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1st BMDA Annual Conference

May 16, 2003 12:00 AM to
May 17, 2003 12:00 AM

The First Annual Conference of the Baltic Management Development Association (BMDA) “Management Development: Partnership between Business and Science in the Context of Globalisation”, held on May 15-16, 2003 and hosted by the International School of Management (ISM), Kaunas, Lithuania, was launched in order to try answer those questions raised above. How to bring Business and Academic World together? How to help them to become partners?

"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, they make them."

George Bernard Shaw

 The rapid changes taking place in the whole World make the great influence in all spheres of our life. Especially they are quick and unpredictable in the area of Business. The intensification of global competition, continuous innovations in information and communication technologies creates the need for the companies to increase speed in analysis, decision-making and implementation of new ideas. Those high-speed changes (especially in the Baltic region as well as other CEU countries) very often become a bottom of company's failure not being able to respond to that need as well as to fight successfully the other management challenges.
The Business can't stand on it's own in this New World and be successful as it has been before. The everyday challenges are too complicated, too complex and very different they have been before. Companies need different view on the everyday problems they are facing, they need new and more effective problem's solving methods, and they need efficient and appropriate advice.
Who could provide it for them? Why something or somebody shall provide it? How it shall be done?

The possible answer is – Academic World. Business Schools and Universities should respond to this request from Business.
In order to do so, Business Schools and Universities must be able to identify and quickly react to those needs. They shall be innovative and flexible, being able to combine advanced international experience with local practical knowledge and to develop unique products well adapted to the present needs of the local as well as international markets. Partnerships, international activities, the development of new, IT-based educational methods and the use of modern learning techniques are only a few of the things that contribute to the quality of modern business schools.

But why Business Schools and Universities should do that? Do they need to do that?
Do they really need to care about the current issues of Business? Do they know better what Business shall take care of?

The First Annual Conference of the Baltic Management Development Association (BMDA) “Management Development: Partnership between Business and Science in the Context of Globalisation”, held on May 15-16, 2003 and hosted by the International School of Management (ISM), Kaunas, Lithuania, was launched in order to try answer those questions raised above. How to bring Business and Academic World together? How to help them to become partners?

The 68 academicians, business leaders, professors of management and professionals from 9 different European countries came together in order to look for common ways of partnership.

The common participation of both Business and Academic World according to the Conference Co-chairman Prof. Marcis Ešmits presented already by itself “building bridges between Business and Academia”. In order to become a partner you first of all should gather together, talk and listen to each other, try to find common goals.

Speakers presented their ideas on global trends, changing business needs and possibilities and raising new challenges for management as well as on business' expectations from management educators. They stated that globalization processes brings the enormous additional skill requirements for the management of the companies, change the balance from technical expertise towards management expertise as well as increases the role of middle level management in the company. As one of the most important issues mentioned was the growing importance of People Development Systems as well as need for the management being capable of operating them.

Prof. Torger Reve, the Rector of Norwegian School of Management BI, Co-chairing the Conference stressed the importance of closer relationship between Business and Science, creating larger added value and stimulating innovations for better industrial competitiveness.
Very often universities have their basic mission to push the boundaries of science in the basic disciplines. The mission of modern University or Business School is to use knowledge to advance value creation and innovation in the society.
He pointed out that value creation takes place where Competence, Capital and Customers effectively combine. Innovation takes place where Concepts, Companies and Clusters effectively combine. Dynamic industrial clusters are engines of innovation value creation, for which learning and knowledge networks are serving as important upgrading mechanisms. That's why the close links between business and science are key drivers in the knowledge economy.
This partnership should be maintained by continual communication, feedback and trying to speak a common language of comprehension. Academics shall be equally fluent in research language and in business language at the same time. “If you don't bridge – you become irrelevant”, finalized T.Reve.

The same ideas were discussed further in one of the three working groups – “Right research methods for solving management issues”. The agreement was made that Business Schools have to be involved in fundamental research to be the driving force for the business community. The participants of the conference agreed that researchers and entrepreneurs are similar- both are dreamers and in that respect share the same values. The important task for the School is to enable them become bilingual - to have the common language.

The other working group in the session on Teaching and training programs for Business shared their opinions on how teaching and training programs are following the rapidly changing needs of Business in this region. The importance of relevant study methods (use of local cases, discussing local issues) was discussed.

During the session “Joint efforts developing the appropriate future employee” the representative of employers Rimvydas Baranauskas clearly putted the quality benchmark for the companies describing the efficient organization of internship programs in his company. He provided success factors of such programmes –selection the right candidate, clear definition of the internship objectives, setting up the clear responsibilities of the intern, providing structured responsibility from the company and fair compensation. Such strategy made possible for this company to develop a number of very good employees. It also showed that thinking of employers also should change – they shall take an active and responsible role in developing future employee, which is often not a case in the Baltic and whole CEU region.

During the Conference the idea was suggested to compare good Educator with the good Doctor who is able to listen carefully the needs of the client and has competence to analyze underneath the surface, because Business not always is able to articulate clearly it's problem.

While talking about people as “our most valuable assets”, it was underlined that here we speak about “right” ones, who are “bilingual” in terms of communication between business and academia, interesting, independent and integrated in the same time as well as distinguish themselves in decision making ability. When it comes to the change, the main idea was that educational establishments should start thinking of “how do we get students to learn?”(Instead of how do we teach them). The common situation is that we speak at each other instead of speaking to the each other. That does not facilitate change or communication. Without that we can hardly motivate the students to learn.

The Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania Dr. Algirdas Monkevicius welcoming the participants said that educational process is supposed to transfer knowledge, culture and values (entrepreneurial spirit). It could be done also by larger involvement of business community in education process, using managerial experiences and skills in academic institutions governance, creating new models of studies financing.

“The challenge for the business schools to change the attitude and become more sensitive to the Business needs. At the same time Business needs Schools as much as they need Business. They need to add value from both sides – this was one of the final remarks of the Conference passing a promising note for further development of partnership between Business and Science in the context of globalisation.

“Academic community and Business should work more together following their goals, creating common language and providing permanent feedback on the process of the partnership. Universities should listen more attentively of the corporate partners needs and suggest them the right solutions in the situations aroused. They also should develop personalities with distinctive perception, ambitions and way of life. These should be self confident, but not arrogant people who are demanded for modern business” – resumed Dr. Virginijus Kundrotas, the President of BMDA and Rector of the International School of Management (ISM).

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