среда, 26 января 2011 г.

SKOLKOVO MBA: Work on Real Projects Has Started!

While all of us are gradually resuming our work, SKOLKOVO students have already started an active work of putting their knowledge into practice.

A period from January till March is one of the most serious one in the education process for SKOLKOVO MBA students: the first module that includes the preparation of practical business solutions in particular areas is under way. 4 previous months were just a theoretical preparation for them, but true education begins when they work on real projects, when material and lectures given by professors are consolidated through practice and they acquire valuable experience and knowledge.

The module covers projects in public sector and social sphere. You can read about last year's projects here. This year students will prepare 6 projects... Yet let’s ask straight Alexey Germanovich, Public Projects Director, about that.

- Please tell us about projects which students are to work on in this module.
- Just like last year we’ve tried to select as projects the most urgent tasks Russian economy faces and show students by these examples the way public and social sector works from the inside. Since the current intake consists of fewer students, the number of projects is 6 rather than 8. We’ve divided them like last year: one half is preparing in Moscow, mostly with federal authorities, and the other half is developing projects for Russian regions.

In Moscow we continue working on the project dealing with implementation of changes to Federal Law No. 94 on state purchase contracts that SKOLKOVO students developed last year. That project was a success; it was supported by a number of state authorities and industrial organizations. We received an offer to continue work in the same way, and the team started.

The second Moscow project that we are working on is ordered by our last year’s client - Ministry of transport of the Russian Federation. Igor Levitin, Head of the Ministry, suggested that our team should estimate a business model of the Moscow-Kiev highway. Thus, we had a project for airports, Russian sea ports with Ministry of transport and now we have a project for a highway, i.e. we cover all areas of the Russian transport industry.

Another project in Moscow is a non-financial reporting ordered by Russian Ministry of health and social development headed by Mrs. Golikova. By this project the Ministry wants to encourage Russian companies to be more active in reporting their social success and achievements. Social reporting is a very popular in the world now and it seems useful because it clearly shows the interface of business, state and society. If we manage to promote this idea with the help of the project, I think the project will enrich the students and be of much benefit to Russian business and non-commercial community.

As regards regions, we have a project with our old client – the city of Cherepovets. Although the client is not the city administration as before, but the governor of the region, Vyacheslav Pozgalev, we will continue a project on developing a new quarter in the heart of the city around an old city museum - "Galskikh mansion".

A museum subject will also be covered in the project that we make in Volgograd. This is a project called “Victory” around the Mamayev Kurgan memorial, where a unique entertaining centre “Russia” should be created.

Our last regional project is a project in Kazan, where the client is its Mayor. This projects deals with positioning and marketing of the city. It’s interesting to say that we’ve received this project with the help of our alumnus Ivan Kuznetsov who I taught just a month ago. Now he is one of my clients, which is great, I think, because all over the world all business schools exist thanks to their alumni, and alumni help a business schools develop. Although we have only one class of graduates, we have examples of our cooperation with our former students.

- What guided the selection of projects this year?
- If we speak of the selection of these projects, a part of them, as you can see, has continued from the last year. Other projects were selected, because they are interesting. For instance, Mamayev Kurgan, the Motherland Calls (Rodina Mat’) is a unique cultural and historical construction, a great part of our history and a large monument. It should become one of breakthroughs for Volgograd, therefore it has seemed very interesting to us.

We have chosen the project on social reporting, because it is very topical now lying at the interface of relations between business, state and society. It serves as a lens that helps magnify all these relations. It is very interesting and topical.

What is most important is that now, at the start of the module, I can say that there is no project that would disappoint. The students like the whole lot of projects, and the clients are glad to see their serious attitude. We cannot but hope that such energy will remain for all two months.

- What conclusions were made based on the results of the last year’s module?
- Based on the results of the last year’s module we tried to make more emphasis on the institution of so-called project managers. Whereas our project managers were actually from our clients’ organizations last year, this year we have hired project managers exclusively from structures which are not related to our clients directly. As a rule, they are a sort of gurus in their sector, they are outstanding leading consultants in their sectors who are able to help students get a powerful industrial expertise, widen a circle of experts. Today our managers are independent figures in project work which is also rather important, I think.

Besides, this year we will enhance an institution of programme guests a lot. There were few people from state authorities among speakers last year, they were mostly businessmen. For instance, we were visited by creators of Comedy Club, which is funny and great in principle, but this year we’ve tried to focus on inviting to our programme those who are directly related to public sector. We expect such famous people as Oleg Rumyantsev (a co-author of the first Russian constitution, worked as a professional lobbyist at TNK-BP for a long time, now owns a consulting company), Valery Fedorov (chief specialist in moods of Russian electorate, Director General of Russian Public Opinion Research Centre), Georgy Satarov (one the major advisors of Yeltsin, now the head of the fund which professionally investigates an issue of corruption in our country), Grigory Yavlinsky also confirmed his speech. We expect a whole number of macroeconomists to attend our programme.

In other words, apart from daily practice on projects, the students will receive famous people in the evening, who will be able to bring lots of useful knowledge. Last year we had the same practice, but now such work has been enhanced a lot and will be directly related to the projects.

- What happened to the projects of the last year?
- I should say that it is a surprise to me too that almost all of 8 projects of the last year are being implemented in a varying degree. The project on Sheremetyevo airport which we prepared with Ministry of transport was used as a basis of the Ministry’s position, and now a lot of consultants who have been professionally hired to work on these projects are guided by the things which were originally done by our team. As I said, the project on implementation of changes to Federal Act No. 94 was so successful that we continue it this year. An investment agency in Cherepovets has been created, it operates, and a new project for Cherepovets has been presented today by an employee of the same investment agency which our students helped to create. As for other regional news, as far as I know, negotiations are held with investors in Kaliningrad on the construction of the convention centre that was developed by our team last year. So we can speak freely that almost all projects more or less continue and develop.

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