Take the Best from the West…and Leave the Rest
management concepts are not so difficult to learn if you are a well-educated person
IEDC's history traces to Marko Bulc, President of the Slovene Chamber of Commerce, which then operated a "Center for Educating Leading Workers in Economy". In his mind, the curriculum—chiefly lectures on economic and political developments in the region and presentations by state and chamber officials--was no longer suited to the rapidly changing environment in Slovenia. He invited Professor Danica Purg, a Slovene teaching in the Faculty of Organization of Work, University of Maribor to prepare the new concept and curricula for the school.

In 1986 Danica was appointed Director and set out on a whirlwind tour that took her to leading management schools INSEAD, outside of Paris, IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland and Ashridge College to learn more about modern management education and to invite professors to her school in Brdo. Later, in 1991 she also attended an ISMP course at Harvard Business School. These visits opened her eyes to possibilities but added a modifier to the school's mantra: "take the best from the West and leave the rest."

What was behind this modifier? Danica was frustrated that the American and Western European schools were not sending their best faculty to the region. And she was angry about the prevailing attitudes which could be described as condescending.
The EMFD has money to support management development here, but they don't understand the region. We are also European, sophisticated, with an appetite for learning. Many here have a broad education in philosophy, science, and the arts," she went on. "You know, management concepts are not so difficult to learn if you are a well-educated person.
Danica Purg
She was not the only one with such complaints. Nancy G. McNulty, of the North American Management Council, in collaboration with Russian professor Alexander Katkov described the "best from the West" situation in 1993 this way: "Too many American consultants and managers are failing in their efforts in Eastern Europe by misjudging Europeans' educational attainments and by ignorance of their life styles, ways of learning, management and teaching methods, and cultural values. Offering 'kindergarten-level' management education, as an outrageous example, leads to resentment that does not lie buried."

CEEMAN Pioneers: Danica Purg and Andrzej Kozminski

Advancing Management Education in CEE
"You must come to Slovenia," she insisted. Derek, recalling their first meeting, said "I didn't even know where Slovenia was!"
During her trip to an AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) conference in Montreal, Danica met Derek Abell, then outgoing Dean of IMD Lausanne, a prominent professor and author of a 1992 volume of six case studies of Polish companies working their way through privatization, Turnaround in Eastern Europe. "You must come to Slovenia," she insisted. Derek, recalling their first meeting, said "I didn't even know where Slovenia was! But I was interested. I had a background in strategy and general management and had been a dean for nine years, and not to be conceited, told Danica that there are a lot of things here you don't understand."

During his visit, he discovered that Danica also had "big ideas about ethics, aesthetics, and literature in management education." "She intuitively grasped the big picture," he recalled, "and suddenly I thought jeez, that's interesting, these people in her part of the world could do more with this than I had imagined. They are culturally developed; they have a broader view of the world."

In his writings about management education in emerging markets, Abell distinguishes between resource-driven, cost-driven, and knowledge-driven economies. A resource economy needs knowledge in planning and technology; a cost economy requires operations management expertise; and a knowledge economy depends on innovation and marketing. It also needs managers who can lead people. This is where Danica and Derek sought to position management development in CEE.
One the main motives for setting up CEEMAN was the simple fact that no management schools in the West were focused on the unique challenges facing the CEE. Companies had to reduce excessive costs and move from contract manufacturing to developing products that they later have to sell.
Derek Abell
Prophetically, Abell also argued that the "spread of knowledge in our field is top-down. It starts from the Anglo-Saxon part of the world and particularly from the US, and then it spreads out like a trickle-down cascade. I am convinced that it could go the other way. In other words, if we had this kind of knowledge and started teaching it, we might discover some real universal generics of leadership and management that have not originated in Boston. They can originate here or in any part of the world."

CEEMAN Pioneers: Danica Purg, Gabriel Matauan, Zoltan Boros

Forming CEEMAN
"CEEMAN was established because of the real need for high-quality management education in CEE and because of my view that management development institutions in CEE had to work closely together if they wanted to succeed."
Reflecting back on her motivations to organize CEEMAN (See Sidebar for details), Purg says, "I saw very soon that there was no real understanding of management challenges in CEE countries. International management development conferences were poorly attended by people from the region, mainly because of financial problems. I also saw that efforts by international agencies to help the acceleration of management development in CEE only partly met the needs of our business schools. There was a historical misunderstanding of the policies necessary to quicken management and leadership education and reveal the underestimated potential of CEE."

"In that climate I took the initiative to bring the best professors of management of the region together with the aim of establishing CEEMAN. I personally launched the slogan 'Give us the best from the West and keep the rest' to support this action."

"CEEMAN was established because of the real need for high-quality management education in CEE and because of my view that management development institutions in CEE had to work closely together if they wanted to succeed."

These reflections on the value of working together resonate with research of psychologist Alfie Kohn who writes, "Noncooperative approaches...almost always involve duplication of effort, since someone working independently must spend time and skills on problems that already have been encountered and overcome by someone else." Yet in the market economy of higher education in management and business, CEE schools are to some extent competitors. Here listen to what sociologist Charles Horton Cooley, in his 1902 volume on Human Nature and the Social Order, has to say about organizing cooperative ventures, "The general fact is that the most effective way of utilizing human energy is through an organized rivalry, which by specialization and social control is, at the same time, organized co-operation."
Sidebar: Founding CEEMAN
What is the story behind Danica Purg's drive to form CEEMAN?
With the breakup of Yugoslavia and breakdown of the Iron Curtain, Western Europe and the US sent financial resources, advice, and assistance to CEE countries to advance business education. Management savant Tom Peters came to lecture about "the American way of managing" and the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) invited Danica to become its first board member from the CEE region.

At the EFMD conference in Vienna, Purg noticed that there were only two other Central Europeans (two Hungarian deans) who participated whereas CEE together had close to half a billion people. As its first board member from CEE, she tried to convince other EFMD board members to "pay bigger attention to CEE, to organize conferences in CEE, to include management students into European competitions, and so on. But none of these suggestions were accepted."

After her several proposals for "Going East" were rebuffed at the EFMD board meeting, she listened to the introductory address to
the EFMD Vienna conference by Erhard Busek, then minister for education and vice chancellor of Austria. As she tells it, "Busek spoke enthusiastically about how important it was for Western Europe to open to the East and to appreciate the quality that CEE has to offer, especially concerning its educated people. He used the same wordsthat I had a half hour before at the Board Meeting!" Afterwards, Danica went to greet Busek and recalls:

"This speech helped me make the final decision to create an association that we (in East and Central Europe) shall be responsible for, that we shall find finances for, and that will help to accelerate management development in CEE."

Motivated by all of this, Danica made a decision, "I shall make an association on my own." Velimir Srića, professor from the Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb, Croatia had very personal motives for joining CEEMAN's first Board: "I am an inquisitive person willing to learn. Also, I like uncertainty. In that time it was a real challenge to start from scratch, to build something new and possibly important." Derek Abell's motives were both personal and contextual: "Several of us, with of course Danica Purg in the lead, recognized soon after the Berlin Wall came down that the CEE would present many new and distinctive management challenges". Madis Habakuk's answer as to why he joined CEEMAN's Board was short and to the point, "I was invited by Danica."
In late 1992, after an international conference in Budapest, Danica met with 13 deans from CEE countries in Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia and suggested that they establish an association that would cover the region. The idea was met initially with some resistance. Some deans, for instance, wanted to affiliate only with the EFMD (including those who envisaged traveling to Brussels and Paris after their borders opened––and not to Poland or Slovenia!). Others, recalling years of cross-national conflicts in the Soviet-led Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, wanted no part of any pan-CEE association. At that moment Derek Abell––who was by then an advisor on management education to several CEE governments––reminded the deans that the region would "need 2,500 professors in the next decade." They grasped the significance and agreed to meet again at Brdo to contemplate association.

Early in the year 1993, the CEE deans met at Brdo for the first of what would become annual CEEMAN learning conferences. Danica personally courted Sergey Mordovin, Rector of the International Management Institute at St. Petersburg (IMISP) and Leonid Evenko who had been elected as the first director of the Russian Association of Business Education (RABE). Mordovin recalled, "We didn't have enough professional communication and experience those days. There were dreams that we can help each other, support each other, openly and unselfishly share our experience. CEEMAN appeared at this time and many of our hopes were realized." And Evenko added, "There were no well-structured plans or even expectations about the aims and tasks of the association at that time. But I had intuitive feelings that enthusiasts of business education in new emerging market economies faced similar problems, opportunities, and threats to be solved together. And I did believe in the people gathered together around our brilliant leader, Danica Purg."
Is it worth all this effort to add one more item to the long list of management educators' and scholars' associations?
Purg had invited Koźmiński to become vice-president of CEEMAN to boost its academic credentials and pan-CEE identity. After flying in from Los Angeles, he remarked to the delegates, "Why are we doing it? What are we trying to accomplish? Is it worth all this effort to add one more item to the long list of management educators' and scholars' associations?" He went on "It is sad to admit that CEE has earned a bad reputation in the international community for being trapped into their centuries-old conflicts and animosities, for not being able to agree on anything and even less cooperating harmoniously…."

"The challenges our enterprises, our governments, our organizations are facing are formidable and unique. We cannot settle for low-quality replicas of standard Western programs. If we really want to make a difference, we need the best and region-specific. This can only be accomplished through interaction and partnership between management scholars, consultants, and educators from the region with the global professional community."

His views were reinforced by a 1993 article "Management Development Assistance for Poland-A Playground for Western Consultants?" by Stefan Kwiatkowski and Patricia Sanders in the Journal of Management Development that pointed to the short-sighted use of management development programs developed by Western consultants.
"CEEMAN" = CEE + management development
Danica, in her turn, stressed the importance of the region having "one voice" on matters of accreditation and quality. It was agreed, then, to put together the first CEEMAN Board consisting of Danica Purg, Derek Abell, Andrzej Koźmiński, Andrei Manoukovski, Madis Habakuk, Gabriel Matauan, Velimir Srića, and Irén Gyökér, MBA Director of the Technical University of Budapest, who was proposed to join the Board by a great supporter of the CEEMAN idea, Professor Zoltan Boros.

Still there were geopolitical rivalries to contend with: some of the Russians, for instance, wouldn't support locating the association's headquarters in Warsaw or other capitals in the former-Soviet bloc; the Baltic countries and other border states wouldn't countenance an HQ in Moscow or St. Petersburg. The small and "neutral" Slovenia had its advantage in this regard and it was agreed to house the association at IEDC. The name CEEMAN (joining CEE and management development) was proposed by an architect, Janez Koželj, professor at the faculty of architecture and later vice-mayor of Ljubljana.
The first home of CEEMAN at Brdo pri Kranju, 1993
The logo of CEEMAN
CEEMAN members met the next year in Warsaw for a conference on East-West partnerships. At a 1995 gathering in St. Petersburg, to learn from the best-run companies, the CEEMAN brand was formally launched. For Danica, the CEEMAN logo was perfect: Arcing blue lines moving as across water, like ripples from stone, a sign of growing power and influence. "We are stronger and better as partners with other institutions," she remarked.

A conferee at the 1995 conference recalls the Russians laughing with the Poles, even as their politicians were fighting, the Czechs and Hungarians comparing folk songs; and of course, vodka. When the mayor of St. Petersburg couldn't attend, the deputy mayor, Vladimir Putin, spoke to the delegates instead. Reflecting on these first meetings, Koźmiński marveled at the "synergies between CEE business schools," and how "CEEMAN created identity and instilled a sense of pride." As Madis Habakuk of Estonia put it, "The major idea is networks. Linking with colleagues from Latvia, Lithuania and picking up new ideas." Modris Ozolinš from Riga added, "We got confidence. We could do things better than Western consultants."

CEEMAN Pioneers: Madis Habakuk, Andrzei Kozminski, Stefan Kwiatkowski

Global Developments
CEEMAN'S WORLD 1993-1997
Shifting attention from CEEMAN to geo-political developments in the world, this lustrum '93-97 included the Dayton Agreement which established a measure of peace and order in Bosnia and Herzegovina; peace negotiations in Northern Ireland and between Israelis and the PLO; and the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. In 1997, the Russian-Chechen Peace Treaty was agreed and Hong Kong was peacefully returned to China. Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa in 2004.

On the technology front, the World Wide Web went public at the start of this period and by 1997 some 2% of the world's population was on-line (17% in developed countries). Website hosts increased from 1 million to 10 million. In turn, mobile phone use worldwide went from a fraction to upwards of 200 million users by 1997; that was the year Ericsson introduced the first "smartphone."

Also during this period the sheep "Dolly" was cloned, Princess Diana was killed in a car accident, and Viagra went on the market.

CEEMAN Pioneers: Irén Gyökér, Sergey Mordovin

CEEMAN Meetings, Programs and Annual Conferences '93-97
"At that time we all were young, innovative, enthusiastic and full of ideas regarding the development of our business schools..."
Elena Zoubkova, Vice-Rector and Professor, MIRBIS Moscow International Higher Business School, joined CEEMAN in 1995. She recalls, "At that time we all were young, innovative, enthusiastic and full of ideas regarding the development of our business schools to support our countries' restructuring. New associations and professional societies were springing up like mushrooms all over Europe, especially in the area of the former Socialist community. It was also an extremely difficult time – people did not know what all these political changes would lead to, how our life would change."

"But, at the same time, it was the time of great hopes, opportunities and challenges which we were willing to meet. Business education was developing mostly on the basis of Western experience and know-how. Starting an association of business schools that were operating in regions with similar political and economic systems was a vitally important and timely step forward. It brought us a drive to overcome incompetence, to cooperate with each other, jointly develop our faculty and students, and introduce standards of high quality and equal opportunities into national business education systems."
CEEMAN Annual Conferences '93-97
In its first five years, CEEMAN's members schools held countless meetings, seminars, and conferences on practical questions of how to best educate managers, business owners, government officials, and younger managers-to-be in their regions. IEDC had been pro-active in this area, hosting an annual meeting on key management and leadership topics involving academicians, business school deans and directors, politicians, business leaders, and thought leaders from CEE and beyond. Its 1992 conference and "book of the year" were addressed to Developing Managers for Central and Eastern Europe. This expertise was passed on to fellow CEEMAN members in a series of workshops for educators that included:

- Communication Skills for Educators (Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, 1995)

- Managing Marketing (Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, 1996)

- Introduction to Time Management and Team Building Skills (Kaunas, Lithuania, 1996)
Membership grew rapidly over the first five years, mostly from CEE and parts of Western Europe. In 1996 and '97, CEEMAN added 41 new members to its roster from countries like Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, and Ukraine. Of course, there was great interest among members in how to staff, operate, and survive as business and management schools. Under the aegis of CEEMAN, there were several workshops on the managing the "business" of higher education in management, including:

- How to Establish and Manage a Business School (Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, 1996)

- How to Run a Business School (Almaty, Kazakhstan,1996 and 1997; Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia and Riga, Latvia, 1997)

- New Leadership Challenges (Budapest, Hungary, 1997)

- Marketing Business School Services (Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, 1997; Almaty, Kazakhstan and Krynica, Poland)

- Assessing Business School Performance (Prague, Czech Republic, 1997)
In 1996, CEEMAN introduced the first of what would become annual case writing competitions to further management research and teaching in the region. Derek Abell passed on this wisdom on case writing in a speech at the first Annual CEEMAN Case Award Ceremonies, held in Prague in October, 1996.
A case is not a story…Sorting out the wheat from the chaff, getting to the essential issues, and learning to ask the right questions, are key objectives in case teaching. A case also differs from a story in that the participants can put themselves in the shoes of one or more of the managers portrayed in the case. And, like bait for a fish, a good case really needs a hook—to get the participant excited enough to take a bite and, with the bite, eventually to swallow the larger (and perhaps immediately less evident) issues and perspectives hook, line and sinker.

Good cases are like onions—the more you peel away the outer layers, the more you discover inside. Thus, the headline problem may not be in fact the real problem. As we often find in consulting assignments, what executives tell you is the 'main' problem is often only symptomatic of more fundamental ones.

It is very difficult to have a good discussion when there is little to debate or contest. Good cases are those where one set of data may lend itself to different interpretations, different judgments, different decisions, and, consequently, different actions….Cases, like many other things in life, should be short and sweet. In fact, the former is a key ingredient to the latter.
Derek Abell, extracts from the first Annual CEEMAN Case Award Ceremonies' speech, 1996
Fourth CEEMAN Annual Conference, Čelákovice, Czech Republic, 1996

Text — adapted from the book "CEEMAN - 20 Years of Creating History" by Philip H. Mirvis and Arnold Walravens, 2013

Production and Design — Artyom Ushnichkov, 2018