The Slovenia Times

A balance between "high-tech" and "high-touch"


Looking at the digital challenge, the Dean highlights the establishment of an optimal balance between "high-tech" and "high-touch", while from the perspective of strengthening IEDC's global position she sees China as a potential market where there is still significant demand for managerial and leadership knowledge and skills.

Times change and digital is now the norm in business with 70 percent of US$1 bn companies being digital ecosystems. There are many challenges to traditional business models which need to be addressed properly for the future survival of the business. What is IEDC's educational approach to digital?
For IEDC as a management school, digitalisation presents the triple challenge: digitalisation of the educational process; digitalisation and its impact on functional managerial issues; and digitalisation as a stand-alone issue in the programs of the school. For IEDC, this opens opportunities to deliver classes online but the question is how to blend online and in-class lectures in order to find the optimal balance between "high-tech" and "high-touch". All of the functional topics, from finance to leadership skills, are influenced by digitalisation. At the same time, companies ask for special courses on the content and impact of digitalisation in their industries and how to stay in a leading position during the transition process.

IEDC actively works to engage with the Chinese market. What is the profile of the Chinese students that you want to attract and from which industries?
It is hardly necessary, I believe, to explain that a market of about 1.5 billion people is important for any industry or sector which has the mission to operate internationally or globally. It is interesting that this question is never raised when it comes to North America, a significantly smaller market. Business opportunities in China are big because it has many immature markets.
Although China has quite a number of excellent business-oriented schools and faculties, there is still a huge demand for managerial and leadership knowledge and skills. Schools in China are looking for the best partners abroad, and they are interested in cooperating with IEDC as the processes of transition in China is comparable to that in CEE, and IEDC is an internationally established innovative school. We are currently developing a global MBA with one of the top-faculties in China and partner-schools along the "Silk Road". We currently have Chinese executives in our programs and are in the process of preparing a special Young Managers Program at the request of a Chinese educational institution. We are not focused on a certain industry, although it is known that we have recently developed a special expertise in the financial services sector and in the pharmaceutical industry.

Where do you see the business potential, such that geographically "small" Slovenia and "big" China could achieve a win-win scenario and mutually benefit?
In the business world, the notions of "small" or "big" do not have a geographical meaning. In our research on "Hidden Champions" we showed that Slovenia has a relatively high number of small and mid-sized companies that occupy top-positions, not only in Europe but also globally. They have an excellent opportunity to be successful in China.

China could offer Slovenia a lot in the fields of infrastructure, logistics and services.

IEDC ranks among the top business schools in the world. How do you maintain this position?
It is known that IEDC has operated since its founding more than 30 years ago with the slogan "only the best is good enough". We started by inviting the best professors of management and they came out of curiosity, to see a new management school founded by a woman in a socialist country, even though they were only paid a fraction of their normal fee. As I always say, "first class professors bring first class colleagues, second class brings third class". In this way, we have succeeded in bringing the best possible faculty to Slovenia. We survived the war and the financial crisis together with them, and we have strengthened our global relations.
As we keep our core faculty small in order to be able to react quickly to the increasingly fast-changing business environment with relevant education, we have found that some accreditation schemes are focused on quantity rather than quality. This is not in accordance with our vision and mission.
Our EMBA is accredited by AMBA because of its quality and has been awarded by AMBA as one of the most innovative MBAs amongst more than 700 programs globally. We are very happy with the CEEMAN IQA accreditation because its scheme is focused on the quality and impact of the school on the local, regional and national environment. With our entrepreneurial spirit and culture, we have to make a special effort to be in accordance with all of the prescribed procedures and regulations of the various accreditations. We shall continue to focus on this, but it is also important that we do not sacrifice our main advantage which is innovation. Our existence is based on quality and in innovation. Without that, we would become a school like the thousands of others.


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