The Open World Scholarship

The Open World Scholarships are the University-sponsored scholarships offering a significant tuition reduction open to exceptional mid-career professionals from any geographic location who demonstrate deep commitment to the ideals and values of Open Society and will uniquely contribute to the collective learning experience of other Executive MBA participants. 

Open Society as a concept is not associated with any specific political platform. It was first introduced during the times of fascism and communism by Karl Popper—one of the most important contemporary philosophers and a long-time professor at London School of Economics born and educated in Vienna.

Karl Popper defined Open Society as a society where any idea or policy is open to a rational challenge.

Ernest Gellner, a famous scholar of Popper, observed that Open Society is essentially about “the commendation of the virtue of openness, which is the social equivalent of falsifiability – the holding of social principles without rigidity, in a spirit which is willing to learn, innovate, experiment, and change.” Popper contrasted Open Society with a “closed,” “tribal,” or “magical” society. 

One way to think about Open Society is that it is an “intellectual” society in which decisions are made in a way similar to how scientists work. As Gellner put it, in the Open Society approach, “the wider society is but the scientific community writ large.” 

Anyone who follows modern politics can quickly realize that such a vision of politics as open, rational discourse is very ambitious indeed. But what about the business world?

Over the last few decades, the global economy has undergone a fundamental transformation from the industrial model to the knowledge-intensive paradigm.

Sustainable competitive advantage is achieved and maintained not by imitating others, but, in a large part, by businesses’ ability to innovate, learn and adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. In fact, then, many modern businesses have no choice but to build more “intellectual,” knowledge-intensive culture and operations. 

It is in the context of that fundamental business and managerial trends that CEU offers the Open World Scholarships.

We are looking for candidates whose experiences, choices and broader professional track record illustrate their potential to be act as positive change agents making our organizations and societies more open. 

The scholarship is offered to candidates with a proven record of challenging dogmas – business, organizational, social, political – or encouraging others to be more open in their professional life. 

There is an endless number of ways in which managerial professionals could be making our world more open. Examples include a daring attempt to create an startup (even if ending up in failure), a record of innovation and challenging established business models (even if not always successful), a sustained effort to change a sclerotic organizational culture from within, attempts to break “glass ceilings” of prejudice or bigotry in the business and managerial world (especially if standing up for your values or identity costs you salary or career progression). 

It is as simple as that: can you show us how you thought differently or encouraged others to move beyond their dogmas, prejudices or conventional wisdoms? 

The Open World Scholarship is available to all candidates through our general Program Application.