Business management in Azerbaijan

Analysis Materials 3 February 2010 12:07 (UTC +04:00)

Today the problem of quality of education in Azerbaijan has more crucial importance for the country's economy which develops under the conditions of free market. In addition, it deals with postgraduate education. According to the latest Global Competitiveness Report, prepared annually by the World Economic Forum (WEF), in the category "Quality of business schools", Azerbaijan ranked 117th amongst 133 countries, and in the category of "Credibility of professional management" - that is who occupy leading positions in the companies - family and friends regardless of the availability of competencies, or managers, professionals, elected to these positions for their services - 95th. Probably, it is natural.

Today in Azerbaijan there are only few such business managers, whose special education enable them to manage business anywhere in the world. In this case, it deals with not people having a traditional education in economics. It is about those who have new knowledge and skills, able to help their owners manage both the company and make decisions in today's competitive and globalized economy in order to make them if not European, at least regional leaders in their sphere. If high-quality secondary and higher education, when it really becomes established, brings its fruits in the medium and long term outlook, we need the professional business managers already today.

Training Program MBA (Master of business administration), which gives an opportunity to obtain an academic degree in business management and was recognized in the world, can be an instrument through which the domestic business gains new impetus in its development. The program can be envisaged for a year or two years, the forms of training are also different: full-time education, part-time employment, short-term improvement trainings for managers with executive experience. But the goal of the MBA program is one - professional training for the effective management of a company in constant competition.

In Azerbaijan, there are two main problems hindering the process of training professional managers. The first one is the psychological unwillingness of business owners (majority shareholder), something fundamentally changes in the current system of business and management of companies, in other words, the distrust in the new, non-traditional forms, if they do not immediately bring tangible results. The second problem is funding. Full training at the best business schools in the world, depending on the size of the curriculum, costs from $35,000 to $75,000 per year, including accommodation and training manuals.

Given that the program will be designed for 2 years, it is a bigger figure. The cost of programs for MBA qualification in Azerbaijan, for example at the universities "Khazar" and "Caucasus", is lower, but even these sums are not practical for many potential listeners. Of course, there are systems of long-term lending (in the West up to 90% of the total amount of training) with reasonable interest rates, but is rather a tendency inherent in the Western countries where these schemes have been long and carefully devised. In Russia, for example, most MBA students are studying either at their own expense or at the expense of employer.

The owners of medium and large businesses in Azerbaijan, being interested in enhancing the competitiveness of their companies, a steady demand for their products, access to foreign markets and consequently in increasing the cost of their shares and attracting foreign investment, will be able to quickly achieve these goals if not regret funds for training young talented specialists. Having been trained, such professionals could almost immediately begin to benefit the company and its image.

For example, a local company, producing quality products, feels ready to enter the European market and even it has potential buyers, but it can not do this because it has no international verification of conformity of products with European quality standards. Another example: BP, a company working on the development of oil fields in Azerbaijan, needed to buy some equipment or check the quality of welds on any metal.

They will have to appeal to companies that enjoy its trust and have an international certificate of ISO 2009, confirming the quality of their products and services, although the local companies could also do the same. The competent business managers could start the process of obtaining international certificates such as ISO 2009, IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) and others, and to bring the characteristics of the company in line with international standards, increasing its ranking and visibility for international partners.

The above-mentioned example is only one aspect of many things that could make such leaders for the Azerbaijani companies, having modern methods of management and doing business, trained and able to make optimal decisions in the conditions of high competition and lack of time.