Marketing Education: CEU Business School

CEU Business School was founded in 1988 (under the initial name of IMC – International Management Center) as the first school in the CEE region offering an American MBA Program. While back then being the first was indeed a competitive advantage (there was no competition in fact), today, having an American MBA Program is merely a cost of entry on the already highly competitive regional educational market.

Moreover, the competition now lies not only within the boundaries of the Central and Eastern European region, but globaly, since bright professionals from these regions are more and more attracted by the highly coveted names of schools such as Harvard, MIT, INSEAD or London School of Economics. This attraction works also the other way around, since top universities are actively seeking and recruiting the brightest individuals from our region as well.

In such a competitive market, how do you actually differentiate from rest of the pack when you’re offering an intangible and generic product (at least by name), such as an MBA? How do you make your product offering really relevant for the region you are active in? What more than just business can you teach the young professionals in this region?

When Paul Garrison became the new Dean of CEU Business School, he recognized immediately these challenges, based on his vast experience in strategic marketing. He knew that he had to reposition the school’s offering on the market to competitively differentiate from all the other MBA Programs offered in the region. What was the one thing that the CEE region had that was different than the rest of the Western world? The answer was simple: the region was an emergent market.

In a regional emergent market there are a lot of national, cultural, political, social and ethical issues that highly influence the business environment. The future business leaders of this region need to be well prepared to lead the region in its continuous change process towards a mature market. In doing so, they need to be highly attuned to not just business, but all the other factors mentioned above.

In doing so, the CEU Business School is actually creating a new model: the transnational leader that is not just a professional business manager, but also culturally, politically, socially and ethically attuned to the specifics of the region he or she will do business in. With these new abilities, the new transnational leader will be better equipped, not just to adapt to ever changing environments in this region, but in fact lead the change process itself.

From now on, it will not suffice to get your MBA program participants ready for success, offer them a world class MBA or develop them in the future business leaders, because there is more than just doing business in this region. CEU Business School MBA Program is now differentiating itself from the rest of the products offered by the other schools, positioning its offering as the foundation of creating the transnational leaders of tomorrow. By doing so, the CEU Business School is actually redefining the rules of the game and expanding the costs of entry for every competitor on this market.

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