The EFMD membership community includes many honorary members. This Member Spotlight highlights Dr David G. Demetrius, President of Emadin SA, who has been an EFMD member since the beginning. Here he shares his 50-year history with EFMD and his thoughts on management development.
In 1972, having just completed postgraduate studies in business at the University of Western Australia in Perth, I was fortunate to be offered a position as a lecturer in the business department at what was then called WAIT (the Western Australian Institute of Technology), since renamed Curtin University. Having had no work experience, other than holiday jobs during my studies, if I was to be teaching people how to run their businesses, I needed to get some credibility. One of my colleagues told me about a new organisation, EFMD, being created, so I decided to join as an individual member. Never in my wildest dreams did it cross my mind that I would still be a member sitting here in Brussels 50 years later writing a blog for the 50th anniversary of EFMD’s creation.
I only stayed with Curtin for two years and then left academia to get some practical experience in the business world but decided to maintain my connection with EFMD. This turned out to be a wise decision, as I have now gone almost full circle and, following a lengthy career in business, in 2005 I founded and am President of Emadin SA, a Brussels based executive training organisation, passing on the lessons I’ve learnt from the successes and mistakes in my career. (How did I have the audacity to think I could teach management skills 50 years ago when I had no business experience whatsoever? !!). But I have never lost my interest in the academic world and finally got round to getting a Doctorate in Business Management when I was 65, completing the thesis here in Brussels remotely from the University of Southern Queensland, an achievement that would have been impossible without 21st-century technology.
EFMD has also evolved over the 50 years, introducing its EQUIS accreditation scheme and its accreditation of business school programmes as well as its corporate learning CLIP accreditation and many other initiatives. By attending EFMD events such as its annual conference when possible, I have also managed to continue my own learning over the 50 years and I continue to do so. The vast majority of my contacts around the world, many of whom have become close friends, are directly or indirectly a result of my EFMD membership.
I am often asked how management development has changed over the 50 years. The short answer is enormously whilst at the same time very little. Clearly, the evolution of technology has dramatically changed the way management communicates. Emails (and even the Internet) did not exist even as a concept in 1972. The only computer I had ever seen was the university one which was the size of a room and had 8k of memory!! Training has moved towards more short executive courses of often no more than a few days and considerable opportunities for online learning (such as my own doctorate), but, on the other hand, many of the tools of MBA programmes from 50 years ago are still very useful. In my opinion, one of the simplest but most useful tools that has stood the test of time is SWOT analysis. I still facilitate SWOT sessions with company boards to this day.
I cannot conclude this short blog without paying tribute to EFMD’s President, Eric Cornuel, and his team. Eric has an enormous enthusiasm for management development which he passes on to everyone he meets. My heartiest congratulations to Eric and everyone in EFMD as they embark on the next 50 years. I look forward to joining them on that journey for as long as I am able.