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The Warsaw Voice » Other » July 29, 2009
Education
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Focus on CEE
July 29, 2009   
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Ten years ago, the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder)/Słubice was the first university to offer an English-language MBA degree in "Management in Central and Eastern Europe." The program director, Dr. Hans-Georg Lilge, is now aiming to make it even more attractive.
Lilge talks to the Voice.

How does Viadrina University's MBA program differ from other similar programs in Europe?
The MBA Program of Viadrina University is one of the very few in Europe with a regional focus on Central and Eastern Europe.

What does that mean in terms of the content taught?
Despite the current economic crisis and its negative impact on the economies of the region, Central and Eastern Europe remains the most attractive region in Europe in terms of growth rates. While the markets of Western Europe are mostly saturated, and its aging populations are expected to decline, the eastern regions of Europe still offer tremendous opportunities for those willing to take some risk. Naturally, a number of Western companies are looking to expand into these markets to offset expected growth declines in the West. To be successful in the particular conditions of Eastern Europe, you need to have some profound knowledge. The Viadrina MBA offers this know-how in a condensed form, fostered with insights from experienced senior executives and well-known academics.

What makes the modular structure of Viadrina's MBA program so attractive?
We are an Executive MBA Program, and most of our students are already working in responsible, mid-level management positions. These students hold very busy jobs, not to mention their private life. They are seeking for a continuing education to advance their career while at the same time maintaining a healthy work-life balance. The Viadrina MBA Program is particularly designed for these people. Moreover, visits to companies in Germany (such as Bayer Schering, Bombardier and ArcellorMittal) and Poland (Nivea Beiersdorf and Philips) are an essential part of the study program.

How is the Viadrina MBA program structured?
It is a part-time program consisting of a mixture of internet-based distant learning and intensive on-site instruction weeks. Every six weeks, the students come for one week to Frankfurt (Oder)/Słubice to participate in a learning module. These learning modules are quite intense; they have up to 65 teaching hours of work load. But then, students return to their jobs and families, and receive the teaching material via internet to prepare themselves for the next learning module. Altogether, the MBA Program consists of nine learning modules, adding up to only 47 work days in 18 months. This provides students with the opportunity to stay on the job while jump-starting their career.

What is the profile of the average MBA student?
It is strange but there is no average MBA student. Our students are a highly diverse group, representing all walks of life and layers of society. The Viadrina MBA students come from up to 25 different countries, many of them from Russia, Romania, Albania, Belarus, Germany, and Poland. They are in their late twenties or early thirties and have already accumulated some experience in their professions.

What are the prerequisites for applying?
Applicants should hold a university degree and have at least three years of professional experience. Additionally, they should be fluent in English.

When does the next course start?
Our next class is going to start in March 2010. The application deadline is the end of December this year.
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