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The Baltic Management Development Association annual conference, to be hosted by ISM University of Management and Economics in Vilnius, Lithuania, next month, is set to attract a record attendence, organisers say.
“At present we have around 100 participants from academia and business from 18 countries for this, our sixth conference,” says Virginijus Kundrotas, who doubles as president of both the BMDA and the host school.
“We expect numbers to climb to about 120. It will certainly be one of the biggest and most important international events on management in Lithuania.”
Interest has been kindled because the conference, entitled “If Ever? Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders”, will address topics that are central to current business needs, Prof Kundrotas says.
“We will be dealing with questions such as how we attract, retain, involve and take care of key people and how do we motivate and lead the next generation of leaders. Organisations are facing a big need for good leaders and any discussion on how to develop and keep them is always of great importance,” he says.
Moreover, with both academics and business practitioners in attendance, the interplay between theory and practice will be relevant to both sides.
“We have academics such as Peter Lorange, [former dean of IMD] and Ichak Adizes, one of the world’s leading experts on improving the performance of business and government organisations, along with Wilfried von Rath, vice-president of group HR top management, Volkswagen. These people are attractive to an audience, keen to know the lessons schools can learn from companies, and vice versa,” Prof Kundrotas says.
Mr von Rath concurs, saying that previous co-operation between Volkswagen and some of the BMDA schools had produced “very fruitful discussions and some hands-on intelligence” regarding the recruitment market.
“Volkswagen is very interested in working with both big and smaller business schools that have a particular strength such as, in this case, the economic environment in central and eastern Europe.
“We are expecting big growth in these markets in the future while, at the same time, we are expecting a shortage of management talent in the region,” says Mr von Rath.
Copenhagen Business School, which joined the BMDA in the past year, sees the Baltic region as a “natural sphere of interest” for the Danish corporate sector. As such, the association is an ideal vehicle to both “gain insight and to contribute to the further development of management in the region”, says Robin Jensen, director of international programmes at CBS.
The BMDA, founded by a handful of schools in 2002, now boasts a membership of 56, including 35 institutional members, from 17 countries.