Main building in New Belgrade
Megatrend University (Serbian: Универзитет Мегатренд, romanized: Univerzitet Megatrend) is a private university located in New Belgrade, the city of Belgrade, Serbia. It was founded in 1989 as the Megatrend Business School, which later became Megatrend University. In 2015, the Council of Megatrend University changed the name of the institution to University John Naisbitt. The name was changed back to Megatrend University in 2017.
With around 3,500 enrolled students as of 2018–19 school year, it is the fourth largest private university in Serbia. The university has a negative reputation in Serbia for series of controversies and claims that its study programs offer "express acquisition of worthless diploma"; also there are numerous claims that its international universities network is nonexistent and that the list of its lecturers is false.
Belgrade's Megatrend Business School, which was established in 1989 was the predecessor of all institutions which comprise the present Megatrend University.
During 1991, Megatrend Business School, together with the Technical Faculty of Bor introduced a management graduate studies introduction course. This project, which was the first one of this type in Southeast Europe, was financially supported by the European Union TEMPUS Fund which was specifically intended for the development of business education. Later the Faculty of Geo-economy was the first institute of its kind in the region.
In June 2000 the Serbian Ministry of Higher Education approved the formation of the Megatrend University of Applied Sciences in Belgrade. Similar agreements were made with Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli from Italy, with Berlin University of Applied Sciences from Germany, and later with Yanbian University of Science and Technology from China, Bournemouth University from the United Kingdom, Academy Eliteâ from Moscow, European School of Business, Rome, Italy and Faculty of Economics, Donetsk National University, Ukraine.
In 2008, Megatrend University claimed to have 26,000 enrolled students, making it by far the most popular private university in Serbia.
In 2011 Megatrend purchased the operations of the failed International University Vienna, creating Megatrend International University Vienna which did not achieve accreditation before insolvency in 2013.
Megatrend University is a member of the Euro-Asia Management Studies Association (EAMSA), which runs annual conferences in Europe and Asia to discuss economic and management issues as well as promoting research and publishing.
In 2015, the Council of Megatrend University changed the name of the institution to University John Naisbitt after controversies arose surrounding Megatrend University. The name was changed back to Megatrend University in 2017.
As of 2019, Megatrend University has 3,526 enrolled students which makes it the fourth largest private university in Serbia. In November 2019, Megatrend's founder and owner Mića Jovanović revealed that the university was sold, allegedly for 56.1 million euros to Dejan Đorđević, who leads the undisclosed German fund consortium, for which Jovanović said that he is not sure if it exists.
These are the 11 institutions in 6 cities:
- Nebojša Stefanović, politician, former President of the National Assembly of Serbia, now Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia
- Zoran Đorđević, politician, former Ministry of Defence of Serbia, now Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy
- Irena Vujović, politician, President of the Stari Grad Municipality.
- Jelena Janković, tennis player
- Miloš Teodosić, basketball player
- Marija Šerifović, popular singer, winner of the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest
- Nataša Bekvalac, popular singer
- Vesna de Vinča, television author, film and event producer.
The university is said to have a relatively low reputation in the eyes of the Serbian public due to its allegedly dubious programs and low standards, as well as due to its perceived mutually beneficial connections with politicians and government officials who have been awarded Megatrend diplomas. Those connections supposedly ensured its accreditation, which helped the University to somewhat silence its critics who have been accusing it of being a diploma mill. According to Megatrend's representatives, such criticism can not apply to a "University where the prime minister of Serbia had given four lectures in one year, and two ministers of education are employed at it." In an opinion piece in Al Jazeera about problems in Serbian higher education, Zorana Suvakovic described Megatrend as "essentially a degree mill where diplomas can be obtained for cash."
Megatrend University has awarded an honorary doctorate to Muammar Gaddafi, the former leader of Libya, in 2007. When asked to comment on this subject, the deputy minister of education, prof. Srbijanka Turajlić said that "this is not a deed on which any University should be proud of, but taking into account the quality of the university, it is not surprising that the doctorate was awarded to the dictator."
In 2010, the magazine Marianne, commenting on the Bogdanov affair, showed that the Bogdanoff brothers were employed at the Megatrend University as professors cathedra of cosmology, and that they used this to increase their credibility with the French public. The magazine commented that this was a mutually beneficial deal between rector Jovanović and the Bogdanoffs: the brothers gained the titles of professors; and Megatrend two foreign professors on the staff. Alain Riazuelo, an astrophysicist at the Institut d'astrophysique de Paris, has shown that Megatrend does not have cathedra of Cosmology, because the main focus of the University is on economics and management studies. There is no trace of the Bogdanoffs' courses or lecturing scripts. Rector Jovanovic (owner of Megatrend) published their pseudoscientific book and wrote the foreword for it, which gave him a kind of prestige in the eyes of the general public in Serbia.
On June 1, 2014, a group of Serbian academics based in the UK published an article claiming that parts of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia Nebojša Stefanović's doctoral dissertation were plagiarized. The controversy escalated further when other academics raised serious doubts as to whether Megatrend's rector and Stefanović's mentor Mića Jovanović was ever awarded a doctorate himself. The original story in the Serbian media reported a statement by him that he had obtained his doctorate studying under the "famous professor Stephen Wood of the London School of Economics." Wood confirmed that a dissertation had been submitted but that it had been rejected.
On June 12, 2014, the Serbian Ministry of Education confirmed that Megatrend's rector had forged his PhD at LSE. In the wake of these findings the ministry called on rector Jovanović to resign. It also called on relevant authorities to determine whether there were elements of criminal offense. Jovanovic resigned the following day. More recently, he has been reported to have left Serbia.
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