate curriculum, depending on the college and major. Both are considered equivalent bachelor’s degrees for academic purposes, and both require a number of courses in your chosen field to qualify you for the degree. Whether you choose a B.A. or B.S., your primary focus will be courses in your major. Though the B.A. is often thought of as a liberal arts degree, some universities offer B.S. programs in liberal arts, B.A. programs in technical or scientific fields, and other such variations, so your chosen path may not necessarily determine which degree you should pursue.

How are the degrees different?

The curriculum for the B.S. degree is generally focused on preparing the student for the technical and practical career aspects of their chosen field. The B.A. degree, on the other hand, offers some flexibility by allowing for electives and courses outside of the major. The B.A. also often requires core courses, such as foreign language or English classes, to ensure an expansive education regardless of the student’s focus. In essence, if you are looking for a more wide-ranging college experience, consider the B.A.; if you want more concentrated training in a technical career path, the B.S. is better suited to meet your needs.

What careers opportunities are best suited for the BA and BS?

Both B.A. and B.S. degrees will assist students along whatever career path they choose, but the skills obtained from each can differ slightly. A student with a B.A. acquires communications and language skills, which can be a good fit for careers such as administration, education, editing, or marketing. A student with a B.S. degree will have received specialized training that can lead directly to work in fields such as engineering or other math and science-based professions. However, with either degree, you can choose to pursue higher education at the graduate level in a master’s or doctoral program.

In summary, what are the biggest differences between the two degrees?

The BS is more focused and concentrated in scientific and technical aspects of the field of specialty. It also provides little room for the student to explore other disciplines via the use of free electives. The BA is for students who want to have a broader curriculum and be less specialized. They take fewer courses in their area of specialty but have a stronger liberal arts education and can take more free electives which enables them have double majors, minors, and/or certificate programs in other disciplines.

Anything else?

Yes! There are more than 3000 colleges and universities in the U.S. and the specific requirements and opportunities for the BA and BS degree programs vary among them. It is strongly advised that you check the college websites to find any unique differences between specific degrees before choosing which degree to pursue.

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Advanced Business Management Concepts: Helping Integrate Iran into the Global World Economy

December 18th, 2014

iranbschool

The 1979 Iranian Revolution caused an exodus of its people who left the country in search of safer havens. You can say that the Iranian Revolution helped globalize Iranians by creating a large diaspora scattered throughout different continents. According to various sources, in 2010, there were an estimated four to five million Iranians living abroad, mostly in North America, Europe, Persian Gulf States, Turkey, Australia and the broader Middle East. Their combined net worth is estimated at $1.3 trillion (2006 est.)

In 2000, the Iran Press Service reported that Iranian expatriates had invested between $200 and $400 billion in the United States, Europe, and China, but almost nothing in Iran. One Iranian has chosen to return to Iran and invest in the country. Recognizing mismanagement as Iran’s curse at both the private and public sectors, an Iranian expatriate, Rouzbeh Pirouz, decided to do something about it in 2007 and conceived the Iranian Business School (IBS), a graduate institution in Tehran, Iran, focused on teaching Iranians advanced business management concepts.

IBS started offering classes in 2010 and already hundreds of Iranian men and women have enrolled and attended classes. In cooperation with Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, IBS is offering an Executive MBA (EMBA) program.

On Oct. 4, 2013, the IBS received an Office of Foreign Assets Control license from the U.S. government allowing it to raise funds as a charity in the United States and to bring American faculty to teach in Tehran and pay them.

Admission to IBS requires the Karshenasi (undergraduate degree equivalent to the US Bachelor’s), five years of work experience and English language proficiency. TOEFL and IELTS test scores may be required of those who had completed their previous studies at a non-English speaking institution.

Classes at IBS are structured to include lectures, seminars, case studies and interactive simulations highlighting the challenges of managing business in Iran. International experts, mainly prominent Iranian-origin academics, will work closely with the local faculty. Programs at IBS are bilingual: Persian (Farsi) and English.

Mr. Pirouz believes that isolating Iran only helps the hard-liners and not the people. According to Mr. Pirouz: “An Iran integrated in the global economy, with a growing private sector, will be good for Iran and the world.” He hopes that IBS will help promote this vision through its cohorts of graduates and help from the Iranian diaspora.

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
President & CEO, ACEI

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http://www.acei-global.org

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Education and Experience: A Healthy Partnership

October 10th, 2013

eduexperience

The only source of knowledge is experience.
-Albert Einstein

There are those who are book smart and those who are street smart. Some get their “education” from the school of hard knocks and some from sitting in a classroom and listening to a teacher’s lecture. The rising cost of a college education and the anemic job market has many scratching their heads wondering if it’s worth it. However, not having a degree or too little education is also not an option in many industries where a bachelor’s or master’s degree is the norm. Someone with experience but no college degree may qualify for certain jobs but may find growth opportunities and advancements limited or non-existent. Yet, the four or six years spent sitting in college lecture halls and pouring over books and reports leave many little time to acquire the hands-on work experience potential employers are looking for when hiring. How do you prioritize between education and experience?

We’ve all heard the arguments from both sides. Proponents of a college education quote statistics and studies to demonstrate how a college degree helps a person’s employability and earnings while those who dismiss education as a waste of time and money remind us of the famous college dropouts like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to prove their point.

Is education more important than experience or vice versa? The truth is they are not mutually exclusive but together are the combination needed to begin a career path and grow.

Recently, we received documents from an applicant who had attended a university in Australia and received a Master’s degree. When asked to submit his undergraduate documents for evaluation, he explained that the university considered his professional (work) experience and admitted him to its Master’s degree program in lieu of the earned bachelor’s degree. The university provided a detailed document explaining the methodology it employs in recognizing professional experience and qualifications for entry into its post-graduate degree programs.

Experience-based evaluations based on a set of guidelines/criteria by which professional practice can be recognized and applied objectively is an approach some institutions, especially in today’s market, are adopting. The Australian institution in question provided the following criteria by which credits are allocated for the learning acquired through the experience, which in the case of the candidate being evaluated was in the field of music:

1) Nature of training
-Duration
-Mode of learning, teachers and so on
-Any other relevant considerations (partially completed degrees/non recognized qualification etc.)

2) Nature of professional practice:
-Context(s)
-Duration
-National/International Experience
-Professional Referees /Peer Recognition
-Other relevant professional experience/considerations: Recording contracts/nature of collaborations/performances

3) Recordings/Publications:
-Context
-Publisher

In addition, candidates for this mode of entry to the Australian university mentioned are required to provide relevant documents that support their case for admission, including recordings, press reviews, letters of reference, proof of prior study and so on that can be examined by the subcommittee (comprised of the Head of Department, Program/Curriculum Developer, and one Faculty member).

Recognizing experience, that is; proven and well-documented experience-based learning is one approach institutions of higher learning can take into consideration offering individuals the opportunity to bring the knowledge gained through hands-on experience into the university classroom environment.
Another approach is implementing work-based training/experience into the degree program so that the college graduate leaves not only with a diploma highlighting his/her ability to think analytically and logically, demonstrating his/her exposure to an intellectually stimulating environment, but with basic skills set of experience in solving real-world work problems.

According to a recent Northeastern University survey, higher education students and employers strongly support experiential learning where a student’s classroom education is integrated with professional work experience. An interesting finding in the Northeastern U. survey shows that nearly 75% of hiring decision-makers surveyed believe students with work experience related to their field of study are more successful employees, while 82% of graduates from experiential learning programs say the experience was valuable for their personal and professional development. The business world is taking notice and sees the link between academic with industry as a big step forward.

Some Universities, like Purdue U. have in place study-abroad opportunities as experiential learning models. This international experience is seen as exactly what their students need in order to polish their talents and become more competitive in the global market place.

Experiential learning programs represent a logical blend of the old adage of hands-on-learning in the work place and a college education. Even the White House is a fan of experiential learning programs. James Kvaal, the Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House has commended Northeastern and Purdue for “delivering good value for students and continually improving and innovating.”

Education, a great foundation for any professional, is no longer enough in a competitive marketplace. One way to stand out among other professionals who have the same degree is to show work experience, whether acquired through a paid-full-time job, volunteering, apprenticeships, freelancing, internship or part of co-operative work placements of their college degree. The debate is no longer about education “or” experience, or education “versus” experience; it is about the right combination of a successful academic history and relevant work experience.

Jasmin S. Kuehnert
President & CEO ACEI
www.acei1.com

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