Former President of the IEDC-Bled School of Management
As the pioneer of an innovative approach in the art and leadership education process, IEDC-Bled School of Management encourages business leaders to act as competent and ethically responsible transformational leaders in their organisations and society at large. More than 50 renowned visiting professors from the best European and North American business schools closely cooperate with IEDC’s own faculty and successfully link the contemporary management theory and practice. IEDC-Bled School of Management, founded 30 years ago as the first business school of its type in Central and Eastern Europe, is now one of the leading international management development institutions in Europe. The three main pillars of the educational process at the IEDC-Bled School of Management are: art and leadership, ethics and corporate governance, and sustainable development. So far, more than 77,000 participants from 85 countries have had the chance to experience the IEDC- Bled School of Management’s creative environment for creative leadership! From its beginning the IEDC-Bled School of Management has been led by Prof Danica Purg whose special eld of interest is looking for inspiration from the arts and other professions for managers. Prof Purg and her institution have received many awards and other recognitions for the school’s programmes, innovation and overall excellence. When she received the 2010 International Educator of the Year Award from the Academy of International Business, the AIB cited as one of the arguments the in influence she has had in bringing more attention and recognition to the critical role that management education plays in business and society. And Prof Purg has been for more than 30 years devoted to educating and developing responsible leaders who lead in a different and better way.
CAN YOU START BY TELLING US A BIT ABOUT HOW A WORLD-CLASS MANAGEMENT SCHOOL LIKE IEDC CAME TO BE ESTABLISHED IN BLED?
The IEDC-Bled School of Management was established in 1986 by the Slovene Chamber of Commerce with a mission to prepare a new generation of Slovene and Yugoslavian managers to lead enterprises toward a market economy. The school was then based in an estate in nearby Brdo which had been Josip Broz Tito’s summer residence. When I was appointed direc- tor in 1986, I encountered strong resistance. You have to understand that those were very different times, when even the word ‘management’ was not allowed. I overcame various political resistance and reinvented the school, encompassing its mission, operations, clients and personnel. In 2000, IEDC opened its door to the public in Bled, which has been described as a place that can still astonish even the most spoiled and demanding cosmopolitan. I am happy and proud that our school is located here! I believe that executive education is best conducted in a pleasant and natural setting, away from the hustle and bustle of city life and diversions from work. Bled is the right place for learning and reection.
From the start, IEDC was dedicated rst and foremost to being “an out- standing teaching institution, providing learning with the world’s best professors teamed with top regional experts.”Today we continue this tradi- tion, and have become a globally recognized international business school. This means that we maintain the highest standards in education but keep things small and intimate to provide the best experience for our students.
IN THESE DIFFICULT TIMES, SOCIETY NEEDS INSPIRED LEADERS. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I am inspired by my work in general and its success, but especially by art. Bringing the arts and business together has long been a passion of mine. Art in various forms, especially theatre and drama and later also visual arts, has always been a very important part of my life. Throughout my life, and very much today, art inspires and motivates me. I feel art is essential to hav- ing rich experiences, a life full of meaning. I have always wanted to impart this to those with whom I work: our students, sta and faculty.
AT THE IEDC-BLED SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT YOU HAVE DEVELOPED A NEW TOPIC, ART AND LEADERSHIP. WHY?
Because firmly believe that using art in leadership development as a tool for reection and to develop the senses, to make leaders better observers, better listeners and more emphatic in general. The integration of art and art experience in educational processes has been a focus of our school from its beginnings, but especially for the last ten years. The inspiration for this unique approach to leadership development is a deep-rooted belief that art helps us to, as the celebrated professor Edgar Schein, Doctor Honoris Causa of our school, said: “Art helps us to see more, hear more, and to feel more. Art is shocking, provoking and inspiring.” When you combine re- search and teaching with the art of leadership in the educational process, it is very powerful.
WHEN YOU ENTER IN IEDC-BLED SCHOOL OF MANAGE- MENT, YOU HAVE THE FEELING THAT YOU HAVE ENTERED THE ART GALLERY. IS THAT DONE ON PURPOSE?
Art is everywhere at the IEDC-Bled School of Management, as this has been a foundational aspect of the school from the beginning. The School is a stunning architectural space made by the prize winning Slovene architect Vojteh Ravnikar, with beautiful views to the alpine surroundings of lake Bled. When people enter the school they truly enter an art gallery, where in each room they can see prominent art from internationally acclaimed local artists, there is even a piano in one of our main classrooms.
HOW MANY FOREIGN PARTICIPANTS ENROL AT IEDC? ACCOUNT FOR 80% OF THE INDIVIDUALS ENROLLED IN IEDC’S EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMES.
Foreign participants account for some 80% of all individuals enrolled in our educational programmes, and we stay connected with our students, through di erent channels. One of them is IEDC Alumni Network, which operates through 15 alumni clubs – the 15th was established in South Africa. IEDC provides a supportive network and an educational home for them to come for advice, re ection, or even just a cup of co ee. We are also building new Alumni House – place for get-togethers, a café for sharing and debating, and a multi-visual learning laboratory – an atelier with splendid support for the most effective learning with an impact on innovative busi- ness solutions for tomorrow.
DOES IEDC OFFER ANY NON-EXECUTIVE OR PHD PRO- GRAMS FOR FOREIGNERS WHO MIGHT LIKE TO LIVE AND STUDY IN BLED FOR A SHORTER TIME?
Traditionally, at the end of June and until the mid-July, IEDC organizes two Summer Schools: the Young Managers Programme (YMP) and Dis- cover Entrepreneurial Management Programme (DEMP). YMP is an in- tensive two-week programme for young managers or potential young managers. Hundreds of alumni con rm the YMP was a milestone in their careers and a life-changing experience! DEMP, on the other hand, is an intensive nine-day experience which requires no previous management background. It’s designed for young graduates, and students in their final years of study who would like to take a journey through all major aspects of management practice before starting their professional career. Both summer schools are widening participants’ personal network with young managers around the world as in the class, 15-20 countries