STRONG BRAND IS REQUIRED IN EDUCATION SECTOR TOO

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We are aware of the strong competition among the privately-owned higher education institutions in Croatia and the importance of branding, and that is why we have seriously addressed this task. We have become publicly known for our recognized campaigns under the slogans: Make a career controversial but memorable – Culture means Business.

The Dean of Zagreb School of Business, Lukša Lulić, PhD, is a doctor of economic sciences, who was appointed to this position thanks to a wealth of his managerial experience in both private and state companies in the energy sector. As a seasoned energy expert, Dr Lulić was also appointed a member of HEP Supervisory Board late last year. We are talking with Dr Lulić about the new and important tasks that education has to accomplish.

1. You have been the Dean for five years now, and this is your second term. When you came to school, it was stagnating. Why did you decide to take on this challenge?

I am a person who likes challenges, and although I had no experience in the education sector, I assumed the duties of this position at a very sensitive time of re-accreditation of our study programme. Since then, we have achieved excellent, positive results – our first specialist graduate marketing and communications programme was established and then two more undergraduate study programs – Management and Production in Culture and Economic Logistics – were finally accredited within one year, which ultimately resulted in us acquiring a new status of a polytechnic. I believe, and this has been validated during my term in the office, that the dean’s function is very close to that of a manager – dean needs a vision and should be able to motivate its employees.

2. How important is the recognizability of your study programmes and the brand itself in the education sector?

We are aware of the strong competition among the privately-owned higher education institutions in Croatia and the importance of branding. To that end, we have been cooperating with top-notch professionals. Early last year, the design studio Kunazlatica re-designed our visual identity to go with our new name, while our campaigns are devised by the marketing agency called Utorak. Last year’s campaign was quite humorous and memorable; it featured a cod (which is associated with the word baccalaureus) which is fished by the best employers. In spite of rebranding, we still won the SUPERBRANDS title in our category last year, a success that makes us very proud.

3. In the last two academic years, you launched two new study programmes. Who is Management and Production in Culture and Supply Chain Management intended for?

Croatia has a high demand for managers and producers in many segments of culture – from music and visual arts to design, theatre, film and television. This involves various institutions – theatres, museums, galleries, concert halls and festivals, but also all forms of non-institutional models of cultural and artistic practices. As far as the Supply Chain Management programme is concerned, this is an integral approach to planning, implementing and controlling the flow of information, materials and services from the raw materials and components of the supplier through the production of the finished product and the distribution to the end customer. The programme is therefore technical in nature, and encompasses the segment of Traffic and Transportation Technology, and the branch of Intelligent Transport Systems and Logistics.

4. The City of Zagreb owns Zagreb Business School. What advantages does this status bring you?

The Public Open University Zagreb is our founder. This institution has an incredible 100 years of tradition in life-long learning. Since we are located in their headquarters, we are also indirectly owned by the City of Zagreb. We are not privately owned per se, but we do operate in line with the market conditions, without any subsidies from the city.

5. What kind of treatment do professional studies in Croatia have and how does the public perceive them? Are parents and employers aware of the benefits of a professional study programme?

Lately, there have been a lot of debates in the media about the differences between professional undergraduate and university studies, and even today most of the public, including parents and employers, are still unclear about these differences. Professional studies are based on the dual education system, which means that various experts from work practice are involved in the education process and are thus able to train and prepare students to meet the market needs. Public perception is slowly but surely changing for our benefit.

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