© Jav.Z / David Vega
The Institute for Privatization and Management (IPM) in Minsk, Belarus is an internationally renowned and accredited graduate school founded in 1993 by a consortium of organizations from the United States, Belarus and Poland in order to provide world class post-graduate business education. IPM has also been selected to receive the BID Quality Crown Award for 2015.
Nobel Prize in Literature
This is a big year for Belarusian award winners. In selecting Sletvana Alexievich for the 2015 Nobel prize in literature, the judges of the Nobel Prize Committee cited “her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.” Alexievich is not well known outside the Russian and Belarusian speaking worlds, but this is likely to change. She joins other Belarusian notables such as Menachem Begin and Shimon Peres to be recognized by the Swedish Academy, and is the first Belarusian to win for literature. Naturally, she was pleased with the award, and pointed out what the cash prize would mean to her: “It takes me a long time to write my books, from five to 10 years. I have two ideas for new books so I’m pleased that I will now have the freedom to work on them.”
Alexievich began her career as a journalist, and has carried a reporter’s sensibility with her ever since. She is famous for methodically researching her writing with interviews, and has conducted thousands of them from Chernobyl to Afghanistan. She writes in a particularly emotional style, and has described the suffering of survivors of conflict and hardship by offering “a history of a human being about whom we didn’t know that much.”
The daughter of schoolteachers, she always seems to be trying to teach a deeper reality to her readers through a fiction of verisimilitude. In her own words, “Reality has always attracted me like a magnet, it tortured and hypnotised me, I wanted to capture it on paper. So I immediately appropriated this genre of actual human voices and confessions, witness evidences and documents.” This style is particularly evident in War’s Unwomanly Face, from 1985, her first book. In order to write it, she interviewed hundreds of Russian women regarding their experiences on the front lines and behind the lines during WWII. She described the women in the book as epitomizing compassion, which according to her is the “very substance...purpose and ultimate meaning” of Woman. Then, in 1992, with Zinky Boys: The Record of a Lost Soviet Generation, we see Alexievich return to the same technique to describe the Soviet war in Afghanistan. She takes an unblinking look at the horrors of war from the point of view of those who lost loved ones there, and from people who witnessed it firsthand. Graphic and sad, it reads like a journalist’s account in many ways because of the fashion in which she gathered her material.
The year after Zinky Boys was published, reactor number four at Chernobyl blew up, and Alexievich interviewed more than 500 eyewitnesses to the disaster and its aftermath to produce a powerful story that was published as Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster in 2006 and made into a film in 2010.
Alexievich points out that she is not an historian, but tells historical truths from a perspective lacking in history books. In the introduction to her latest book she states “I don’t ask people about socialism, I ask about love, jealousy, childhood, old age. Music, dances, hairstyles. The myriad sundry details of a vanished way of life. This is the only way to chase the catastrophe into the framework of the mundane and attempt to tell a story.”
A Great Education in Minsk
Not far from Svetlana Alexievich’s home in Minsk stands the IPM Business School. No only is it the only European-type business education institution in Belarus, it is the only one to receive the International Quality Accreditation (IQA) and is the best school in Belarus according to the 2013 Eduniversal Business Schools ranking. The school also operates the only Executive MBA program in Belarus created under international standards. Since its founding, IPM has expanded its offering and the number of international partners with which it cooperates in order to form a global network of scholars who can take advantage of the latest trends and techniques from top educators all over the world. Today it has partners not only in the original three countries of its founding, but also in Sweden, Russia, Slovenia, Great Britain, Germany, Ukraine, Hungary and Switzerland. © Jav.Z / David Vega
You are Known by the Company you Keep
For instance, IPM liases with the Open University Business School, which is accredited by the world's top management education associations, including the world's top accreditation body, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), as well as the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) and the Association of MBAs (AMBA). It is accredited as a studying center of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Among its other partners in education are Kozminski University, accredited by AACSB, EQUIS, and the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD); the IEDC-Bled School of Management (headquarters for the Central and Eastern European Management Development Association, IMTA and ELC and accredited by AMBA); the REFA-Bundesverband e.V., one of the largest ISO 9001 certified training organizations in Europe; Controller Akademie AG (Munich); the Stockholm School of Economics; the Adizes Institute (USA); and Celemi International (Sweden). This group continues to grow.
The school also lists among its international partners the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank, the International Financial Corporation (IFC), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
IPM is a member of the Russian Association of Business Education (RABE), the Baltic Management Development Association (BMDA), and is a founding member of the Association of Management Development (AMD).
A School that is Run like a Business
IPM has as its stated mission to increase national competitiveness through educational support of companies and individuals, by giving them expertise and resources previously unavailable in Belarus. IPM also has an unusually frank and client oriented approach to it relationships with cooperating institutions and students, which it refers to as clients. The administration recognizes that “We work for our clients. We depend on them and they don’t depend on us….We are proud of our clients and want them to be proud of us.”
Consistent with its customer-centric orientation, IPM is also committed to service after the sale. The school has an active Alumni club, which unites graduates, keeps them in contact with each other, and provides them the opportunity to discuss important issues with their peers and to get answers to their questions. This learning is supplemented by regular visits from internationally renowned authors and business leaders to speak either in person or by videoconference. Annual events held on campus include MobileOptimized, one of the most important Mobile Development conferences in Eastern Europe, and IT Spring, an international conference that brings together tech leaders, software developers, managers, and business owners from the region.
A Resource for Local Entrepreneurs
One program that deserves special mention is the Business Academy for Owners (BAO), a joint project of IPM Business School and the Stockholm School of Economics IFL. Focused on business owners and their development needs, the BAO is a learning laboratory where active business leaders and members of academe can come together to discuss the latest trends, exchange ideas and gain insights from each other and from faculty. The approach used at BAO is “action learning,” where business-owners are challenged to work on real issues in a collaborative environment and with the goal of reexamining standard wisdom and operating procedures in order to create fresh ideas. Participants can join the Business Club, which operates as a clearinghouse for business owners who want to share experiences and learn from each other.
Because of its commitment to continuous quality improvement, its focus on customer service, and its long term approach to maintaining client relationships, as well as its long list of prestigious international collaborations, IPM has been selected to receive the BID Quality Crown Award for 2015 at the convention in London.
ABOUT BID AND THE INTERNATIONAL QUALITY CROWN AWARD:
BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries. The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level. Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.