Program Description


The Baltic Phoenix - Business Opportunities and Framework Conditions in the Three Baltic States summer program is scheduled from August 24 to September 4, 2020 and is focused on international business subject in the context of the Baltics.

Baltic countries have gone through a series of transformations in all levels: social, cultural, political, economic and technological – all of these have made businesses in the region highly agile and dynamic. Many senior business leaders have emerged in traditional industry sectors right after the centrally planned economy has collapsed and privatization of state property started nearly 30 years ago, while a new generation of businesses are focused on high-tech, fintech, and other innovation-led ideas. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are export-driven economies, very open for trading and foreign direct investment. This as well as other developments makes Baltics a special environment for international business studies.

ISM offers a special program that is delivered by a group of faculty in their mid-40ies having both business background and academic experience. Most of them are expatriates residing in Lithuania for more than 10 years and originating from different countries: Argentina, Canada, Germany, United States.

The program will consist of series of lectures and seminars comprising 60 contact hours and additional self-study hours comprising 6 ECTS. The course will involve involve company visits, business lunches and a guided tour in Vilnius. The course also involves a pre-coursework task (case studies, readings, etc.) that enrolled students are required to complete before starting the program. Pre-coursework tasks will be presented to students approx. 4 weeks before the start of the program. It is a part of the content of the course and is a subject to grade evaluation. Faculty will contact the students directly regarding the pre-coursework material and also will be available for discussion or answering questions.


The Content

The program is composed of the following key topics, each described below:

  • Trade and Economics in the Baltics
  • Foreign Direct Investment (Inwards and outwards)
  • Politics and trends
  • Culture and Identity Communication Styles
  • Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Business Strategy in the Baltics

Trade and Economics in the Baltics, delivered by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Maik Huettinger. The Baltic States have gone under various stages of transformations in the last 30 years. Once a part of the Soviet Union and subject to the planned Economy of the Comecon member states, the region had to entirely reorientate its economy towards a market economy based approach and towards finding new trading partners. Within the context of the European Integration, the three states firstly played the role of an appendix, by offering a highly educated low-wage workforce. However, since a decade the region has become known as a highly competitive and innovative market which is largely integrated in the Nordic region. In this module we will discuss basic questions such as: “What is the actual size of the Baltic Economy?”; "What do the Baltics countries actually produce?”;  "What industries do the Baltics have?”; "What do the Baltic countries actually export?” or "With whom to they actually trade?”. Moreover, we will focus on what impact recent developments such as Trumponomics, BREXIT or Russian Sanctions will have on the Economy of the Baltics.

Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility in the Baltics, delivered by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Maik Huettinger. Corporate Social Responsibility is a concept which has been developed in the US and Western Europe; basically to compensate for negative externalities caused by free market capitalism. Whereby the early 1990s in Eastern Europe were often described as a mirror of the ugly face of Wild-West capitalism, eco-social considerations started to play a role in the years to come. Particularly the transition from a planned economy with state owned companies, to a market based system with commercial interests which often bypassed workers rights, dominated the discussion. We will discuss the role CSR and similar models of Business Ethics can play in the Baltics to support and enhance the sustainable development of that region.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Delivered by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Aras Zirgulis. FDI can be thought of as the Atlas of the modern global economy, silently holding it all together. This course will take a holistic approach to the study of FDI by looking at how FDI affects economies, societies, individuals, politics, and much more. We will engage in the various debates raging on the costs and the benefits of FDI in the modern world. There will also be a special focus on FDI in the Baltics where we will investigate and analyse several case studies. The course will rely on a multi-pronged teaching approach to achieve maximum learning. We will cover theoretical and empirical knowledge, and use these to foster in class problem solving and debates on relevant topical issues. At the end of the course students should have a deep foundation of knowledge in the area of FDI which can be used as a springboard for further studies in economics, politics, business, etc.

Culture and Identity Communication Styles in the Baltics, Delivered by Dr. Mariana Sueldo. Digital revolutions and globe-trotting may be making our world apparently smaller and easier to know. However, each us comprises a unique cultural coding that blends nature and nurture into a particular identity always in the making. Along the history of human kind there have been all sort of physical and non-physical walls dividing us from each other: political and ideological or socio-economic divides, whose traces still permeate our everyday life and communication. Come and face the challenge of cracking the code of the ancient culture that the Baltics have treasured for centuries.

Democracy and Security in the Baltic States, delivered by Dr. Jonathan Boyd. All three of the Baltic states have experienced rapid political, economic and security integration with international orgainsations since the end of Soviet occupation in 1991: all three are EU members, in the Eurozone, the Schengen area, members of the NATO alliance, and members of the OECD. This course will focus on two key aspects of the Batlcs’ integration efforts. First, we will study the regions’ advances and challeges in the area of democratisation and human rights; second, we will study the region’s defence and security agreements and current threats.

International business strategy in Baltics, delivered by Benas Adomavicius. This part is focused on experiences and practices of business strategy in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Business strategy issues are explored from the perspective of large multinational companies (MNC) seeking to enter these markets. During the course, we will discuss mini case studies of successful entrants using very different structures and approaches. For example, how does the approach of a large multinational FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) company like Nestle differs from an international consulting company like PWC?  The perspective of small and medium enterprises (SME) will be discussed through the eyes of both: (a) international companies seeking to enter Baltic states; (b) Baltic companies seeking to enter much larger markets within EU. For example, we will discuss a FMCG company from Baltics seeking to place its products on the shelves of a large retailer in Germany (such as LIDL). Overall the topic is designed to provide a variety of viewpoints from different countries and company sizes. They all seek to answer the most critical question in business - "how to compete successfully in Baltics?".