Hungarian management schools and universities are “extremely missing out” by not joining Ceeman and sharing in its regional and international activities, according to Zoltán Buzády, associate professor of leadership at Budapestʼs Corvinus University.
Ceeman, originally the Central and East European Management Development Association, was founded in 1993 specifically to enable management schools in what had been communist Europe and the former USSR to share and exchange know-how and knowledge in order to kick-start business leadership skills.
Headquartered in Bled, Slovenia, Ceeman has proved so effective that, after attracting considerable international interest from outside its core region, it changed its name (but not its acronym) to the International Association for Management Development in Dynamic Societies in 2013 to reflect its growing reach.
Despite this success – and despite hosting two of Ceeman’s 26 annual conferences in Budapest (in 1999, by IMC, forerunner of the CEU Business School, and 2014 by the Budapest wing of France’s ESSCA School of Management) – the response from Hungarian management institutions has been lukewarm at best.
“We were thinking that we were going to import knowledge from Harvard and the West, and this would radiate strong enough,” says Buzády.
Arguably, management education in Hungary has regressed as a result: the CEU Business School merged with the university’s Economics Department in 2017 and dropped its MBA programs, while the Hungarian government has recently announced that Corvinus University will come under the Ministry of Innovation and Technology in a move designed to boost its global standing.
Speaking to the Budapest Business Journal at Ceeman’s 26th annual conference, hosted by the University of New York in Prague, Czech Republic – headed by Andreas Antonopoulos, a former professor at the CEU Business School – Buzády said that after winning a case study competition and attending a Ceeman conference in Georgia, “I discovered that there is a whole world outside for us Hungarians!”
In a global sector dominated by big names such as Harvard, Insead, IMD and London, Ceeman, he says, provides an accessible and cost-effective forum for the valuable exchange of ideas.
“Where would someone from, say, Wroclaw, go to discuss management education trends?” he asks, “At any big [business schools’] conference they would be ridiculed and have nothing to say. Ceeman fills this gap.”
The Prague conference attracted some 150 participants, including representatives of business schools from across Central and Western Europe, Russia, China, Brazil, South Africa and India. Along with Buzády, Hungary was represented by Zsuzsa Deli-Gray, director of the ESSCA School of Management’s Budapest operations.
Zoltán Buzády, associate professor of leadership at Corvinus University, Budapest, received the Ceeman 2018 Champion award in the category of Innovative Pedagogy at the association’s conference in Prague on September 21.
Buzády won the accolade on account of his work with the Hungarian-American professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and others on Fligby, an acclaimed leadership development simulation game which enables operators to objectively gauge management capabilities using a so-called “non-intrusive assessment of leadership skills”.