Mini program – maximum results

The Prague Post

University of New York Prague hosts business program

A new program offering at the University of New York Prague (UNYP) will be targeting a different kind of student — the working business professional.

The two-week seminar, tailored for those associated with the emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe, will launch in mid-May. If all goes as planned, the Strategic Management Program could end up being a regular staple on the university’s annual roster, depending on demand, of course.

UNYP, which is partnering with the University of Michigan’s William Davidson Institute, says it has already received calls from interested companies in the Czech Republic and the United States. Anna Serefeas, UNYP’s director of enrollment management, says program classes will be capped at 30 participants. Companies can also arrange to run the program for just their employees.

“To be able to offer this type of certificate is wonderful,” Serefeas says. “We want to open up and not only offer programs and degrees but training and corporate learning. We are very excited to be doing something like this.”

Serefeas says the program targets top-level corporate individuals with at least five years of work experience, adding that the course offerings can also help managers who don’t have a masters in business administration to get a feel for one, as well as for those who do, to have a refresher course and get a current view on evolving topics.

“The program is based on case studies and modules which makes it very useful for people,” Serefeas says. “It’s geared toward people managing a group who will take the knowledge back to their companies.”

The University of Michigan approached UNYP last fall about doing the program, and will be flying in four instructors, all with international teaching experience, specifically for the management seminar. The William Davidson Institute, which is part of Michigan University’s Roth School of Business, is known for its courses on emerging markets.

The two-week Prague seminar will basically be split into four parts — marketing, strategy, finance and leading change.

Every section will offer a mix of lectures, case studies, discussions and active learning using real life examples. Participants also engage in group work, which aims to increase their critical thinking, teamwork and decision-making skills, organizers say.

John Branch, a professor and the director of educational outreach at the William Davidson Institute, who will be teaching the marketing segment of the seminar, says this program will give students a new set of tools and a more global view of their particular role at work.

“The most critical thing which most managers lack is a holistic vision of how the world turns. That is, they have no systematic, comprehensive understanding of how, why, where, when, etc. marketing works,” he says. “I believe the program, whose curriculum is integrated and tightly-structured, also helps participants develop their own world view, their own understanding of marketing.”

Branch’s segment of the program will focus on marketing concepts and theories and include such topics as managing your brand and marketing analysis and strategy. Branch has served as an adjunct or visiting professor at more than 40 universities around the world. It’s his job at William Davidson Institute to distribute the pedagogical materials on emerging and transitional markets.
The strategy section will be led by Yusaf H. Akbar, who is a WDI faculty affiliate and associate professor at the Central European Business School in Budapest. In addition to teaching at universities the world over, he has published two books on international trade and multinational enterprises. Akbar will focus on the formulation and implementation of strategy and discuss ideas like industry and competitive analysis and growth strategies.

Finance is every company’s biggest concern, and the seminar will dedicate three full days to the topic. Neil Cohen, a faculty affiliate with WDI and an associate professor of finance at George Washington University, plans to focus his presentation on showing operational managers how their work is tied to the company’s bottom line and how to prepare project proposals that will get funded by their financial managers. Cohen has taught in Zagreb and Bratislava.

The final course is a touchy subject for many companies: change. Julie Dziekan will teach participants what they need to know to drive change in their organizations. Themes she’ll cover include leading transformational change, developing effective change strategies and overcoming resistance to change. Dziekan has worked within a number of universities and programs around the globe, including Uzbekistan and Rwanda.

Graduates of the program will receive a certificate issued by the William Davidson Institute, the University of Michigan and the University of New York.