En­gi­neer­ing, IT com­pa­nies, telcos show grow­ing in­ter­est in MBA pro­grammes

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Can we say that the eco­nomic re­cov­ery in South­east Europe (SEE) is af­fect­ing in­vest­ments of lo­cal com­pa­nies in em­ployee education pro­grammes?

Yes, I think that is true. Clearly the re­ces­sion and post-re­ces­sion pe­ri­ods have made com­pa­nies look very care­fully at how they spend re­sources on em­ployee train­ing and education. How­ever, we have seen that in­di­vid­u­als find a way into our pro­grammes by many routes and com­bi­na­tions of tac­tics! By that I mean they per­son­ally fund the pro­gramme, share the fund­ing or get their com­pa­nies to fully pay for them. The best and most in­no­va­tive com­pa­nies have NOT stopped fund­ing, they re­al­ize that this is, in fact, the time to in­vest in peo­ple. Peo­ple are the num­ber one re­source in any com­pany.

Short­age of skilled staff at all lev­els of com­pany struc­tures is a press­ing is­sue for the lo­cal busi­ness. Does it re­sult in in­creased in­ter­est in MBA pro­grammes?

I think that many com­pa­nies do recog­nise very clearly that they have skill gaps. This not al­ways a short­age at ex­ec­u­tive or man­age­rial lev­els. It can be a com­pa­ny­wide prob­lem at

all lev­els. In terms of man­age­rial skills, these gaps can be met in many ways. MBA and Ex­ec­u­tive MBA pro­grammes like ours are of grow­ing in­ter­est and of­fer many ad­van­tages to com­pa­nies wish­ing to in­vest in their em­ploy­ees in terms of ex­pand­ing knowl­edge, adding new skills, net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

We also of­fer many 'tai­lor made' in-house train­ings and per­sonal con­sul­ta­tions to com­pa­nies us­ing our in­ter­na­tional con­sul­tants which con­cen­trate on par­tic­u­lar prob­lems and chal­lenges com­pa­nies are facing in SEE. I think that in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies were the first to recog­nise the added value of the MBA pro­grammes but we see more in­ter­est from re­gional and lo­cal com­pa­nies year by year.

Which of your MBA pro­grammes draws the big­gest at­ten­tion? What are the rea­sons for this?

Our Ex­ec­u­tive MBA pro­gramme draws the big­gest at­ten­tion. Firstly, it is de­signed for mid­dle and top man­age­ment and it is com­pletely tai­lored to their needs. The mod­ules are held dur­ing week­ends, there­fore man­agers have min­i­mal ab­sence from work.

Sec­ondly, the pro­gramme gath­ers lead­ers and man­agers from the whole SEE re­gion, in­clud­ing, Aus­tria, Bulgaria, Bos­nia and Herze­gov­ina, Croa­tia, Mace­do­nia, Mon­tene­gro, Ro­ma­nia, Ser­bia and Slove­nia, which pro­vides ex­cel­lent net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence ex­change be­tween par­tic­i­pants. This is one of the great­est ben­e­fits of our pro­gramme.

Also, even though the Ex­ec­u­tive MBA pro­gramme is a lit­tle more ex­pen­sive, par­tic­i­pants have less dif­fi­cul­ties fi­nanc­ing the pro­gramme, ei­ther by them­selves or through their com­pa­nies. As they grow to higher po­si­tions, their need for this type of education grows as well. This mix of hard and softs skills is ex­actly what they need at a cer­tain point of their ca­reer.

What kind of par­tic­i­pants have a big­ger share in your MBA pro­grammes: com­pany-spon­sored or in­di­vid­u­allyspon­sored? Does this make SEE re­gion any dif­fer­ent from other parts of Europe?

Both have an equal share in our pro­grammes. There isn't a dis­tinct divi­sion in terms who will pay for the pro­gramme. I think this is the case through­out Europe.

Which coun­tries from the SEE re­gion have the high­est num­ber of par­tic­i­pants in your MBA pro­grammes and which have the least? Man­agers from which busi­ness sec­tor are most in­ter­ested in your ser­vices?

Be­cause of the dif­fi­cult eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion, Mace­do­nia and Bos­nia and Herze­gov­ina are lag­ging and we usu­ally have fewer par­tic­i­pants from these coun­tries. All other coun­tries have equal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of par­tic­i­pants in our pro­grammes.

One of the core ben­e­fits of our pro­grammes is that al­most all busi­ness sec­tors are rep­re­sented and our par­tic­i­pants have an op­por­tu­nity to net­work with peo­ple from di­verse busi­ness back­grounds. We can cat­e­go­rize our par­tic­i­pants as "busi­ness peo­ple" and as such they all want to de­velop and be­come bet­ter lead­ers so there is no such thing as who needs an MBA and who doesn't.

Lately, we can see the growth in in­ter­est for our pro­grammes from sec­tors such as en­gi­neer­ing, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, IT, and le­gal ser­vices.

What are the ad­van­tages of COTRUGLI Busi­ness School com­pared to other schools in the re­gion?

I think COTRUGLI has a num­ber of ad­van­tages. First of all, there isn't an­other busi­ness school in SEE which draws in so many na­tion­al­i­ties and types of stu­dents from so many var­ied busi­ness back­grounds.

Sec­ondly, that wide va­ri­ety of peo­ple en­cour­ages tremen­dous net­work­ing across and within many in­dus­tries. Added to that you have the wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence of our in­ter­na­tional pro­fes­sors and con­sul­tants and the the­o­ret­i­cal and prac­ti­cal syn­the­sis within all mod­ules.

The most in­no­va­tive com­pa­nies re­al­ize that this is the time to in­vest in peo­ple.

Ac­cred­i­ta­tion from the As­so­ci­a­tion of MBAs (AMBA) is an­other proof of qual­ity of our pro­grammes and it as­sures par­tic­i­pants that they have made the right choice. This com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors makes us unique I be­lieve.

What is COTRUGLI's schol­ar­ships pol­icy?

Ev­ery year, COTRUGLI awards Schol­ar­ships to the best man­agers and lead­ers in each coun­try where we op­er­ate Aus­tria, Bulgaria, Bos­nia and Herze­gov­ina, Croa­tia, Mace­do­nia, Mon­tene­gro, Ro­ma­nia, Ser­bia and Slove­nia. Usu­ally, we of­fer 12 Schol­ar­ships for each coun­try: 6 for Ex­ec­u­tive MBA pro­gramme (5 par­tial schol­ar­ships and 1 full) and 6 for MBA pro­gramme (5 par­tial schol­ar­ships and 1 full). Un­til to­day, COTRUGLI has in­vested over 3 mil­lion euro in this pro­ject as it is a part of COTRUGLI's So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity Pro­gramme, cre­ated to en­cour­age pos­i­tive changes in lead­ers across the SEE re­gion.

The process might dif­fer in some coun­tries and de­tailed in­for­ma­tion is al­ways laid out on our web­page, some­time in March ev­ery year. The process usu­ally con­sists of three main stages: ap­pli­ca­tion form, in­ter­views with the Schol­ar­ship Com­mit­tee and Schol­ar­ship Fi­nals where top 50 par­tic­i­pants for each pro­gram com­pete for the 6 Schol­ar­ships.

COTRUGLI Busi­ness School is a lead­ing busi­ness school in South­east Europe (SEE) with head­quar­ters in Ser­bia and Croa­tia and of­fices in Slove­nia, Bulgaria, Ro­ma­nia, Aus­tria, China and UAE. With these re­gional op­er­a­tional cen­tres, COTRUGLI is reach­ing cul­tures and busi­ness en­vi­ron­ments world­wide, cre­at­ing strong, di­verse and a con­nected Alumni net­works of 13 na­tion­al­i­ties: Al­ba­nian, Aus­trian, Bos­nian & Herze­govinian, Bul­gar­ian, Croa­t­ian, Fin­ish, Hun­gar­ian, Ir­ish, Mace­do­nian, Ro­ma­nian, Ser­bian, Slove­nian and Syr­ian.

COTRUGLI is of­fer­ing four dif­fer­ent pro­grammes: MBA, Ex­ec­u­tive MBA, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive MBA and Doc­tor of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion. At present, all of our pro­grammes have this pres­ti­gious in­ter­na­tional ac­cred­i­ta­tion from the As­so­ci­a­tion of MBAs. As­so­ci­a­tion of MBAs (AMBA) ac­cred­i­ta­tion rep­re­sents the high­est standard in post­grad­u­ate busi­ness education and is earned only by the best pro­grammes.

Lynne Mont­gomery, COTRUGLI Busi­ness School Vice Pres­i­dent

Lynne Mont­gomery, PhD, has a Mas­ter of Arts in An­thro­pol­ogy, a MSc in Ap­plied Psy­chol­ogy and a Doc­tor­ate in Phi­los­o­phy. She is an in­ter­na­tional pro­fes­sor of aca­demics hold­ing 15+ years of teach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at the grad­u­ate and un­der­grad­u­ate level. Dr....

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