What brought you to the Faculty of Economics and Administration?
A. Slaný: I was interested in economics and the perspective of national economies concerning the functioning of economic systems. Another incentive was the possibility of working with young people, namely with the generation who were determined to put their shoulder to the wheel: they did and I am grateful to them. I have worked at the FEA since its establishment; I was a member of the so called preparatory committee that dealt with all the aspects of founding the faculty.
I. Malý: I have been with the faculty since its very beginning. Before, I worked at the Institute of Economics and Management of the Non-Manufacturing Sector, and I was on an internship in Belgium at the time when the FEA was established. After I returned, I went through the selection procedure and became one of its first teachers ever.
M. Svoboda: I started to work at the Department of Corporate Economy as an instructor, then I worked at the Department of Finance.
What association first comes to mind when you hear Faculty of Economics and Administration after all those years?
A. Slaný: I think of a very successful project, a reliable and forward-thinking team of academic as well as non-academic staff.
I. Malý: A group of qualified, enthusiastic people who are dedicated to their trade and who inspire others. If you have excellent teachers and colleagues around you, it’s a joy to go to work.
M. Svoboda: A part of Masaryk University.
What were the main themes and events you addressed as deans?
A. Slaný: I held the position for 14 years, so there were many things. For instance, my aim was to improve the quality of research and to obtain European funding for interesting projects. At a certain time, there were 49 students per academic at the faculty, which meant you could not give your full attention to the students, you did not know them and you could not actively communicate with them. One of the priorities of my programme in 2012 was to change this situation. We managed to decrease the number to 25 students per academic employee by the end of my term of office.
I. Malý: When I was elected dean for the first time, I primarily tried to maintain continuity; I did not want to introduce any fundamentally new things. We worked on the internationalization of the faculty and on the improvement of teaching quality. The number of students substantially increased during my second term of office, and thus we tried to keep and raise the quality of instruction for such large numbers of students.
M. Svoboda: I addressed educational, research, operational and managerial tasks.
Do you like to remember your term as dean?
A. Slaný: Yes, I remember those days with fondness and humility. If you are serious about it, you must see the role as a service to the academic community.
I. Malý: First of all, I feel deep gratitude to those who worked with me. And yes, it is nice to be a dean. It is also a very time-consuming job and I could not focus on my own publishing, for which I was sorry.
M. Svoboda: I prefer not to look back.
What of your achievements as deans are you most proud of?
A. Slaný: I am proud of having succeeded in realizing my plans whether in improving the quality of research or obtaining European grants and implementing a number of projects. The magazine TÝDEN ranked the faculty as the best faculty of economics in the Czech Republic twice in a row. In the long-term perspective, the FEA is either the most or the second most sought-after economics faculty in the country.
I. Malý: I am proud to have been trusted by my colleagues enough to be elected dean for the second term, although originally I did not intend to run for the office. I am proud to have left the impression of a fair-minded and reliable boss of whom they didn’t need to be ashamed. I am also proud that we succeeded in creating quality degree programmes and in making the faculty friendlier to its students. This attitude has always been a faculty’s strength and I believe that it has been maintained and perhaps improved under my management. Of course, I am happy for the successful internationalization. As always, everything was team work. I was lucky to have excellent vice-deans; for instance, vice-dean Smutný was splendid in his work and there was not much left for me.
M. Svoboda: That’s for others to say.
Let us move to the present: the faculty has taught online for three semesters. How did the FEA cope with remote classes, in your view?
A. Slaný: I think, or rather, I believe that the university again demonstrated one of its great strengths – to quickly respond to unusual situations. So, in my view, it managed very well.
I. Malý: Perfectly, as evidenced by the students’ feedback, which is surprisingly favourable. Masaryk University had long been preparing for inclusion of online features into the instruction. The necessary infrastructure was ready, we didn’t have to rush it out.
M. Svoboda: It is one of the new forms of study and probably our future.
What do you wish the faculty on its 30th anniversary?
A. Slaný: There is yet a lot to accomplish. The worst thing would be to gain an unjustified feeling of being pleased with ourselves and with our achievements. The world around keeps changing ever faster. I trust our good intuition and ability to predict future events, respond to them in advance and take the right steps. I see many opportunities for the faculty in the current business sector with its high demand for qualified workforce, technicians or investors. The FEA is a seedbed for young talents having the necessary knowledge and skills and mastering foreign languages, which is an ideal combination for modern companies and current environment. I think this is the main direction the faculty must take in the coming years.
I. Malý: I wish the faculty to have many talented and gifted teachers, people who enjoy teaching and enjoy doing it well, people who wish to be good at publishing and who can invent new things and gain fresh perspectives. If the faculty manages to gain such teachers, it will attract students who are motivated and interested. In such settings, the faculty will be able to overcome any difficulties that may occur. I think the FEA is heading in the right direction. The generation of teachers who were in the position of instructors during my term of office has matured. A lot of them have gained international recognition. In fact, it is unnecessary to wish for anything, because the faculty already has it.
M. Svoboda: Another 30 years, at least.