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Ranking First

Ranking First

Now that’s something to be proud of: Central European University Business School is viewed as the most popular business school in Central Europe (including Germany and Austria) by international and regional employers, according to the 2010/11 results of QS research! We caught up with Dr. Mel Horwitch, Dean and University professor of the Business School, to find out more.

Interview with Funzine magazine. July 29, 2011.

Congratulations! What’s the recipe of the business school’s success?

Thank you! We are honored to be ranked so highly by such a quality research organization as QS. Of course, the credit for this recognition really belongs to our distinguished and hard-working faculty. These individuals spend enormous amounts of time designing courses and developing a state-of -the-art curriculum. It is especially important to note in this regard that at CEU Business School we encourage the creation of original course material, including new cases, simulations and action learning opportunities. We also respond to demands in the market. For example, we just launched a new MBA concentration in entrepreneurship. I also think the firms that hire our students appreciate our commitment to strong academics and to practice. We are fortunate in having both research track and practice track full-time faculty members and a wonderful group of leading executives and successful professionals as adjuncts.

What kind of degree programs does the CEU Business School offer?

We offer the MBA degree in somewhat different formats. First, we have our full-time MBA, which comprises an intensive, 11-month learning program. The student body of this program is amazingly diverse, with members from all parts of the world. We also offer an executive MBA (EMBA) program. Our EMBA meets on alternate weekends and lasts 22 months. This program is geared for busy working managers and other professionals. Obviously, most of the EMBA students come from Budapest, other parts of Hungary, and neighboring countries. But, amazingly, we always have a few EMBA students who actually fly in for the weekend to attend EMBA classes. We also have a multiple-partner modular international MBA called the IMM Program. This program is truly global and meets in five modules at different locations throughout the world. IMM was ranked #1 as the most international EMBA program in the world, and among the top #25 overall, by the Financial Times, October 2010. We also offer a wide range of non-degree executive programs. These are high-level and targeted shorter-term learning experiences. Some are public programs and some are company-specific.

Does the Business School have a special emphasis, some field or approach that it regards very important?

Yes. Being purposefully a relatively small high-quality business school, we cannot and do not desire to be all things to all people. We have had long and deep discussions on what kind of institution we should be and what we should represent. Without going into the details and all the nuances, I think it is fair to say that above all we want to provide an outstanding and relevant education. Our standards are the highest. Most of the faculty have been trained or have taught at the famous business schools of the world. We know instinctively what quality means and we want to bring that same kind of excellence to CEU Business School. Beyond that, there are certain areas that we emphasize. First, we aim to educate leaders. We spend a great deal of time with our students nurturing their capacities for modern leadership. Second, we are investing in developing CEU Business School into the premier academic hub in the Region for entrepreneurship and innovation management. It is our belief that in the twenty-first century competitive success depends increasingly on new value creation. For that you need highly educated entrepreneurs and innovators. Third, we are strong in modern finance and are growing our competencies in this area. In fact, the recent meltdown is necessitating new kinds of thinking about finance and economics, and both CEU Business School and CEU as a whole are committed to contribute to developing new theory and practice in the newly configured financial services sector. Finally, CEU Business School, building on an already strong foundation, remains the pacesetter in business ethics, corporate social responsibility and integrity. Professional managers and business leaders today need better ways to think about such matters. We recently received a $3-million grant from Siemens to development modern curriculum in this area.

What makes the CEU Business School special, or different compared to other schools offering similar education?

CEU Business School is a full-fledged institution. We cover the whole value chain of what makes an excellent and world-class business school. We are committed to the very best in teaching and have close student-faculty ties. We also conduct intensive and innovative curriculum development. We do not just teach material developed elsewhere. We design new and unique courses and programs. We also produce research. Our academic faculty must conduct research and must then be reviewed by their peers in the world, as is the case with all top-ranked business schools. We are also innovative and can move quickly. For example, we are introducing iPads in our next MBA class, which enters in September, 2011. We are also considering establishing a business incubator to nurture new firms and to provide a venue for our students to learn on the ground what it is like to be an entrepreneur.

You became Dean of the Business School at the beginning of the year. What was your motivation when you came to CEU?

Well, it has been a short time; but I think we have made considerable progress. Our goal is to remain the number one full-bodied business school in the Region and to be part of a global network of excellent business schools. That way, our faculty and students can be part of a truly valuable and powerful scholarly and professional ecosystem that will only get stronger in the years ahead. In fact, one reason I came to CEU Business School is because in all the excitement about the large BRIC countries, I felt Central and Eastern Europe was a bit overlooked. There is an opportunity here for a superior and respected business school. I believe CEU Business School is that institution. Also, being part of CEU, I its business school has a special responsibility to show that business and economic opportunity are key parts of the Open Society, which is the intellectual foundation on which George Soros founded CEU.

What are your plans to keep the school at the number one spot?

We have several plans. Above all, we are continuing to hire great faculty at all levels from around the world. We are also constantly redesigning our programs and courses. In this sense we are never satisfied. We are developing new more targeted programs that will be launched over the next couple of years. We are also reinventing the whole notion of what a business school means with new technology for learning, a possible new business incubator, more alliances with institutions around the globe and more learning in the field. More generally, it is our hope that CEU Business School continues to contribute to the larger community by becoming a robust and creative world-class academic hub for innovation and other key fields. CEU Business School will then help to make Budapest and the Region a world-class cluster for new business and economic development for the twenty-first century.