The IHM Story



At IHM we like to be at the forefront, but firstly, let us take a quick look back….


During the 1950’s and 60’s, Ulf av Trolle was a professor of business administration at the University of Gothenburg. He was an influential visionary and motivator in the (then) all-new field of marketing. Trolle claimed that the combination of theory and practice was a necessary prerequisite when developing professional business acumen – with his standpoint being that we should place the same professional demands on businessmen and women that we placed on doctors, pilots or accountants for example. For that reason, practitioners in business continuously needed to develop and build their experience using theoretical knowledge in marketing, management, leadership and business economics. However, mere theoretical study in itself was insufficient if it could not simultaneously be combined with broader experience from real decision-making situations. Conversely, the opposite scenario applies whereby experience in isolation would be inadequate if it could not simultaneously be combined with a broader theoretical knowledge.

Trolle's theses are still the basis for IHMs business today. By the late 1960’s and in order to live by his own convictions, Ulf af Trolle focused entirely on his consultancy business where he often found himself helping companies in crisis. It was here that he was given the nickname "company doctor" and during this busy period he had great influence on Swedish industry as well as many well-known business leaders.


One individual who worked closely with Professor Ulf af Trolle at the Gothenburg School of Economics was a man called Holger Formgren. During the 1960’s, Holger worked as a researcher and training manager in Distribution Economics at the University of Gothenburg. International case studies in business development and marketing not only instilled Holger with knowledge, but also practical experience and inspiration. Thus, in1966, Holger undertook the responsibility to lead a joint project for TBV and The Marketing Association in Gothenburg, where the mission was to organize and lead evening classes in marketing in English.

However, this subject area was still new in Sweden at the time and had not yet been introduced into the teaching curriculum. The courses were initially conducted at the School of Economics in Vasagatan and teachers were recruited in the form of outstanding students and researchers at the School. The course literature used was one of Professor Trolle’s textbooks entitled "Distribution Economy" parts I and II, together with Philip Kotler's book "Marketing Management", an American author whose works would go on to revolutionize the perception of marketing internationally. Philip Kotler and "Marketing Management" also became the ideological foundation of the curriculum at IHM.


Demand for "Advanced courses in Marketing" was found to be considerable and in 1968, Holger Formgren took the initiative to form the foundation known as The Institute for Higher Marketing: IHM. Just as it is today, studies took place in parallel with one’s work where meetings and subsequent exchange of experiences between teachers and students were central to the training alongside "Learning by doing". With Philip Kotler as a major source of inspiration, one and two-year programs were developed that soon became known as "Marketing Economist DIHM" and, as is often the case with MBA programs, thesis work was included. Moreover, even after 50 years, thousands of alumni can testify that the Market Economist DIHM qualification remains a much sought-after qualifications in the commercial world even given the fact that many of Kotler’s original theses have now been replaced by new ones.


In 1971, IHM dissolved its links with the School of Business, Economics and Law and went its own way and as a result, a host of new offerings emerged: Internal company programs, research services, legal marketing advice and seminar operations were all offered in quick succession. At the same time, advanced courses in marketing were also offered and later on controller and computer economist programs were added, along with a course in speed reading as well as other paths aimed personal development. In 1975, IHM began internal corporate programs through its collaboration with Volvo. Moreover, in 1979 IHM started publishing its own textbooks through its own publishing house.


In 1986, IHM changed its name to IHM Business School, a name which more clearly communicated the fact that the offering was no longer restricted to Sweden, marketing and economics. A new IHM building opened in Gothenburg and IHM was established in Stockholm. In addition, IHM started an IHM copywriting program and helped to set up several Masters’ programs at Thammat University in Thailand.

In the 1990s, IHM worked with America’s Johnson & Wales University, the first foreign university to establish itself in Sweden. IHM launched its own management program - The IHM Executive Program. Later on, a joint collaboration with Henley University was initiated. The DIHM programs developed well and IHM Malmö started up in the fine old ‘Slakthuset’ abattoir building. Then came IHM Forum in the mid-1990s, whereby IHM began working with web portals and interactive services for the benefit of students, alumni and personnel alike. Advanced Vocational Education programs (AVE) also began to be offered.


The range of programs expanded considerably with new Advanced Vocational Education programs and the shorter IHM Master program. In the early 2000’s, IHM formed a partnership with China and the well-reputed Tsinghua University where thousands of people take part in IHM’s ‘Trend Seminars’ every year. 

The entire DIHM program was gradually renewed and several corporate academies started up, such as ICA Business School, Volvo Cars Business School and Yamaha Academy. In addition, The Advanced Vocational Education programs (AVE) became Higher Vocational Education programs (HVE). The DIHM Diploma in Business Administration was divided into independent certificate programs, and grew in scope, in both business and market development terms. In 2008, IHM Malmö moved into the city centre and in 2009, IHM Stockholm moved into modern new premises in Kungsholmen.

Moreover, in 2010 IHM Gothenburg began a modernization and major refurbishment project of its flagship IHM building. Furthermore, interest in social media and the emergence of new business logic attracted more and more students to lectures and new programs. In 2011, IHM launched a brand new Leadership Development program, and in the same year  reached more than 30,000 IHM alumni.

2014 saw the launch of IHM’s Crash Course Academy with the program ‘IHM Digital Marketing’ quickly becoming a success. Finally, IHM’s Higher Vocational Education is growing steadily and in 2016 education authorities awarded IHM 13 programs and 910 new places.

This is our brief story. A story we believe is well worth telling.

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