Walravens' analysis of the "themes" emphasized in the annual conferences from 2002 to 2007 finds attention to European enlargement and reconstruction giving way to innovation, stronger relationships with business, and CEEMAN's global agenda. Conference attendance grew to record numbers as conferences moved beyond CEE in 2005 (143 in Ukraine), 2006 (150 in Germany), and 2007 (163 in Turkey).

(Photo from: the 11th CEEMAN Annual Conference, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2003)

11th Annual Conference - Sofia, Bulgaria
2003: Business Co-operation and Business Schools Co-operation: New Opportunities within CEEMAN
Peter Kraljič delivering a keynote speech at the CEEMAN Annual Conference in Bulgaria, 2003
CEEMAN met in Sofia, Bulgaria, for its 11th annual conference on September 25-27, 2003. Earlier in the year, a youth club in Bulgaria formed the Balkan Heritage Program to "raise the level of global cooperation and exchange of ideas, know-how, expertise, and resources concerning Balkan heritage." In turn, Partners in Peacebuilding in the Balkans, a multilateral and multi-university NGO, held a "learn by doing" workshop that introduced concepts and techniques for conflict transformation between the Roma and Bulgarian populations in Bulgaria. This was an apt year to focus on cooperation in CEEMAN—between businesses and between business schools.

Dr. Peter Kraljič, then with McKinsey & Co.'s Advisory Council in Germany, addressed the delegates on "Global Changes and Their Influence in the Region." He talked of the new rules, roles, and requirements of companies and countries participating in a "global race" and then challenged CEEMAN members "We must enhance our competitiveness while preserving our cultures….We must use our strengths so as to be subjects, not objects of the global race." A key message: cooperation is crucial to competitiveness.

Conference Chair Sergey Myasoedov, Vice-President of RABE, illustrated the importance of cross-cultural sensitivity noting how the "smiley face" of McDonald's staff proved off-putting to Russian consumers. Sessions that followed addressed features of cooperation (Bulgaria's Minister of Finance, Milen Veltchev reported that at that time there were nearly 200 joint ventures between Bulgarian and CEE firms) and best practices in managing cooperatively from case accounts of Toyota and Heineken in the CEE, and the Bulgarian Business Leader's Forum.

The second part of the conference addressed cooperation among business schools. Here, it was noted, schools were no longer just "taking the best from the West" but also exchanging faculty, students, and ideas with counterparts in CEEMAN. Virginijus Kundrotas, for example, lauded the birth of the Baltic Management Development Center (joining businesses, business schools and individuals from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania). In turn, panelists from different schools in CEE and Western Europe shared their personal experiences with partnerships and cooperation.

Summing up his views about the preservation of CEE academic culture, conference host Vesselin Blagoev, Managing Director, International University Sofia, raised a key question about whose expectations should be met by CEEMAN business schools: businesses and students or external accreditation bodies? His answer: "We have decided to focus on (our natural clients) the businesses."

Delegates dined and danced at the Boyana State Residence south of Sofia.

12th Annual Conference - St. Petersburg, Russia
2004: Enlargement of the EU and Its Impact on Management Development
Pavlo Sheremeta speaking at the international panel, CEEMAN Annual Conference in St. Petersburg, 2004
Several CEE countries joined the EU in 2004. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs forecast that China and India would become the first and third largest economies by 2050, with Brazil and Russia capturing the fifth and sixth spots. CEEMAN met in St. Petersburg, Russia in fall 2004 to discuss these and related matters. Sergey Mordovin, Rector, International Management Institute St. Petersburg, set a salutary tone by welcoming delegates as "'dear brothers'…because we all belong to the same family even if we are formally separated." Then Leonid Evenko, the President of RABE, went to the heart of the matter: "European enlargement creates not only opportunities but also threats because (CEE) countries will try to integrate in the common European market and system. What about Russia? Will we continue to work together in the traditional way?"

The further opening of trade, transport, labor, and education markets across an expanded EU stimulated lively and sometimes heated dialogue among the 124 conferees. Professor Jean-Pierre Lehman, of IMD, worried that the enlargement of the EU would clone managers with a "Eurocentric" mental model. As an alternative, he cited a survey of 100-plus managers in 20 countries by Nigel Andrews and Laura D'Andrea Tyson that concluded future MBAs would need "global savoir faire."

In a panel session, Vladimir Shemiatenkhov, of the Russian Academy of Science, and Alexey Portanskiy, of the World Trade Organization office in Russia, debated the merits of Russia's joining the WTO. (Russia would join in 2012). In turn, working groups took up the questions of whether or not the enlarged EU would become more competitive in global markets, would unleash more entrepreneurship, and would create a more European versus national identity among the public. The ambiguous answers: Yes and No.

Valery Katkalo, Dean of the University of St. Petersburg, closed the proceedings by reminding delegates of the famous military adage that "Generals always prepare for the last war." His message: "We should prepare for the next." Thereafter, delegates celebrated at the Prince Abamelek-Lazarev Palace, the last private palace constructed in Saint-Petersburg before the revolution in 1917.

13th Annual Conference - Kiev, Ukraine
2005: Innovations in Management Development
Bohdan Budzan, host of the CEEMAN Annual Conference in Kiev, 2005
"Teaching skills call for an outgoing individual who sees broadly, who emphasizes relevance and relationships"--this comes from Professor Randy Kudar, professor at IEDC Bled, a contributor to IMTA and IQA director. His session on developing teaching skills played to nearly 150 delegates at the CEEMAN annual meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, in September, 2005.

In her opening speech, Danica Purg remarked, "The world needs innovative leaders with skills like creativity… self-confidence, visualization, and free-form thinking." Slovene violinist Miha Pogačnik then performed and decomposed a Bach fugue to demonstrate critical management processes in moving from lower to higher levels of integration and harmony. "Art can't just happen. It must make things happen," says Miha. "By establishing a new relationship between the arts and business, bold visions can be considered and realized. The linear and rational must fuse with inspiration, beauty, and passion for change to be implemented." In 2005, he and Danica made things happen when IEDC sponsored a "five-module learning celebration built around the performance of 56 masterpieces of violin literature." Here Danica told the CEEMAN delegates, "Management development institutions should change their content and methods."
Miha Pogačnik speaking at the CEEMAN Annual Conference in Kiev, Ukraine, 2005 – "Decomposing the Music"
Keynote speaker Ichak Adizes, world-renowned management consultant from the Republic of Macedonia, now based in the US, spoke about new emphases in management development—from a culture of individualism, competition, and the dominance of knowledge to one based on teams, cooperation, mutual respect, and trust. Four parallel sessions focused on new processes of management development: Witold Bielecki (LKAEM, Poland) on holistic education, Bert Wolfs (SBS, Switzerland) on value-added components, Pavlo Scheremeta (KMBS, Ukraine) on broadening the learning participants, and Chin Tiong Tan (SMU Singapore) on new learning partnerships.

The meeting concluded with presentations on the role of the arts, culture, and philosophy in management development from an advertising executive, the Director of the Latvian National Opera, and a jazz musician, followed by a performance of "corporate theater" led by Antonina Rostovskaya with students from the State University of Management, Russia.

14th Annual Conference - Berlin, Germany
2006: Creating Synergy Between Business Schools and Business
David Maister, keynote speaker at the CEEMAN Annual Conference in Berlin, 2006
Walter Gropius formulated principles for the Bauhaus school of architecture and design in Germany that connected form and function. He argued that teachers should be in the advance of their profession, rather than "safely and academically in the rearguard," proposed that schools should be in close contact with industry and that students cum architects and designers "should be equipped for the modern world in its various aspects - artistic, technical, social, economic, spiritual, "so that they might "function in society not as a decorator but as a vital participant."

Derek Abell and Wulff Plinke shared lessons from the Bauhaus school for business education at the Dean's and Director's meeting preceding the CEEMAN annual session in Berlin, Germany, in September, 2006. Among the animating lessons cited, "creation of an intensive and inspiring atmosphere, following a vision-driven strategy, managing across disciplines, breaking down conventional patterns and taking new perspectives, being responsible, teaching side by side, striving for the essence, and balancing openness and direction…." These themes were played out in discussions of synergy between business schools and business.
Gala dinner at the CEEMAN Annual Conference in Berlin, 2006
Pfeffer and Fong's article on "The End of Business Schools?" and Mintzberg's critique of management education were cited in several sessions. To Mike Page, who has held teaching and administrative positions at schools in South Africa, the Netherlands, and the US., many schools were addressing such criticisms and the authors were "guilty of criticizing a memory." To his mind, "management education is no longer about the training institution doing the transformation. It is about co-development and co-execution." Others, like David Maister (a former Harvard Business School professor and leading expert in managing professional service firms), were not so sanguine: "A big issue is that most business schools have no idea how to train a manager."

Jim Ellert, then professor at IMD Lausanne, spoke about his school's partnering with businesses to design programs without lectures and "off the shelf" case studies. Instead, participants engage in "action learning" and the program continuously evolves during execution. He also talked about weekly webcasts from faculty to alumni and corporate members—an innovation later adopted by other CEEMAN schools.

Panels on "What Business Really Expects from a Business School," and workshops on making teaching and research relevant, on corporate universities, and on partnerships and alliances rounded the meeting.

15th Annual Conference - Istanbul, Turkey
2007: Globalization and Its Implications for Management Development
CEEMAN Annual Conference in Istanbul, 2007
Istanbul, capital of the Roman and Ottoman Empires, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, was host to the 15th annual meeting of CEEMAN September 27-29, 2007. Nakiye Boyacigiller, Dean of Sabanci University School of Management Istanbul, welcomed delegates with a quote from Microsoft founder Bill Gates, "Like it or not, globalization forces companies to do things in new ways." Among the new ways of her four-year-old institution: Faculty are not separated by departmental boundaries; students participate in social responsibility/civic improvement projects; and private firms fund and participate in many of the school's research projects.

Professor Lehmann opened the proceedings with a quip: Somebody once said that the problem with communism is communism, whereas the problem with capitalism is capitalists." This would segue into open discussion of the role of business schools in developing the business manager's moral compass, Professor Adizes dug deeper by charging that developing countries and their companies were "importing elitism, adversarial relations, and non-democratic philosophy and practice (from American business). The resulting "cultural colonialism" was one risk of globalization for business and business education. The antidote: development of multi-cultural teams.

Next there was a panel of Turkish business leaders speaking on how globalization impinged on their strategies, followed by INSEAD Professor Daniel Kim introducing his Blue Ocean Strategy concepts (how entrepreneurs move into uncontested space). The next day, a series of workshops on entrepreneurship, governance, and cross-cultural issues engaged the nearly 170 conferees.
Liora Katzenstein, of the Israeli School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said of her school: "Our belief is that people who have not opened and closed businesses, and not hired and fired people, are not morally qualified to teach entrepreneurship." Professor Obłoj from the University of Warsaw, Poland, wondered aloud whether or not CEE entrepreneurs could sail to a blue ocean—or would be sunk by global competitors.

The program concluded with a deans' panel on globalization. Peter McKiernan, University of St. Andrews, proposed that with their modest size, agility, close customer relations, and proximity to the public sector, there were many reasons why CEEMAN schools should not all go for the US-based model of management development. But Jonathan Gosling, of Exeter University, stressed that the schools must stay relevant, which means bringing real managerial issues into the classroom and embracing new "wiki-learning" models that support continuous and collective reflection on practice.

The Annual Conference in Istanbul was the most attended ever, Istanbul being an attractive place, and the main sponsor Coca-Cola offered the most wonderful dinner for close to 200 participants in the famous Esma Sultan Palace. President of Coca-Cola Muhtar Kent, Turkish by origin, was the speaker at the gala dinner. His observations on leadership challenges that he faces were well received.

Related materials:

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