Interview with professor Ana Bovan, Dean at Executive School of Economics and Management

Interview with professor Ana Bovan, Dean at Executive School of Economics and Management

What inspired the creation of ESEM Business school as an innovative business school?

prof Bovan: Education enriches individuals, empowers communities, and fortifies nations. This impact is particularly profound when education is of the highest calibre, uncompromising in its commitment to quality. We all deserve a fair opportunity to access top-tier, unwaveringly high-quality education.

This idea is in the core of our motivation to address this burning issue in the realm of executive education. The chance for most of the population around the globe to have access to top-tier schooling is especially lacking in the developing regions, like Serbia, the rest of southeast Europe but also in many areas of Africa and Asia. The barriers to entry are too high for the majority.

We need a new approach to advanced and improved business education which is still highly selective in admission, but based only on knowledge and capability, not selective due to economic opportunities. We are making improved executive education accessible to many more young executives and companies striving for their achievements. Education brings many benefits, yet excellent education truly boosts economic growth, and fosters deeper social development, leading to a fundamentally thriving society and a more purposeful life of individuals and families.


Is there something that sets ESEM apart from traditional institutions?

prof Bovan: In addition to making executive education accessible to many more individuals and companies, we reimagined what a B-School is supposed to be and do. The uniqueness of ESEM is in the content and its delivery. There are approximately 13,000 business schools worldwide, encompassing a diverse range of quality, from the outstanding to the subpar. However, even among the top institutions, the curriculum has remained largely unchanged for the past five decades. This stagnation no longer aligns with the pressing and evolving needs of the business world, particularly in developing economies like SEE, or booming Africa and Asia.

Several years ago, a group of academics and business leaders, recognized all these discrepancies and felt compelled to take action. Our impetus stemmed from the significant shifts occurring in the global geoeconomic landscape, which presented immense opportunities for developing economies in dire need of a robust, adaptable, and ethically grounded business management community. Thus we created the “ESEM pedagogy”, comprising of several layers of learning, where academic teaching is as strong as the real-life projects conduced in companies.

This innovative pedagogy is delivered by professors from some of the best business school and universities in the world, like IMD, Columbia Business School, Kellog Business School, ESSEC, Sciences Po, and also from the UK like Aston or Anglia Ruskin Universities. ESEM Business School has partnered with prestigious SDA Bocconi to deliver Corporate Strategy module, and our participants highly value this rare opportunity to study in Milan. The professors who teach our curriculum have spent time teaching at places like Harvard and Yale, in addition to working in real business so to bring concrete and applicable concepts and tools to our participants. Our esteemed Advisory Board members, especially prof. Salvatore Cantale from IMD Lausanne, have inspired crucial improvements in the delivery of teaching and facilitation of learning of our participants. These improvements are in fact the secret ingredient of the ESEM Method.


Has the regional market been introduced to the school and can BSCC be a platform of cooperation and partnership?

prof Bovan: Yes, the regional market has been introduced to ESEM Business School, and we have participants from several countries already, with the aim of expanding to other global developing regions. Our aim is to leverage the School’s resources, expertise, and network to facilitate both the accessibility and quality of education that not only benefit our students, but also contribute to the growth and development of the region.

We are open to exploring a wide range of collaborative initiatives, including research collaborations, joint educational programmes, knowledge sharing, and community engagement, to make a positive impact in the region and strengthen our presence. Through our outreach efforts, we have actively engaged with businesses, organisations, and academic institutions to promote our educational offerings and establish mutually beneficial relationships.

The BSCC has been a for ESEM an excellent networking and learning environment, thanks to relentless energy and devotion of the people who are dedicated to its success, like Richard and Jadranka and the whole team. At ESEM we are thus working on a special arrangement for BSCC members who would decide to apply for our Executive MBA programme. We believe that development and improvement should never be delayed or postponed. On an individual level, but also on a bigger scale, we are here to help make it happen.