This semester Rusudan Chachanidze who teaches Strategic Management and Financial and Management Accounting at Caucasus University and University of Georgia, is a guest lecturer at Kazimieras Simonavičius University. We talk about the role of Strategic Management in a modern world, the education of Georgia and her impression on Vilnius and KSU.
How did you take an interest in strategic management?
Strategic Management is kind of a subject that has no special faculty for it. Therefore, it takes a lot of different knowledge to combine somehow. Firstly, on my BBA, I used to study marketing, then I switched to Finance and my PhD I am doing is on financial frauds. I had all general knowledge that helped me to go to the strategic management. It requires some knowledge of management, finance and marketing so that is why I decided to combine everything.
Why strategic management is important in a modern world?
Environment is very dynamic right now. Businesses and industries move very fast and change very fast so if you do not have proper tools to plan well, it is very hard to succeed. Although it does not work like you make a plan and it prevents you from changes. Furthermore, strategic management is more focused on being flexible and quickly respond to changes. I think it is a very important skill for each student who will go for having their own businesses or working in a big corporation. This planning skill, having this conceptual view and seeing things in a big picture is a very important capability if you want to succeed in business.
Is strategic management just about business or also public sector?
It is very relevant to both public sector and non-profit sector, so it is not only for businesses. Of course, planning is for everyone and it does not matter what you do, you need to plan things properly.
Do you have any insights about strategic management appliance in Europe and Georgia? Do businesses and governments understand the importance of it?
I think mostly big corporations do that. Every big corporation has its strategic management team and proper planning. Small corporations sometimes do not understand the importance of it. I try to bring to small companies and entrepreneurs the idea that it is important to have strategy even if you are small. I work with cases and I show how each of the theory that I’m teaching them is applied, I show the real life examples of big and small companies and start-ups, so they could see how useful it can be and how these tools are used to actually succeed.
Could you tell us more about Georgia education system? What role do the private universities play in Georgia?
In Georgia, we have many private and public universities. Before the reform, which was started I think in 2005 or 2006, government funding would only go to the public universities. Study quality at public university was not very high but private universities were good. Somehow, the government wanted public universities to keep up with the private ones. Therefore, government started this reform to create intense competition among public and private universities.
The voucher system was introduced. That means that money is given only to a student now. Public universities do not get any funding from government unless they attract students. If public university offers low quality education, students do not go there because they can bring their vouchers and money to private universities. In my opinion that helped a bit. Now we have at least one big public university, which has high quality education. And it is because of the competition. It’s all about student now.
In Lithuania the system is very similar. The difference is just mostly you can bring that public money only to a public university.
Well, it is the most important difference! Public universities has actually compete for money. They had to focus on quality, not only on number of articles or number of professors. Students do not care about that. All they want is to get a proper education and then find a job. Number of articles will not find you a job. That is why they have to increase the quality of education.
Tell us more about the University you came from.
Caucasus University is the university where I started my BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration); actually, this is my home university. It was one of the first private universities in Georgia, which had a very high quality studies and still has a very good reputation. It is a small university. Ant the other one is one of the biggest private universities in Georgia. They both are private and very successful. For example, Caucasus University still has a reputation that graduates of it can overcome any challenge. It is because it was very difficult to study there. I think time that I spent there has really helped me get more confidence and believe in myself, just believe that I can do anything I want. If you can survive 4 years there, you can survive anything! (Laughing)
What about students here in Lithuania and in Georgia? Do you notice any difference between Lithuanian and Georgian students?
Actually, no. Students have the same values and they are friendly. I like your students because they are so welcoming, friendly and very smart students as well. Sometimes after lectures, they invite me to hang out with them and just to be a part of their lives. They took me to the places where they usually go. And I really like being with them! It helps to know the culture better because when you come to a country just for two weeks and you do not have any friends here it is not easy to get into the culture. However, if you have someone who just take you to the places where they go and you get involved in their everyday life you understand the culture better. Everyone is very friendly here!
What is your impression about KSU?
Oh, I like your university very much! First time I visited it last year in summer on a workshop. I liked it so much! Well, I also liked the city. It was summer, sunny all the time. People I met from the administration were very nice. I was very glad to get this offer because I really wanted to come back here. It is so interesting to be here. Now you have this new building and you are growing so I am very glad to see your success.
Will you come back soon here in KSU?
I really hope that. I would like to have a chance to come back here!