Level of studies

Study holder

J.J. Strossmayer University of Osijek, Faculty of Economics in Osijek


Market economy is finally and unstoppably becoming an essential characteristic of the Republic of Croatia which has, as a transition country, overcome severe war and post-war difficulties. Being primarily a business approach of economic subjects, marketing is an integral part of the market economy. This wholly natural symbiosis will in the future bring about even more significant emergence of marketing, not only as a business function but also as a life philosophy in general.

Reasons for starting the programme

    • Notwithstanding all the difficulties Croatia has to deal with, with more or less success, it is more than obvious that the shift towards the market economy, within the framework of the so-called transitional economy is taking place. This transitional economy best manifests itself in the process of economic transition i.e. privatization of socially-owned enterprises. The process of transition in the Republic of Croatia relates to transformation into the market economy in the true sense of the word. Pursuant to this, key roles in the future development shall be assigned to private ownership and co-ownership of free economic agents, open market, free enterprise, stable and balanced economy, and multi-party parliamentary and democratic political system. This process of economic transition inevitably has to be carried out under conditions of fully open market economy because only such conditions create realistic prerequisites for complete and adequate restructuring of the entire economy. This implies market-based behaviour in all segments of life, whether related to business or not. From the purely economic point of view the new socio-economic and political system, which should be the result of the transition process, must at the same time be a more stable economic system.
    • The fundamental question for transition countries is indisputably development. Marketing can play an extremely important role in this sense. Moreover, it can and must help in restructuring the economy by way of finding marketable and profitable productions which should, in the process of privatization, serve the purpose of general economic development as soon as possible. Marketing could by way of market research help in finding prospective export markets and to a certain extent it could also help in establishing priority directions of economic development based primarily on competitiveness. This would, at the same time, enable growth of the total economic efficiency and business profitability. It should be pointed out that the general business approach, starting at the state level, ought to shift from currently dominant trade and import model towards the production and export model.
    • The empiric survey of the practice existing in Croatia undoubtedly points out to significant falling behind in management in comparison to countries with developed market economies but also in comparison to other European countries also undergoing the process of transition. This is primarily the result of the lack of market relations in the previous system and complete vagueness of property relations that governed it. Strategic models of economy management are actually incompatible in such a situation until the basic principle of market economy and competitiveness which becomes manifest in the supply-side economy, is almost fully functional. All of this resulted in autarkic and inconsistent short-term economy which consisted of a series of mostly unsuccessful stabilisation interventions in the increasingly disproportionate and overblown economic tissue. Both economic and technological developments were significantly falling behind. The economy was dominated by monopoly-oligopoly structure, directed and supervised in a state-voluntaristic manner, without offering any major possibilities of establishing oneself and reassessment of one’s achievements both on the home and especially on the foreign market. At the same time it is a well known fact that the war imposed on Croatia for four years as well as the subsequent period of reconstruction of the areas destroyed by the war, have significantly slowed down the potentially positive processes of raising the level of international competitiveness of Croatian export products at least in relation to corresponding products of other transition countries.
    • Independence of an economic agent also means maximising the level of competition among economic agents on the market, which also requires them to assume the full responsibility for risks that emerge under conditions of full market competition. This also implies full mobility of economic agents towards making efficient decisions which will reduce the risk of possible negative consequences to a minimum. It is not necessary to emphasise what a qualitative shift this is in relation to the previous state. For that purpose it is also necessary to develop a modern procedure as well as the tools for marketing decision-making, which will depending on its efficiency make a direct impact on survival and further growth and development of economic agents.
    • With regard to all that was said earlier it is necessary to create an adequate atmosphere among the employees of economic agents in order for them to fully understand “the rules of the game“ that govern any market economy. However, the key problem lies in the fact that the critical mass of people within our economic agents has a very low level of knowledge necessary for efficient marketing and also business decision-making. Therefore, in order to succeed in the operative implementation of marketing, and thus in more efficient marketing decision-making within economic agents, the crucial posts, i.e. the places where marketing decisions are made, must be filled by people who will be able to accomplish this. All the above mentioned issues are the very reason for proposing the undergraduate and postgraduate marketing programmes on the Faculty of Economics in Osijek, because the successful operating of a marketing manager is completely unthinkable without acquiring high levels of both theoretical and practical knowledge.
    • Economic agents, especially those operating in Slavonia and Baranya have a growing need for human resources educated in the field of marketing, since marketing is a prerequisite for their successful business operations. Marketing labour market is quite unsaturated and its long-term potential is relatively high. In order to succeed in achieving high levels of knowledge among students, the curriculum shall include core and elective subjects based on contemporary scientific achievements of modern marketing as well as corresponding skills which the modern marketing manager should master.
    • Having in mind that the USA is the cradle of theoretical and practical marketing and that the marketing science is the most advanced exactly there, the programmes of the following US Universities have been used in drafting the undergraduate and graduate marketing programme:
      1. Anderson School, UCLA University, Los Angeles, USA
      2. Business School, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
      3. Columbia Business School, Columbia University, New York, USA
      4. Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Durham, USA
      5. School of Business and Administration, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, USA
      6. School of Business Administration, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, USA
      7. Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Stanford, USA
  • By compiling the above mentioned programmes we have reached the proposed structure of courses. Similar programmes are being carried out as undergraduate and graduate programmes at the Universities of the European Union member countries (e.g. London Business School, Great Britain and Ghent University, the Netherlands).

Past experiences

It is worth mentioning that the Faculty of Economics in Osijek before the beginning of the Croatian Homeland Defence War used to offer for more than a decade the undergraduate programme “Trade and Market”, and after the war the programme “Marketing Management”. The postgraduate programme “Marketing” was established in 1973 and was active until the beginning of the Croatian Homeland Defence War. It was brought up to date and re-established in 2002 and since then three generations of students were admitted. It should be pointed out that many members of the Marketing Department have long been prominent theoreticians and practitioners and as such they teach at postgraduate programmes of literally all Faculties of Economics in the Republic of Croatia. The number of published books and articles in scientific journals, as well as a significant number of papers presented at international conferences in Croatia and on all continents is the result of the work of the Marketing Department staff. This is also a guarantee that the teaching at undergraduate and graduate marketing programmes will be carried out at a high scientific and professional level.

Possible partners outside the higher education system

On the other hand there is an undisputable interest on the part of economic agents of the five counties of Slavonia and Baranya region that gravitate towards our Faculty to provide their employees with additional education at the graduate marketing programme. This is especially manifested in the interest shown for the existing postgraduate scientific programme “Marketing”.

Openness of the programme towards the mobility of students

Marketing programme is envisaged as an integral programme consisting of undergraduate and graduate programmes since in this way the full educational vertical would be accomplished and also maximum possible effects in acquiring integral and practical knowledge in the field of marketing. This would also facilitate the vertical mobility of students and due to possible transfer of ECTS credits ensure their horizontal mobility between cognate programmes in the Republic of Croatia and countries of the European Union.