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The Warsaw Voice » Business » May 7, 2015
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Challenges for MBA Programs in Poland
May 7, 2015   
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There is an interesting analogy between the challenges faced by Polish MBA programs and the Polish economy as a whole.

The Polish economy has achieved some unquestionable successes in recent decades, but today it needs changes that will enable it to break out of the middle income trap and advance to the group of highly developed economies. Economists often emphasize that this cannot be achieved solely through imitation, imported technology and settling for the role of a global subcontractor. Polish companies must become innovative, expansive, and begin to build global brands in order to reach customers around the world with what they offer.

Managerial education adds up to a somewhat similar picture. In the first few years of the transition to a free-market economy, this was created almost from scratch in Poland—largely thanks to imported know-how and ready-made solutions from Western Europe and the United States. We managed to create good MBA programs, usually modeled after foreign programs and often provided under foreign license.

But today Poland needs to take an extra step. World-class MBA programs tailored to the challenges of the modern world and changing with the needs of businesses cannot be imported. You have to create them yourself, just as you need to build the most valuable thing—brand recognition for business schools not only at home but also internationally. Without this, and without building an alumni network around schools, you cannot compete with the best.

At the Warsaw University of Technology Business School, which was established 23 years ago together with the London Business School, HEC Paris and NHH Bergen, we’ve decided to tackle this challenge by entering into a strategic alliance with the Central European University, an American university based in Budapest and founded by George Soros. The two institutions work together closely in many areas—education, research, training, and the exchange of teachers and students. The main objective is to integrate our MBA programs and create a common regional brand. We want Katalyst MBA to be the first fully international MBA program in Central and Eastern Europe and a recognizable brand in Europe, comparable to those of the best business schools in Western Europe. Without this you cannot expect to get to the premier league.

Prof. Witold Or³owski, director of the Warsaw University of Technology Business School, a member of the Polish prime minister’s Economic Council, and chief economic advisor to PricewaterhouseCoopers Polska
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