30 years dedicated
to the future

Professor senses a business opportunity

One of the organisations that was involved in providing managers with refresher training and consulting was the Estonian Institute of Economic Managers. Professor Madis Habakuk was working as the Director of the Institute’s National Economy Management Department.

The experienced management trainer, who had also been able to work abroad, understood that the new organisation of society developing in Estonia would bring with it many new opportunities. This would necessarily be accompanied by the crumbling of the current system. A good example of this is a telling event remembered by Madis Habakuk from 1987-1988: “One day, junior researchers Tamjärv and Saame (Hannes Tammjärv and Andres Saame – editor), who went on to become the founders of Hansapank, came to me and said that they now had their own cooperative. So it was that everyone started doing something and I also had to begin the search for new opportunities”.

Another thing that Habakuk, who turned 50 in 1988, understood well, was the fact that under these new circumstances, Estonia would require specialists who were familiar with foreign trade and spoke English – the number one language in international commerce. Habakuk believed that surely there are people who are heavily overburdened and would also be interested in this type of refresher training, which is why foreign trade and English should be taught simultaneously.

It is said that the criteria for truth is practice. So it was that the Institute of Economic Managers organised a course in Tallinn, in the spring of 1988, to test the innovative form of refresher training, in which English and foreign trade were taught. Several dozen attendees took part in the course, which was held at the Pirita Yacht Club, primarily learning English as well as other subjects, over a three-week period.

Madis Habakuk remembers that the course was somewhat lacking in terms of content as well as organisation, although the attendees rated the course as being brilliant. There was apparently no doubt: if there was a market for such a course, it would pay to move forward with the idea.