LJUBLJANA MBA participants have voted you as their best professor in 2017. What do you think are the qualities an MBA professor must have?
First of all, I was very glad when I learned about this selection. Teaching or better saying coaching MBA participants is, indeed, a great challenge for me professionally both, in terms of the course substance as well as the teaching methods. As a course lecturer, you are namely faced with a group of highly motivated individuals coming from very different professional background, but at the same time with rather clear ideas what they would like to get from the education they have enrolled in. There is another aspect that distinguishes teaching at executive MBA program from teaching any other university program. At executive MBAs, you typically deal with professionals having a lot of experiences of their own, so lecturers are often confronted with questions they hardly imagine or positions they can hardly respond to. So, yes, working with MBA participants is a very challenging two-way process where lecturers often learn as much as the course participants.
Your course on Global Institutional Economics is not a »typical« MBA course, but each year highly scored among students. What does it cover and why do you believe managers need this knowledge?
You are right, this is the course which is aimed at providing to the MBA program participants a global macro frame within which international businesses are being designed and implemented. So, the course we give together with prof. Jože P. Damijan could be considered as a kind of a global institutional framework for doing business. During the course we talk about global macro trends, including globalization and digitalisation, about global institutional framework for trade and financial flows, about recent financial crises and their aftermath as well as about those euro-area’s issues that are of direct relevance for business entities. General response of managers on the subject of this course is typically very positive, not only here in Ljubljana but also at the WU in Vienna where I run a similar course at their executive MBA. After the course or through course evaluations I often receive a feed-back basically saying “oh, now I understand what is being meant by ……” referring either to economic newspapers, such as Economist o Financial Times, or to other media addressing specific global economic issues.
What is your ideal outcome after the MBA class is finished? What do you wish that the candidates will take out of it?
As I already said, for me as a lecturer at the MBA program, it is always a challenge how to design and implement a program of the course that will meet expectations of each particular group of participants. So, I always take a careful look into the profiles of the course participants as well as into their outputs prepared as part of their pre-course assignments. I try to integrate into the program examples and / or cases that participants would be familiar with at least in general terms. Last year, for example, the participants very strongly intrigued with the Swiss franc case analysing CHF/euro exchange rate developments over the last 7-year period.
What would your message to future LJUBLJANA MBA candidates
Embarking on an executive MBA program is an important but at the same time difficult personal decision of a candidate that will have significant implications both on his / her professional as well as on private and family life. Within this context, it is therefore necessary that the decision is taken with a cold head and with the understanding or better said support of the candidate’s immediate environment. Work throughout the MBA program will namely be associated with a lot of sacrifices in many respects. Nevertheless, experiences at the end of the program typically reveal strong satisfaction of the participants not only with the substance of the program but also with the teaching methods. I am very satisfied when I hear from an MBA participant a few years after completion of the studies how he or she was satisfied with the studies and how we, professor should be even tougher with them during the studies. This was, of course, not their view during the program implementation when they were often claiming how overburdened with the program assignments they were.