29 March 2023

The SMIO Master’s Programme has established itself as an international strategy and management programme. Alumni from across the globe attended its recent 15th anniversary jubilee.

Per-Olof Brehmer  gave speech at the anniversary. Charlotte Perhammar
Photo credit Charlotte Perhammar Programme manager Besma Glaa has noted that the students find careers in a variety of areas after graduation. Each year, there are almost 1,000 applications from all over the world for SMIO’s 45 places.

Various careers

“Following their master’s studies in Linköping they find jobs in sectors ranging from banking and finance to UN field work. And many are in leading positions,” says Besma Glaa, associate professor and programme manager.

Photo credit Charlotte Perhammar
The 15th anniversary jubilee was held on 3−4 March 2023 in Studenthuset on Campus Valla, and reuniting with the alumni was quite an emotional experience for many.

“Seeing the alumni again is so much fun. They are very ambitious. This isn’t only a study programme; it comes with a network. We call it the SMIO family. It’s important to us that the students feel safe. They’ve come from across the globe, they are a long way from home, and we want them to feel that we will support them,” says Besma Glaa.

Per-Olof Brehmer is Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Collaboration and Campus Development, and one of the initiators of the programme:

Always a need

“It’s such a pleasure to be here today, 15 years later, with alumni and students. This proves that we made the right choice with this programme. There will always be a need for internationalisation and contact with international universities,” says Per-Olof Brehmer.

SMIO stands for Strategy and Management in International Organisations. The programme is run within the framework of Business Administration and educates future managers, strategists and organisational developers. Most of the students are from other countries, and international organisations is a common thread throughout the programme.

“SMIO prepares students for international careers, but also for careers in Swedish global companies such as Ericsson, Scania and Saab. This programme can serve to recruit talents also for Swedish trade and industry,” says Besma Glaa.
Courses entirely in English
The foundations for SMIO were laid in 1994, when LiU started teaching some basic courses entirely in English. This was in connection with the launch of the EU’s ERASMUS student exchange programme, which required universities to accept foreign students and offer programmes in English.

Photo credit Charlotte Perhammar “As we received a huge number of applications, we could choose the best students. Starting in 2001, we offered a one-year Master of Science in Business Administration. Internationalisation had become a reality,” says Jörgen Ljung, associate professor and a previous programme manager.

In 2007, the courses were upgraded, and entry requirements raised. The courses were extended, and the number of students increased. This resulted in the two-year master’s programme SMIO.

High number of applicants per place

The programme has been a success story for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and for LiU. More than 400 students have graduated so far. The number of applicants per place is high, almost 1,000 from across the globe for the 45 places.

Photo credit Charlotte Perhammar What is the most common feedback from the alumni?
“Many of them enjoy working in international teams. They gain an understanding of different cultures and learn to respect each other. As students, they were not comfortable working in groups they had not chosen themselves. But now, in their working life, this is what they appreciate the most,” says Marie Bengtsson, also a previous programme manager.

What will the programme look like in 15 years’ time?
“It has already changed a lot over the years. We move with the times and listen to our alumni. They can be found across the globe and are still very grateful. They want to contribute to developing the programme,” says Besma Glaa.

“The international network that SMIO alumni have today will grow year by year. It will help LiU find international cooperation with international companies and organisations and other international universities. It also strengthens LiU’s internationalisation, strategy and vision,” she adds.


• The number of applicants has increased. In 2014, there were 654, and in 2019 there were 1,235. After the pandemic, the number is close to 1,000.
• More than 400 students have graduated from the programme.
• Several alumni are currently in leading positions in various international organisations.
• Several have also remained at LiU as doctoral students or employees.


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